Palace Shield cricket preview: Championship bid still on for Lancaster
Lancaster are not out of the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division title race despite losing ground at the top of the table.
That is the view of bowler Ben Simm after the men from Lune Road were beaten for the first time in 11 games in the top-of-the-table clash against Longridge at the weekend.
Lancaster had the chance to go top with a victory, but they slipped 15 points behind the leaders after succumbing to a seven-wicket defeat at the Newsham Memorial Ground.
However, with eight games left to play, Simm believes there is still plenty of time for he and his team-mates to overhaul Longridge and finish on top of the pile.
“We are probably going to have to run through teams and win lot of games with bonus points,” said Simm.
“Longridge still have got some tough games to come.
“They still have got Croston, Vernon Carus and Kendal to play – all the teams who are up near the top of the table.
“They are teams who are capable of taking points off them.
“We have just got to hope that Longridge slip up.”
Despite falling behind Longridge, Lancaster can console themselves with the fact that Vernon Carus were beaten at the weekend, meaning they still remain well placed in a promotion spot.
“I think we are 17 points above third,” added Simm.
“It’s still very much all to play for and if we play as well as we have been doing of late – apart from last week’s result – then we can still be competing for the title and pushing Longridge close.
“But if we can’t win the title then promotion is the prize for finishing second.
“All the focus is trying to win the league.”
Simm said Lancaster paid the price for not having a full-strength side out against Longridge.
He listed eight or nine first-teamers who were unavailable for selection due to a number of different reasons.
“It was most disappointing to be honest,” he said.
“We were a few short on numbers playing-wise.
“I think we had eight or nine out. Even a couple of the lads on the fringes of the first team could not play.
“It was just one of those weekends where unfortunately we were a bit short on numbers – but it happened on probably the biggest weekend of the season.”
This weekend, Lancaster host old foes Kendal at Lune Road. The pair were relegated together from the Northern League Division One last season.
After a slow start, Kendal are starting to make their presence felt and last weekend’s win over Vernons saw them move up to fifth in the table.
“They are playing well,” said Simm. “I predicted that they will be a lot stronger when the pitches get firmer and dryer. They have two very good spinners.”
MOORE AND SMALLEY PALACE SHIELD: Lancaster v Kendal, New Longton v South Shore, Penwortham v Longridge, Thornton Cleveleys v Great Eccleston, Torrisholme v Croston, Vernon Carus v Eccleston.