WARRINGTON-BORN cricketer Rob Jones is hoping he can become known for more than cameo appearances with Lancashire County Cricket Club as he prepares to embark on another season at Emirates Old Trafford.

Stockton Heath's Jones made an almost immediate impact in Lancashire’s first team, scoring an unbeaten 106 in his third County Championship appearance in late 2016.

He was an ever-present in the Championship Division Two title success in 2019 but has since be unable to hold down a regular berth in the side.

But last season the nature-loving 27-year-old enjoyed a brilliant run of form in the 2022 Royal London Cup, helping Lancashire reach the final with scores of 70 not out, 85 not out and 84 in as many innings during the group stages and it is this kind of batting he hopes can see him become a regular once again - in all formats of the game. 

"I had a good winter as I always do," said former Bridgewater High School pupil Jones. "I climbed some mountains and drank some whiskey.

"I went to Islay in October and Mull in February - the winter gives me a bit of time to do the things I love and I like it because I can do my own thing.

"I've felt good all winter and it's the best I've felt for a long time. This is my eighth season now and I feel like I know my game more than ever.

"I feel relaxed and I'm hitting the ball well. What will be will be and if I play the first game of the year so be it and if I don't, I don't."

While he may come across as almost too happy go lucky, there remains a steely determination in Jones' ambition to prove himself at Lancashire.

"I felt like I contributed in all formats last year, especially the one day games," he said.

"I was pleased about my four day game too - I felt like I played some crucial knocks. The one at Warwickshire when I played with Luke Wells at the back end and got 66 and helped us win the game was one of my proudest moments in a Lancashire shirt.

"With the opportunities I had I felt like I did well but being in and out has pretty much been the story of my career.

"It's a tough team to break into so I never really set targets - I just try to enjoy my cricket, do it with a smile on my face and give it 110% - hopefully I can contribute and if we win games of cricket and I do well then brilliant."

Last season saw Lancashire finish second in the LV= Insurance County Championship, the Vitality Blast and the One-Day Cup, but there are high hopes they can push on under the captaincy of new skipper Keaton Jennings, who has taken over from Dane Vilas, and new additions in the New Zealand Test pair Colin de Grandhomme and Daryl Mitchell.

"I think we're hungrier then ever," said Jones.

"We've spoken a lot about coming second in all three formats and we're raring to go.

"Dane did a brilliant stint as captain for four years and he is such a solid guy and now Keats has taken over I don't think anything much will change. Dane is still there and around and the mood is brilliant.

"Colin seems a great guy - I'd never met him before - he has a wealth of international experience and with Daryl it's the same thing - you need to try and learn off these lads, have an idea how they go about things and see what you can learn to implement what they do.

"It's about asking questions, digging deep and trying to get to know them as a person - you see what works for them.

"I used to talk to Shiv (Chanderpaul, former West Indies batsman) - he was brilliant to chat to - he was a bit different and quirky with his theories but if you chat to these different people you can pick and choose what you want to use in your own game."

Whether Jones will get his chance remanins to be seen but the batter remains loyal to the cause and always willing to support his teammates.

"I'll take any opportunity and just try my best," he added. "That's all I've ever done."