Vernon Carus in the box seat as Palace Shield promotion race reaches its climax

The final weekend of the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division promotion race is heading for a climatic conclusion.

Friday, 10th September 2021, 8:01 am
Updated Friday, 10th September 2021, 8:04 am

With Penrith already assured of the league title, three other teams are vying for the second promotion spot.

Vernon Carus are in the box seat and they know a victory tomorrow will see them promoted to the Northern League. Ironically, their opponents on the final day of the campaign are fierce derby rivals Penwortham at home.

One-time promotion challengers, Pen have fallen away over the second half of the season but they are expected to produce one last big effort which could throw a spanner in the works for Vernons.

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Vernon Carus skipper Bob Bridges

Should that happen then Bob Bridges’ men could find themselves overhauled by either Barrow or Kirkham & Wesham, who play Penrith and Croston respectively.

Having won their past two matches in convincing fashion, Bridges is confident his men are in the right frame of mind to come out on top in the derby.

“I think we will be fine,” said Bridges. “We are just going to treat it like any other game. That’s how we have got to go into it. We just need to get that win under our belts and especially after the past two weeks when we have performed well, we will be backing ourselves to do that.

“You would expect Penwortham will be going all out to stop us and we are not expecting an easy game.

“We will have to work for it but we are in the position we are in for a reason and I think if we all perform and play well, then we will have enough in our locker to beat Penwortham.”

Although eager to secure promotion with a final-day victory, Bridges has worked out what permutations will be required in terms of bonus points should things not quite go according to plan this weekend.

“I think we need five or more points,” said Bridges. “There is a circumstance where we could lose the game and still go up.

“Obviously that’s not how we are looking to do it. We want to go up with a good 12 point victory.

“But bonus points are always in the back of your head so if we are batting first, we want to get to that 180 and get the three batting points and if we bowl first we want to bowling them out to get the three bowling points.”

This weekend's Fixtures: Kirkham & Wesham v Croston, Penrith v Barrow, Preston v Fylde, South Shore v Eccleston, Thornton Cleveleys v Great Eccleston, Vernon Carus v Penwortham.

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