Eccleston targeting a major cup shock

Eccleston chairman and player Iain Bradley
Eccleston chairman and player Iain Bradley
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It will be a weekend of huge contrast for Eccleston as they go gunning for success on two fronts in the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield.

Stuart White’s men are right in the promotion hunt near the top of Division One.

They head into tomorrow’s fixture against bottom side Kirkham and Wesham at the Woodlands as the overwhelming favourites to register another maximum points haul.

If the expectation levels are sky high for the trip to Kirkham tomorrow, the same cannot be said for their Meyler Cup semi-final clash the following day.

The Chorley-based outfit will be big underdogs when they welcome Garstang to Doctor’s Lane.

Eccleston are the only team from outside the top flight left in the tournament, with the other semi-final being contested between Premier Division leaders Vernon Carus and Thornton Cleveleys.

Garstang are currently in third spot in their respective division and finished runners-up to eventual champions Great Eccleston last season.

To illustrate the task facing White’s men on Sunday – the only team above them in Division One at the moment is Garstang’s second string!

Funnily enough, Eccleston are the only team to get the better of the Division One leaders this season.

“It’s a big weekend for us,” said Eccleston chairman Iain Bradley, who is still an integral part of the team.

“The semi-final on Sunday is one we are looking forward to.

“We will be very much the underdogs – Garstang’s first team are third in the Premier Division and their second team are above us in Division One.

“Hopefully, we can put a performance in, put on a good show and get the win.

“We know it’s going to be a very tough game.

“They are a good team with some very good players.

“We actually beat Gastang’s second team quite comfortably on the first day of the season and were meant to play them last weekend, but it got rained off.

“But since we beat them, they have been on a great run and seem to be getting better.”

Bradley is hoping he and his team-mates can seal promotion this season so that they are coming up against the calibre of teams such as Garstang on a weekly basis.

“We are doing well in the league,” he said.

“We’re hoping to get promoted and then back it up next year – that will be the aim.

“We have got a game against Kirkham tomorrow and we don’t want to be taking our foot off the gas.”

Eccleston are expected to be without both Nasaar Afsar and Declan Tracey on Sunday.

In the Northern League on Sunday, it is Readers Cup second-round day. Lancaster are away to St Annes, Darwen host Blackpool and Fleetwood are at home to Morecambe. Netherfield are due to face the winners of the first-round clash between Chorley and Preston.

NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE: Barrow v Preston, Chorley v Penrith, Darwen v Fleetwood, Lancaster v St Annes, Leyland v Netherfield, Morecambe v Blackpool, Kendal – no game

PALACE SHIELD PREMIER DIVISION: Fulwood and Broughton v Whittingham and Goosnargh, Fylde v Freckleton, Penwortham v Longridge, Thornton Cleveleys v Great Eccleston, Torrisholme v Garstang, Vernon Carus v Croston