Longridge aim to topple the leaders

Ian Simpson
Ian Simpson
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Longridge have the chance to put themselves firmly in the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division title hunt tomorrow.

Ian Simpson’s men – who are currently in fourth spot in the table – welcome league leaders Great Eccleston to Chipping Road.

Only 11 points separate the two teams in what is building up to be one of the most exciting and wide open title races in a number of years.

Tomorrow’s game is the first of a double header weekend for Longridge – they play host to Bolton Association outfit Flixton, looking to secure a place in the LCB Knockout quarter-final.

After a poor start to the summer, the men from Chipping Road have really hit some form of late.

They are currently on an 11-game winning streak and will be hoping to increase that run to 13 after the weekend.

Simpson admits that, while it will be nice to progress in the cup, tomorrow’s league encounter against Great Ecc is the one they are really looking forward to.

“We need to beat the teams around us if we want a chance of winning the league,” said Simpson

“We are excited ahead of Sunday’s cup tie but tomorrow is our focus and we want to win.”

The fact that Longridge are on their home patch in both games this weekend should work to their advantage.

“Home advantage is key for us,” he said.

“We are all familiar with the surroundings and we know what is a good score.

“We know how to adapt to a game depending on the situation.”

Second-placed Freckleton, who are just four points off the top, travel to Hoghton, while Garstang – in third – are away to lowly BAC/EE Preston.

Fifth-placed Penwortham will still fancy their chances of a title charge over the second half of the season – and they host Fylde at Middleforth Green.

It is a busy couple of day on the Northern League calendar as a full fixture list tomorrow precedes the Twenty20 finals day a day later.

Lancaster are the hosts on Sunday and they will go up against line up against Netherfield and two other teams – still to be confirmed – for the right to be crowned 2015 champions.

Lancaster will go up against Netherfield in the first semi-final at 11am, with the other last-four match scheduled for 2pm. The final is set for 5pm

The teams in the other semi-final are currently up in the air with finals day clashing with Lancashire Knockout ties for both Blackpool and Darwen, who have qualified as group winners.

Meanwhile, in the Northern League, Division One, fourth-placed Chorley take on Darwen – just one place below on the same number of points – at Windsor Park.

Leyland face Barrow away, while it is the battle of the bottom at Vernon Road as second-bottom St Annes face basement boys Preston.

Tomorrow’s fixtures

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

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