Title glory within Longridge’s grasp

Longridge's Matt Greenall helped a Palace Shield Under-21s XI defeat the MCC on Wednesday
Longridge's Matt Greenall helped a Palace Shield Under-21s XI defeat the MCC on Wednesday
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Longridge chairman Tom Haworth believes his club can be crowned Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division champions this season.

Ian Simpson’s men are firmly in the hunt for the title with six games of the season to go.

They currently reside in third spot in the table – just 12 points behind leaders and reigning champions Vernon Carus.

Although Vernons – who have won the title four out of the last five years – are the overwhelming favourites, Haworth is convinced his men have enough quality to lift the shield.

However, the chairman thinks their only downfall could be whether they truly believe in their own minds that they that they can do it.

“I feel that the team is good enough to win the title,” he said.

“The players have got enough ability to do it.

“I don’t know what it is but we just seem to freeze a little bit when we come up against teams like Vernons.

“It just seems because they have held the upper hand over us in recent seasons that every time we play against them, we don’t play as well as we should.

“At the moment, Vernons have that little bit of a psychological edge over us at first-team level.

“I think we should have beaten them the other week.

“It was a reduced-overs match but it was still 29 overs each. We should have restricted them to around 100 but we kept attacking and going for wickets because you get bonus points. So they ended up with 130-odd and when we batted, we got off to a bad start and were 31-4.

“We finished up getting 110 but that’s the sort of game where you think if could have got off to a good start in our innings, we could have cruised it.

“But we didn’t and that’s probably where that psychological edge comes into it.”

This weekend, Longridge have an excellent chance to maintain the pressure on Vernons and second-placed Great Eccleston as they host basement boys Withnell Fold at Chipping Road.

Withnell – who were promoted from the First Division last year – have yet to win a game this season and only have 24 points to their name.

It appears to be a home banker for Longridge but Haworth is taking nothing for granted.

He said: “Withnell are bottom but I never count my chickens.

“They came up this season and have struggled.

“But I think their problem has been is that they haven’t got strength in depth and that goes for the majority of clubs in the league. ”

Meanwhile, Leyland will be hoping to keep their Northern League Division One title hopes alive when they visit Morecambe.

Chorley host Penrith, and Preston are at home to Darwen.

FIXTURES

NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE: Barrow v Fleetwood, Chorley v Penrith, Kendal v Blackpool, Morecambe v Leyland, Preston v Darwen, St Annes v Lancaster.

PALACE SHIELD PREMIER DIVISION: Freckleton v Thornton Cleveleys, Fulwood and Broughton v Fylde, Longridge v Withnell Fold, Penwortham v Garstang, Vernon Carus v BAC/EE Preston, Whittingham and Goosnargh v Great Eccleston.