Penwortham keen to build on excellent start to season

Penwortham captain Ashley Billington has challenged his men to maintain their brilliant start to the season.

Friday, 30th April 2021, 8:00 am
Ashley Billington

All is rosy in the garden at Middleforth Green after an impressive opening to the campaign which has seen them pile on the runs and win their first two games.

The maximum points haul means they are second in the early Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division table – just behind, but on the same points as, arch rivals and neighbours Vernon Carus.

Indeed the top of the table has echoes of yesteryear when both teams regularly vied for the title.

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However, in recent years both sides have slipped down the pecking order and have seen teams such as Garstang, Fulwood and Broughton and Longridge win promotion to the Northern League.

In Penwortham’s case, they have battled against relegation at times over the last few years, but Billington believes their long-term investment in youth is now starting to pay dividends.

“It’s like we have gone back 10,12 years,” said Billington. “But I think there’s been a lot of change at both us and Vernons in terms of personnel over the last few years. It’s good to see two local teams – separated by a railway track being at the top of the league.

“I can’t speak for Vernons, but from our perspective, that team we had of a decade ago either retired or moved on.

“We pretty much had to start from scratch, but I think we are now starting to reap the rewards for investing in youth over the last three or four years, but it’s only the first two games.

“I think over the couple of seasons, we have started off slowly and then finished like a train, and I did challenge the players to get off to a good start this time and we have got two wins so no complaints.”

This weekend, Pen host Eccleston, who are always a tough proposition.

“I think Eccleston will be a good barometer of where we are at, Billington said. “ They are always a very tricky side and it’s always a good battle when we play them.”

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