Lancs still force to be reckoned with – Williams

PAUL Williams believes Lancashire will still be the team to beat in the Northern Counties League despite losing three key players during the closed season.

PAUL WILLIAMS

PAUL WILLIAMS

England internationals Haydn McCullen and Paul Howard along with Mark Young have all joined the professional ranks.

But Williams, embarking on his third year at the helm, says that some of the players the county nurtured last year are ready to step up to the mark.

“The likes of Curtis Clarkin, Paul McFerran and Jack Shelley have come on a lot so they should be in the reckoning,” he said.

“I expect Shelley, who’s been knocking on the door, to make an impact in the Galvin Green Northern Order of Merit which is a fantastic playing medium I recommend to all the youngsters.

“I don’t read too much into the results of the pre-season matches because they’re just a form of shadow boxing – it’s not like getting into the ring.”

Lancashire square up in their opening bout against old adversaries Yorkshire on Sunday May 10 at Hillside, where Williams is a member.

“As far as I know it’s the first occasion we have met at the start of the season – traditionally we have played the fixture much later on. We lost to them in the second match at Selby last year, but still won the league for a third successive time and they narrowly beat us in the English Men’s County Championship northern qualifying round at Ganton.

“Hopefully, were can avenge that defeat at Mount Murray in the Isle of Man on August 5.”

He added: “Yorkshire are still a formidable force but so are we.”

Williams is convinced that the type of training the players have experienced in the last couple of years under the guidance of county coaches Gareth Benson, Jim Payne and Ian Lee has re-shifted the focus.

Lancashire enjoyed another pre-season session at the England Golf HQ Woodhall Spa and the players have been provided with software which documents how they are practising which they transmit to their coaches for analysis.

Williams explained: “Sean Towndrow, who’s in the England squad, uses it with his coach Clive Woodward and it’s produced some great results.”

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