Lowerhouse coach Paul Stansfield has underlined the importance of starting the season in formiddable fashion ahead of the weekend fixture with Enfield.
After rain tarnished the opening weeks of the 2012 campaign the West Enders went on to win 10 consecutive league fixtures - a run which ended with defeat to Accrington on home soil in July.
It was a sequence that proved pivotal come the season finale as Lowerhouse retained their Lancashire League title on the final day courtesy of a two-wicket triumph over Ramsbottom.
“We are always confident,” declared Stansfield. “If we play well then someone will have to be in fantastic form to beat us. It’s important to start the season as well as possible and get that momentum. We won our first 11 last year which practically won us the title so it shows the importance of getting off to a good start.”
Stansfield’s side began the new term with a three wicket win over Rishton at Liverpool Road and they’ll be looking to build on that when they travel to Dill Hall Lane on Sunday.
Enfield have made changes since their fourth place finish last year while South African all-rounder Brad Moses’s arrival as professional has been delayed. Sri Lankan Saliya Saman deputised in the washout at Acre Bottom last weekend.
“We played well against Rishton,” Stansfield said. “They’ve beaten us twice over the last two seasons so we were delighted with the result. We were always on top but lost a succession of wickets when chasing the win. We were always favourites though while Francois (Haasbroek) was still there.”
He added: “We don’t know what to expect at the weekend. There line-up against Ramsbottom was completely different from last term plus we don’t know who their pro will be. It could be a completely different side.
They’ve still got Adam and David Bracewell though who are very capable players. But they only played 11 overs against Ramsbottom before it got rained off so they pose an unknown quantity.”
But before that Lowerhouse face Tottington St Johns in the LCB Cup. Stansfield is expected to draft in youngsters Jack Edgar and Scott Hope for tomorrow’s tie in the absence of Jon Finch and Joe Beneduce.
Meanwhile, Burnley skipper Bharat Tripathi says his side has set the benchmark in terms of performance levels following their opening day 72-run triumph over Church.
Qasim Ali smashed 96 for the hosts as they opened with 222 at Turf Moor before paid man Adnan Rasool claimed a staggering 9-41 off 15 overs to thwart last season’s third place finishers.
“We went out there and tried to bat in partnerships and Qasim stuck, which is something one of the top four has to do,” Tripathi said. “We all batted around him and it was a great return with 222 in our first game.
“Our pro Adnan Rasool was irresistible. He bowled at a quick pace with turn and bounce at the same time. He was in ubelievable form and was unplayable on the day. I said before that whatever the pro brings to the table is a bonus and that just happened to be nine wickets.”
Burnley travel to face Rishton on Sunday and though confident the skipper is wary of the threat that professional Daniel Salpietro and Afaq Ali Sartaj may pose.
“There’s a great atmosphere and spirit in the dressing room and a great fight out on the field, he said. “We’ve set the bar in terms of performance levels and we’ve sent a message out to other teams in the league. We need to attack our next game with the same attitude.
“Rishton are a hard-working team and it’ll be a tough game. Salpietro is good with the ball but played our spinners well with the bat last year as well. Sartaj is a talented left arm spinner and they always prosper in league cricket. They’ve got a good mix of bowlers.”