Lowerhouse coach Paul Stansfield believes the morale-boosting derby win against rivals Burnley could be the catalyst for success ahead of another double-header weekend.
After overcoming a sluggish start to record a 32 run victory over East Lancs on home soil, the West Enders took maximum points at Turf Moor with a perfectly engineered 65 run triumph to maintain their 100 per cent start to the new campaign.
Stansfield, who has been without the services of Matt Walker, Jonny Whitehead and Jon Finch for the opening fixtures, said: “They were two good results. We’ve won three out of three and we’re gradually improving with each game which is a great sign.
“We still feel there’s a bit more to come from us yet though because we’re just shifting through the gears.”
Stansfield added: “Things are looking good for us. We were 72-5 at one point against East Lancs but Blez and Joe Hawke put on a ton for the sixth wicket and we fancied ourselves from there.
“We started really well against Burnley and it was excellent to go on and claim that derby win. It was our best performance so far. It’s imperative to have a good start because that was what built the foundations of our title success last term. It was great to get those bragging rights and do it for Bomber. It was a good feeling and 12 points coupled with a derby win always helps to boost morale.”
The West Enders face a tough test at Acre Bottom tomorrow as they face unbeaten Ramsbottom before hosting Colne in the mini-derby at Liverpool Road on Sunday.
“We’ve got a massive game against Ramsbottom coming up,” declared Stansfield. “We’re going in to that game full of belief and confidence now which you need against sides like that. They’ll be up there at the end of the season, there’s no doubt about it.”
He added: “They’re equipped with one of the best batting pros in the league (Pieter Malan) and the best balling amateur in Jon Fielding. We consider ourselves to play proper cricket with a lot of technically gifted players which is similar to Ramsbottom. Colne struggle year on year but they have the most explosive professional (Shadley Van Schalkwyk) in the division who can take wickets and hit some big scores.”
Elsewhere, Burnley skipper Bharat Trapathi will need to motivate his players ahead of games at home to Accrington and away to Nelson at Seedhill. After a superb victory over Church on the opening day, Tripathi’s side have slipped to defeats to Todmorden and Lowerhouse. Tommorrow’s clash against the league leaders at Turf Moor commences at 1 p.m.
In the Houldsworth Solicitors Ribblesdale Cricket League Read captain Kyle O’Connor is expecting to be embroiled in another arduous chase for the title. The Whalley Road side climbed to the summit with victories over Ribblesdale Wanderers and newcomers Euxton, though Edenfield, Clitheroe, Baxenden, Settle and Oswaldtwistle Immanuel are all in touching distance.
“It was nice to get two wins,” said O’Connor. “Everybody seems to be contributing so it’s been a really good team effort.
“Looking at it I think it’s going to be a very tight league this year. There’s a few teams closely grouped together. We’re up there sooner than expected so hopefully we can hold on to it. There’s still 24 games left though so there’s a lot to do.
“Our batting has been great. Whatever any team has posted against us we’ve been able to chase them because we are very aggressive down the order. We’re capable all the way down to the tail end.”
Read travel to Brooksbottom tomorrow and host Euxton in Sunday’s Ramsbottom Cup game.
Meanwhile, Padiham will be hoping for a response after defeats to Edenfield and Ribblesdale Wanderers saw them drop in to the bottom two. Callum Clarke’s side are away at Clitheroe tomorrow and face Cherry Tree in the Ramsbottom Cup at Preston Old Road 24 hours later.