Carlisle Cricket Club doesn’t intend to stand still after last season’s league title success.

The Edenside club is thriving, and the clinching of the Cumbria League’s Premier Division crown with matches in hand, was justification for all their efforts.

Captain Marc Brown had a four-year plan when he re-joined the club from Netherfield in 2016, and it has been delivered within that time scale. He wanted the first team to win the Premier Division title from day one, even though they were in Division One at that stage.

Promotion was duly delivered and 2019 provided the ultimate prize in the top flight. The trick now is to build on that success by retaining the title and developing other aspects of this ambitious club.

Brown himself knows it will be tough to win the League for a second successive year as he expects other teams to be stronger.

“We will be there to be shot at as champions and there are some good teams, and excellent professionals in the league, so we are not expecting an easy ride,” he says.

Excellent professional Mike Slack signed a two-year deal when he joined from Wigton last season and he proved an outstanding recruit. He and opening partner Ben Davidson went on to represent Cumberland in all three disciplines, and are expected to figure prominently again in 2020.

Ben’s father Mark, the Carlisle secretary, feels that this is going to be an even bigger year for the club.

He said: “We want to lay down a marker by retaining the League title with the first team but there are other targets this coming season.

“Cumbria Cricket is making a big play to promote women’s and girl’s cricket and we want to be part of that. We are fortunate that Sam Richardson has joined the club committee after moving to live in the city. She was a prominent member of the Ashington club, working very hard to promote women’s cricket over there.

“She is taking on the role of women/girls development officer at the club and we hope that during the season we will be fielding a women’s side and encouraging the girls to join in as well.

“There’s also been a change in the junior coach/co-ordinator role, a really important position at the club.

“James Bell, who has been doing a really good job for the last three years has moved south and one of our players, Fraser Conn has taken over. Fraser joined two years ago from Scotland and has been a key member of the first team who is prepared to work with the juniors.

“We will be running five or six junior teams in addition to our four senior teams and there is some really exciting talent in the Under-15s and Under-17s who will make excellent first team players of the future.”

Carlisle will have the same squad that won the League in 2019, plus an important addition.

Paul Hindmarch, 31, who was a pro at Durham, and who has subsequently played for home-town club Keswick and Penrith, has signed for the Edenside club.

More recently he has been working as director of cricket at Whitgift School in Surrey before moving back to Cumbria.

He will be playing at Carlisle as an amateur and his addition to the side will make them strong favourites to retain their title – but with other targets in their sights!