THE RETURN of Kendal is great news for the Northern Premier Cricket League and adds to the sense of anticipation as the new campaign begins.

That was the message from the league's chairman Chris Lavery as the Shap Road men prepare to begin their season with a testing trip to Leyland on Saturday.

"It was great to see Kendal fight back so well after a poor start last year to gain promotion," said Mr Lavery.

"We are very pleased to see them back in the Northern Premier League and we look forward to seeing them make a big impact."

Founder members of the league back in 1952, Kendal have been champions four times in their history and were acknowledged mainstays of the competition, but suffered relegation in 2017, the first year of the introduction of promotion and relegation whereby the league's bottom two sides would be demoted to Palace Shield Premier Division.

They have returned to the NPCL at the first time of asking after a triumphant 2018 promotion campaign, and as he welcomed Chris Miller's side back to the ranks, Mr Lavery said the new system had proved a hugely positive move by raising the level of interest and giving every side something to play for.

"The arrangement with the Palace Shield has been a great success and has gone down really well with all the clubs," said Mr Lavery.

"It has create so much interest and the reaction has been very positive."

He added that in his view, an exciting campaign lay ahead, particularly in the South Lakeland area with Kendal back in the big time and cross-town rivals Netherfield expected to be once again in the hunt for silverware.

"Netherfield as ever will be a big threat," said Mr Lavery.

"We expect to see them among the title contenders in what we hope will be a very exciting season which I'm sure everyone is very much looking forward to."

The Parkside Road men, who will again be skippered by Ben Barrow, start their campaign with a home clash against new boys Longridge.

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