Vernons still right in the Palace Shield title mix, says skipper Bob Bridges

Vernon Carus skipper Bob Bridges insists his men still have a great chance of winning the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division.

By Craig Salmon
Friday, 20th August 2021, 12:30 pm

The men from Factory Lane have been the long-time league leaders this summer but slipped to third spot at the weekend after losing to Penrith in the crunch top-of-the-table clash at Tynefield Park.

The Cumbrians have opened up a 10-point lead at the top with Kirkham and Wesham in second, on the same number of points as Vernons.

Fourth-placed Barrow are only four points behind and have a game in hand while Penwortham will still feel like they have an outside shot of finishing in the top two.

Bob Bridges

Vernons have hit a slightly rough patch of form, picking up just two wins from their last six fixtures.

But Bridges has backed his men to keep their focus and return to form with just four games of the season to go, starting with the trip to Croston this weekend.

“It has all tightened up at the top over the last few weeks,” said Bridges.

“Penrith have opened up a little bit of a cushion at the top which they will be happy with.

“But there’s four games still left to be played and we have seen this season that every team is capable of beating anyone so there is a lot of cricket still to be played.

“This weekend Kirkham play Barrow and I think on the last day of the season Barrow play Penrith so teams are going to drop points.”

It was all looking so good for Vernons at Penrith after they had reduced the hosts to 108-7, but an 87-run partnership between Alister Craig (43) and Jake Marshall (50) was crucial as they helped push the score above 200 which proved too much for the visitors to chase.

He said: “We had them seven down for just over a 100 but the two lads who came in just showed why Penrith are in the position they are. Everyone of them can hold a bat and I don’t think we did too much wrong.”

On paper, Vernons will be expected to win this weekend against Croston, who are languishing in the bottom reaches of the division, but Bridges is not taking anything for granted.

He said: “If you look at some of the games we’ve lost, when you look at the table they were against teams you think we should be comfortably beating. But that’s the nature of the Palace Shield, there is always an upset on the cards.

“We will go into this weekend’s like any other looking to play our brand of hard cricket.

“If we do that then I am confident we will come away with 12 points and we have to make sure we do that.

“We have the confidence in our own ability and if all the 11 lads play to their potential, we know we can beat anyone. We need to keep our heads over the next four games and if we do that then we are going to be there or thereabouts at the top end of the table.”

Fixtures

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

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