Penwortham Cricket Club targeting success over the long term

Penwortham are eager to ensure that they can sustain success in the long term on the cricket pitch.

By Craig Salmon
Friday, 21st May 2021, 8:00 am

The Middleforth Green outfit are going along nicely this season in the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division after a bright start.

Of their opening five games, they have won three and only lost one and find themselves in second spot behind neighbours Vernon Carus in the table.

Captain Ashley Billington admits it is nice to see his men riding high near the top of the table after a barren few years when they were regularly fighting a battle at the wrong end.

Ashley Billington

They were once one of the powerhouses of the Premier Division – winning the league and cup double in 2011, and from the years 2010 to 2013 they never finished outside of the top two.

Billington hopes that those days will return to Middleforth Green and believes the infrastructure the club has been building in terms of youth development will ensure that.

“I’m the eldest player in the team – I will be 36 this year,” said Billington, who will lead his men against Barrow at home this weekend.

“My vice-captain is 33 and then everybody else is under 30 and a lot of the lads are early 20s. The vast majority are Penwortham lads. We have supplemented the team with one or two signings.

“The idea would be to very much have a first XI made up of entirely Penwortham Cricket Club born-and-bred players.

“Obviously it doesn’t always work like that but the focus is on youth development and getting players coming through. We are having to split our training nights because we have got between 50 and 60 signed on.

“That’s a big difference to not too long ago when we had one training night and we would have only 13 or 14 turning up.

“I think that sort of gives an idea of where the club is going and it’s great that it’s got to that stage.

“That creates it’s own set of problems but it’s all about converting that quantity into quality and long-term sustainability so that we are not just challenging for one or two years but for many years.”

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