Relegation threatened Chorley Cricket Club will fight another day no matter what happens this weekend

Chairman Peter Mockett insists it would not be the end of the world if Chorley were to be relegated from the Northern League tomorrow.

By Craig Salmon
Friday, 3rd September 2021, 12:33 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd September 2021, 12:34 pm

The Windsor Park club were founder members of the league in 1951, but next summer they could find themselves playing in the Moore and Smalley Palace Premier Division.

Andrew Holdsworth’s men sit second from bottom of the table – 10 points from safety – and will be relegated if they fail to beat Fleetwood at Broadwater on the final day of the season this weekend.

Even then a victory will not be enough to save Chorley if Morecambe and St Annes pick up enough points in their respective games against Garstang and Leyland.

Louis Johnson is a young player who has come through the ranks at Chorley

Mockett – who has decided to step down from his role at the end of the season – admits it will be a huge dent to the pride of everybody connected with the club and it’s certainly not the way he would have liked his reign to finish.

But he believes the club remains on a sound footing off the field, has a number of promising juniors coming through and whatever happens the club will live to fight another day.

“It wouldn’t be the end of the world if we were to be relegated,” said Mockett.

“It would be a huge blow to our pride of course. But recent history shows that since the Northern League joined up with the Palace Shield, the teams who have gone down have pretty quickly come back up again.

“The good thing is the club is stable off the field – all our problems at the moment are on it.

“But that’s sport. Anybody who has been involved in sport will know that is what it’s all about.

“Nobody likes losing but it all can change.

“I told the committee a while ago that I intend to step down from official duties, although I will still be around in the background.

“I have had a good stint as chairman but it’s time for someone else to have a go.

“I have been secretary and then chairman for the past 12 years and the club is in good shape.

“We do need to recruit some players but I should mention that we do have three or four youngsters who are coming through and will become quality first-team players but unfortunately this season is just a little bit too early for them

“I am confident if we do go down, then we will be able to bounce straight back up – but hopefully we can manage to stay up although it’s going to be difficult but you never know.”

Mockett believes Chorley’s problems this season stem from their inability to post competitive totals on a regular basis.

“I think it’s no secret that we have been desperately short of some quality batsmen this season, it’s as simple as that,” said Mockett.

“Certainly top-order batsmen – we have struggled in that department and that’s been our predicament throughout the season.

“I think if you go back a few years, we have always been a strong bowling team but this year we have struggled to put some proper scores on the board to defend. We have had some good individual performances but not really had too many good partnerships.”

It is hotting up in the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division promotion race with just two weeks of the season left.

Leaders Penrith have already sealed their return to the Northern League and will secure the title with victory, or five or more bonus points at Croston this weekend.

The battle for second place is still on a knife edge though with Vernon Carus seemingly in the box seat – nine points clear of third-placed Kirkham and Wesham with two games to go.

However, fourth-placed Barrow – who are currently 11 points behind Vernons – have a game in hand on their rivals and will overhaul the teams above them if they secure maximum points from their three remaining games.

Vernons travel to Eccleston this weekend while K&W are at Penwortham. Barrow, meanwhile, host Preston tomorrow before travelling to Croston on Sunday.

Intriguingly, Barrow face champions-elect Penrith on the final day of the season.

Vernons skipper Bob Bridges believes the promotion race will go right down to the wire and is certain there will be a few more twists and turns to come.

“Barrow have to play Penrith on the final game of the season,” he said.

“Team can still drop points and that’s where we come into it.

“If we can win our final few games which is what we are looking to do, everything could work in our favour.”

At the bottom end, Fylde and South Shore’s relegation has already been confirmed.

Saturday's fixtures

NORTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE: Blackpool v Netherfield, Fleetwood v Chorley, Kendal v Longridge, Lancaster v Fulwood and Broughton, Leyland v St Annes, Morecambe v Garstang.

MOORE AND SMALLEY PALACE SHIELD PREMIER DIVISION: Barrow v Preston, Croston v Penrith, Eccleston v Vernon Carus, Fylde v Thornton Cleveleys, Great Eccleston v South Shore, Penwortham v Kirkham and Wesham. Sunday – Croston v Barrow.

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