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Curtain goes up on new county golf season

LANCASHIRE have picked a team combining youth and experience for the curtain-raiser to the new county golf season.

The annual fixture between the Red Rose county and a team from the Southport and District Golf Association takes place on April 2 at Formby Golf Club and traditionally marks the start of the new season.

Pleasington’s Michael Hunt returns to county action in the Rest of Lancashire ranks after missing the whole of last season after breaking his shoulder in an accident at home. He shares top billing as the most capped player with John Carroll, from Huyton and Prescot, both with 76 appearances.

In contrast, teenager Luke Kelly, from Ashton under Lyne, is at the very beginning of his county career. The 18-year-old has come through the ranks with the Lancashire youth set-up and has represented England at Under-16 level. He made the breakthrough into the senior team last year, making five appearances.

The Southport team includes a number of players with both county and international experience, allowing Lancashire county captain Paul Williams the chance to run the rule over potential picks for the start of the full county programme. The host team includes Sean Towndrow, from Southport and Ainsdale. The 25-year-old missed much of last season after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, but has recently returned from South Africa where he represented England in four tournaments.

TEAMS

REST OF LANCASHIRE: Henry Tomlinson (Royal Lytham), John Carroll (Huyton and Prescot), Ian Kenwright (Haydock Park), Michael Hunt (Pleasington), Thomas Winn (Morecambe), Reece Cranfield (Wigan), Luke Kelly (Ashton Under Lyne), Sean Doherty (Rossendale), Ciaran Doherty (Bury), Joe Brice (Manchester), Paul McFerran (Warrington), Curtis Clarkin (Nelson).

SDGA: Richie Blundell (Hillside), Sean Towndrow (S&A), Chris Reid (Southport Old Links), Andrew Molloy (Hillside), Anthony Stirling (Formby), Mark Duncalf (Formby), Geoff Harris (Formby), Jack Shelley (Formby), Bryan Hughes (Hesketh), Greg Holmes (Royal Birkdale), Greg McIlroy (S&A), Joe Banks (West Lancashire).

FORTHCOMING FIXTURES: April 8 Rest of Lancashire v Bolton Golf Association (at West Houghton); April 11-13 Four Counties Junior Tournament (at Shifnal); April 16 Lancashire Select v Cumbria Select (at Furness); May 10 Collinge Trophy (at Wilpshire); May 11 Lancashire Seniors v Shropshire and Herefordshire Seniors (at Whitefield).

CAPTION: Lancashire County captain Paul Williams.