It may be less than a month since Christmas, and still dark for the daily commute, but preparations for the summer cricket season are already well underway.

Having won the 2019 Cumbria Premier League title, and this year’s launch of women and girls cricket, these are exciting times for Carlisle Cricket Club.

They have also added to their squad by signing former Durham all-rounder Paul Hindmarch.

But having a successful side comes at a cost, and with the constant need to replenish kit and equipment at Edenside, the club is always looking at ways to raise funds.

“It’s a busy period leading up to the start of the season. Indoor training starts on Sunday February 23,” said Carlisle CC secretary Mark Davidson. “March 28 and 29 is our Cricketforce weekend, when we complete all pre-season groundwork.

“Saturday April 11 sees the 1st XI in action in a league warm up game which precedes the annual club dinner at Edenside on the same evening.”

Before all that, the club host their first ever comedy night on February 1, with comics Chris Britton and Mick Munroe providing the entertainment.

“We see this as an excellent pre-season social event and it’s open to everyone, whether members of the club or not,” Davidson enthused. “We hope to run it annually going forward.

“The £20 ticket includes a curry, as well as a night full of laughs.

“The income generated from the event will be used for developmental purposes at the club, from the juniors right through to the seniors.”

The first team start their title defence at Cockermouth on April 18, and Carlisle will be hoping for a winning start, with the team tipped to repeat their 2019 heroics.

Expectation brings added pressure with it, but Davidson believes they can handle that, especially with their big-name signing.

“Having pulled off the deal to bring Paul [Hindmarch] to the club, I think we will be seen as the team to beat this summer,” he agreed.

“But we are a confident bunch, and have the ability and experience to handle any expectations thrown our way.”

Tickets for the comedy night are available by contacting Marc Brown on 07895 246999.