FARNWORTH skipper Simon Booth hopes going back to the future can get see his team return to the summit of the Bolton Cricket League this summer.

The Lavender Road side were the nearly men of 2018, finishing runners-up in both the Premiership, to Walkden, and Hamer Cup, to Kearsley.

But a chance conversation with former professional Kamran Younis over the winter has seen him re-sign for the new campaign and with last year’s league pro prize winner Noman Ali also flying back in after a successful time playing first-class cricket in the Pakistan Super League, captain Booth has high hopes this year.

He told The Bolton News: “Ian McLellan and Jonny Kerrigan still speak with Kamran after his time with us previously and he told them he was available this season.

“It didn’t take long for us to offer him the chance to come back because he was brilliant for us when we won the title two years ago.

“To have that quality left-arm spin again could be just what we need to take us that extra step back to the title.

“Last year we missed out in cup and league and for me I always say runner-up is first loser.

“Fair play to Walkden and Kearsley who both deserved to win in the league and cup respectively, but we always aim to be number one at Farnworth and that is the target this year.

“Having Kamran back may just give us that extra edge we need.

“We had planned to bring in a young 18-year-old from Barbados who was recommended by another of our former pros, Tyrone Knight, until we found out Kamran was available.

“The bonus with Kamran is that he has experience, knows the league having won it before and also knows our club.”

In addition to the return of Younis, professional Ali is staying on as well and despite a couple of departures with Danny Higham joining Horwich RMI and Leighton Friend going to play for Woodhouses in the GMCL, Booth believes the squad has a good blend again this season to challenge on all fronts.

He added: “Danny has left to join Horwich and we wish him well there while Leighton has moved to Woodhouses. he did well for us but lived further away so this move probably suits him.

“But the rest of the squad is very much in place like last year with Ian McLellan here again, Jonny Kerrigan, Ross Sutton and Imran Mirza.

“And Ali is flying in today to hopefully figure this weekend.

“He has been waiting on his visa after playing first-class in Pakistan but it should be fine and he will again be good for us.

“When you think he left six weeks early last season to return to Pakistan and still ended as one of the leaders in both the batting and bowling averages says a lot of what he is about.

“So we believe we have everything in place to be up there this season – now we just have to go out there each week and prove it.”

Farnworth’s Premiership campaign kicks off on Saturday week at Horwich RMI but before that they have a Peter Stafford Trophy double header on home turf against Darcy Lever tomorrow and then Daisy Hill on Sunday.

And fans visiting Lavender Road will see ground improvements such as new ball-stop fencing which has been fitted thanks to the help of a grant from Bolton Council, the works costing £20,000.

Booth said: “We have been trying to get the ball-stop fencing up on the Lavender road side of the ground for two years and it is finally in place.

“There are a lot of people to thank for helping us, not least Bolton Council with Tracy Lumer and Ian Davies a huge help in getting us the grant to pay for it.

“Myself and secretary Phil Andrews must also thank Bobby Denning at Lancashire for his help and the contractors, Consensus Leisure Limited – run by the groundsman from Clifton CC.

“Everyone has been a big help and while it has taken a lot of hard work, we are there now and hopefully it will be a big help for our neighbours at the ground and prevent a few lost balls.”

Weekend fixtures

Peter Stafford Trophy

Saturday: Farnworth Social Circle v Little Lever, Astley Bridge v Atherton, Golborne v Walkden, Tonge v Kearsley, Adlington v Heaton, Horwich RMI v Little Hulton, Bradshaw v Daisy Hill, Farnworth v Darcy Lever, Lostock v Blackrod, Westhoughton v Eagley.

Sunday: Atherton v Farnworth Social Circle, Kearsley v Golborne, Tonge v Walkden, Little Hulton v Adlington, Horwich RMI v Heaton, Farnworth v Daisy Hill, Darcy Lever v Bradshaw, Eagley v Lostock, Westhoughton v Blackrod.



Premier Division: Egerton v Stand.

Division 1B: Droylsden v Astley & Tyldesley, Heyside v Edgworth.