Palace Shield leaders Vernon Carus keen to join the Northern League party

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Vernon Carus have the qualities necessary to be a successful club in the Northern Premier Cricket League.

That is the opinion of captain Bob Bridges who has steered his team to the top of the table in the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division this season.

The men from Factory Lane have opened up a 10-point lead at the summit – after winning five of their opening six matches.

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If Vernons were to remain in the top two placings for the rest of the season, then they would earn promotion to the Northern League Division One. It could be said that they have been a victim of circumstance over the last few years as a downturn in their fortunes on the pitch corresponded with the introduction of a system of promotion and relegation.

Bob BridgesBob Bridges
Bob Bridges

Even though, they remain the Palace Shield’s most successful club in terms of title successes over the past decade, they have seen teams such as Fulwood and Broughton, Garstang and

Longridge overtake them in recent seasons and earn a place in the Northern League.

Indeed since 2017, when promotion was introduced, Vernons have finished well off the pace at the top.

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However, that could all change this season and Bridges admits that everybody within the club has a burning ambition to test themselves at the higher level.

“It’s been great to see the Palace Shield teams stepping up into the Northern League and competing,” said Bridges, whose team host second-placed Penrith this weekend,

“I have no doubt that if we do end up winning the league this season – and there’s a lot of cricket still to be played before we can even think about that – we will be capable of doing the same kind of things as Garstang, F&B and Longridge have done.

“Obviously, the dynamic of the league changes. There are professionals involved in the Northern League. But it is reassuring to know that we have seen teams go into the Northern League and have proven themselves and it gives us that extra belief that we can do it too.

“I would definitely back my lads to do the same.”

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Penrith moved into a promotion place spot in the table following their victory over South Shore last weekend and having come down from the Northern League, will be looking to bounce back.

Bridges added: “We have just got to take every Saturday as it comes – we don’t tend to look at the league table and see which team is where.”

Saturday's fixtures

Palace Shield: Barrow v Great Eccleston, Croston v Eccleston, Fylde v Penwortham, Kirkham and Wesham v Thornton Cleveleys, South Shore v Preston, Vernon Carus v Penrith.

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