WESTHOUGHTON captain Rob Houghton is targeting a title challenge as his team gets ready to kick off the new Bolton League Premiership season tomorrow.

Houghton admits last season’s seventh-placed finish was a disappointment – the St George’s Oval outfit ending the campaign with less than half the 101 points accrued by champions Walkden.

But the positive was that they avoided the drop into the Association Division and with a handful of new additions for 2019, Houghton hopes they can show some improvement in both the league and the cup competitions.

Her told The Bolton News: “Naturally we were disappointed with where we finished last year but we went into the season knowing we weren’t as strong as we had been in previous years.

“We could have still done better but the main thing is that we stayed up.

“We have added a few players for this year,

“Tom Senior has joined from Lostock as wicketkeeper and we also have Chesney Hughes who has been playing some county cricket.

“He is primarily a batter but can bowl slow left-arm as well.

“We have also sign top-order batsman Jonathan Carter as professional but he is not here yet as he is with the West Indies squad in Ireland.

“We are lucky that we have been able to get Luis Reece from Derbyshire to be our pro this weekend.”

It is not only new arrivals that give Houghton belief of a better campaign with 20-year-old opener Matty Morris showing why he has recently trialled with Essex in last weekend’s Peter Stafford Cup double header.

On Saturday, he hit his maiden first-team century with 100 not out against Eagley before an unbeaten knock of 62 the following day alongside Hughes (57no) in a 10-wicket win against Blackrod.

Houghton added: “Matty has had a good winter in Australia and has improved massively which is a bonus for us.

“I was with him in the middle when he got his first century and he was made up.

“He also has a good opening partnership with Chesney which will be good for us.”

Tomorrow it is a trip to Kearsley first up in the league and with a Peter Stafford Cup quarter-final at holders Bradshaw in two weeks, the start has been good by the Howfeners.

Houghton, though, is not taking anything for granted.

He said: “We have a tough game at Kearsley as the big boys’ cricket starts up and then we travel to Bradshaw in the cup who we had some good games against last season.

“We know it won’t be easy in either but like everyone else we want to win trophies this season.

“Like all the other captains, the aim is to be at the top and in such an open league, we can.”