A positive attitude towards their cricket has so far reaped dividends for Penwortham this season.
The Middleforth Green outfit have begun the new campaign in fine style – registering two wins out of two in the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division.
On the opening weekend of the season they were too strong for Croston and last weekend, their convincing victory over highly-fancied Longridge has certainly raised a few eye brows.
Longridge have been battling for the league title over the past two seasons, but they were no match for Jack Aspden’s men last Saturday.
“We have decided as a club to try to play a bit more positive cricket and look to take the attack to the other team,”Aspden said.
“We made a conscious effort over the winter nets to do that. We want to score runs more quickly and be more aggressive in the field.
“Last weekend, we batted really positively against one of the best bowling attacks in the league.
“Probably in previous years we may not have done that.
“But it’s been a good start. We’ve had two games and two good victories.
“Against Croston, they were probably missing a couple of players from last season.
“Certainly against Longridge, we played as well as we can do.
“Last year they were going for the title and I expect them to be up there this season.”
It was not too long ago that Penwortham were the team battling it out at the top of the table on a yearly basis. In fact, last year was the first time since the advent of the league’s Premier Division in 2007 that at least one of the top two places has not been occupied by either Penwortham or their fierce local rivals Vernon Carus.
It was in 2011 that Penwortham secured a glorious league and cup double, but the past couple of years have been something of a rebuilding job after a number of the club’s established stars retired.
They have turned to youth with players such as fifteen-year-old Jack Armer, David Crabtree (18) and Tom Nowlan (18) graduating to the first team.
And the club has also been keen to promote from within with 27-year-old wicketkeeper Adam Gray stepping up from the second team to take the gloves.
The arrival of experienced, but young, all-rounder Jonathan Hothersall from BAC/EE Preston could prove to be a crucial signing.
“As a club, we have been on a bit of a journey since we won the double,” Aspden said.
“We have lost a few players and we have had to rebuild, but what we haven’t had to do is go outside of the club because the club has got a strong junior set-up.”
This weekend, Penwortham host Fylde and Aspden said: “After the start to the season, it’s game people would expect us to win but we’re not taking anything for granted.”
On Sunday, Penwortham are in Meyler Cup action when they welcome Rufford to Middleforth Green.
In other ties, Whittingham and Goosnargh are at home to BAC/EE Preston and and Withnell Fold host Fylde.
NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE: Blackpool v Kendal, Fleetwood v Chorley, Lancaster v Leyland, Netherfield v Darwen, Preston v Morecambe, St Annes v Barrow
PALACE SHIELD PREMIER DIVISION: Croston v Longridge, Freckleton v Garstang, Fulwood and Broughton v Vernon Carus, Great Eccleston v Whittingham and Goosnargh, Penwortham v Fylde, Torrisholme v Thornton Cleveleys