Former Leyland Cricket Club ace and current Lancshire star Luis Reece took time off from his preparations for the new season to help Southport and Birkdale’s members spruce up their ground.
Reece and his county team-mate Haseeb Hameed spent Saturday morning at Trafalgar Road as part of the 2016 NatWest Cricket Force initiative.
The pair will be hoping to return to the ground in July when Lancashire take on Durham in a Division One County Championship fixture.
While undertaking painting duties, Reece took the opportunity to reflect on the value of recreational cricket and his considerable debt to clubs like Vernon Carusand Leyland, where he has spent vital years developing his skills.
“Club cricket is where I started my career and it’s massively important for young lads coming through,” he said.
“I started off at Vernon Carus before going to Blackpool at 14 and Leyland at 18. I went down to Vernon Carus when I was six or seven and started playing Kwik Cricket on a little outfield with other young lads.
“My Dad was playing and I went down to watch him and then I started playing with a plastic bat and a red ball.
The people who helped me at Vernon Carus were quality coaches but all they wanted was the lads to have fun and perhaps become better cricketers in the future. So I owe a lot of what I have today to the club.
“Tom Bailey and I both came through the juniors at Vernon Carus and there were excellent coaches there like Paul Chapman and Pete Molloy.
“They were the main reasons we stayed in the game because they made it fun but also hard work and challenging.”
This season Reece will be playing for Leigh in the Liverpool Competition’s ECB Premier League but he admits it was difficult to leave Leyland.
“I’d reached a time when I needed a different challenge, although I’m still very close with the Leyland boys as I always will be.
“It was a tough decision to leave Leyland but an easy choice to go to Leigh.”
Meanwhile, Leyland and Chorley remain committed to joining a revamped Lancashire League in 2017.
The pair are two of eight clubs hoping to be accepted as part of proposals to expand the Lancashire League to two divisions of 11 teams, with promotion and relegation.
Four other exisiting Northern League clubs – Blackpool, St Annes, Fletwood and Darenwen are also hoping to be part of the new plans.
They will potentially be joined by two clubs from the Ribblesdale League – Clitheroe and Great Harwood. Plans to integrate the Ribblesdale League with the Lancashire League will be discussed once the inital expansion is complete.