Big Interview: Former Preston ace and current Carlisle United defender Jack Armer
Dave Seddon talks to Carlisle United footballer Jack Armer who turns his arm to cricket in the summer and turns out for Penwortham in the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield
Jack Armer isn’t a footballer who lets the grass grow under his feet during the summer months.
Once the boots have been put away at the end of the season, Armer gets out the cricket bat and turns out for a stint in the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield.
The 20-year-old plays for Penwortham’s first XI and has enjoyed a decent season, his seven innings producing 144 runs while he’s taken 12 wickets.
There was a 5-14 display in among his statistics and a knock of 56 in one game.
Saturday’s clash with Kirkham and Wesham at the Woodlands is set to be Armer’s last league outing of the season.
Next Friday it is back to the day job of playing football for Carlisle United.
Pre-season training starts for Armer and his Cumbrian team-mates, a few weeks of hard slog to get in tip-top shape for their League Two campaign.
It will be the Lostock Hall lad’s second season with Carlisle, having joined them last summer after being released by Preston North End.
The defender could be pleased with his breakthrough season, pulling on a Carlisle shirt 28 times over four competitions.
Football has been able to take a backseat in Armer’s life since early May, cricket coming to the forefront.
“There is not the same pressure going out there for Penwortham on a Saturday,” Armer told the Lancashire Post.
“I go out wanting to win every game and I’m annoyed if we lose. But it’s not your livelihood, things are a bit more relaxed.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s still competitive and there are some great games in the Palace Shield.
“I’ve enjoyed this summer, I got a half century and there’s been a 39 or 40, a few wickets here and there. I’m limited to how many games I can play by the football.
“This weekend is due to be my last playing cricket this summer, we start back training at Carlisle next Friday. We’ve got a Meyler Cup game coming up which the lads want me to play in.
“I’ve tried to play every summer for the last few years.
“I was at Lancashire Cricket Club up to Under-14s, I’d been playing since I was eight or nine.
“There came a time when I had to make a choice of trying to make it in football.
“There were some lads I played with at Lancashire who were exceptionally good cricketers but didn’t get anywhere near their first team. I just thought there was more of a pathway in football.”
Armer fits into the category of all-rounder, bowling at a decent pace and able to bat quite high up the order.
“I’m a left-arm bowler, medium to fast, and I bat at four, five, six or seven depending on who we have available that week,” said Armer.
“Penwortham started off the season very well and were top three for a bit.
“We lost at South Shore the other week and then to Penrith last Saturday.
“Penrith are a decent side to be honest, they will finish up there I would have thought.
“It’s been nice to play league cricket this summer because last year there was just a cup competition because of Covid and the lockdown. I like the competitiveness of the league, the promotion and relegation factor.”
Covid somewhat shaped Carlisle’s fortunes on the football pitch last season.
They were up there in promotion contention going into the second half of the season before things took a downward turn.
Armer, capped at under-17, 18 and 19 levels by Scotland – an allegiance from his mum’s side of the family – said: “Carlisle were flying until January, we were at the top of the league.
“One Monday we came in for training, did the Covid tests and 12 came back positive. Because of that and the weather, lots of games were postponed.
“We played Harrogate away and it got abandoned after just five minutes because the pitch had started to freeze.
“When we went back to play them again, there was a power cut at the ground and it had to be postponed.
“So we ended up going to Harrogate three times.
“From the end of January we were playing Saturday and Tuesday every week. In the end we ran out of legs.
“Personally, I was pleased with how my season went. I played a few times at the start of the season and then a lot in the second half.
“My first few games were at right-back where I’d not played before, then a couple at the end were there.
“In between I played at left-back which is more my position.”
The daily drive up the M6 to Cumbria was far from a lonely one for Armer last season, with a number of his team-mates based in Lancashire.
“There were two car schools, three in one car and four in the other,” said Armer.
“I was in with Nick Anderton, Lewis Alessandra and Dean Furman. We’d all have a day driving and would stay over in Carlisle the night before a game.
“It’s a nice drive up there, only once were we held up by bad traffic. Nick has since signed for Bristol Rovers and Dean has left, so I’ll have to find a couple of others to drive with.”
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