Palace Shield preview: Lancaster skipper hopes Andy Moffat can go from strength to strength

Lancaster's Kieran Moffat
Lancaster's Kieran Moffat

Captain Ben Simm is hoping the half-century Kieran Moffat struck last weekend is a sign of things to come for the Lancaster all-rounder.

Moffat hit an unbeaten 63 to guide the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division leaders to victory at Great Eccleston.

He has struggled for form with the bat during the early part of the season – indeed his knock at the weekend improved his season’s aggregate to just 163 runs from 11 innings.

However despite his trevails with the bat, Moffat has been an invaluable member of the bowling attack – taking 23 wickets at an average of 14.87 this summer, his wickets alone being a major contributor to Lancaster’s fine unbeaten start to the season.

“Kieran played really well,” said Simm. “He’s had his struggles with the bat this year since the first game of the season. Had a poor run of form so it was great to see him bat like he can do.

“Last year he sort of started off the other way around where he started off like a house on fire and then struggled a bit later in the season.

“But when he’s in form, he’s outstanding player and he’s been an asset this season with the ball – it’s not just about his batting.”

While it was Moffat who impressed with the bat, it was Iain Perrieman who did the damage for Lancaster with the ball against Great Eccleston.

He took 5-26 as the home side were bowled out for 137 and despite losing a few too many wickets for comfort, Lancaster reached their victory target for the loss of four wickets.

“I thought we performed well on Saturday,” Simm said. “We managed to bowl them out for 137 which was a below par score on that wicket. A lot of that was down to Iain Perriman, who bowled brilliantly.”

Croston will be no easy task for Simm’s men this weekend, but the captain is hopeful of making home advantage count especially as he welcomes the return of middle order batsmen Nathan Whitehead and Laurie Atkinson.

“They are a good side Croston,” Simm said. “We have had some really good games against them since we have been in the Palace Shield.”

Elsewhere, second-placed Morecambe travel to relegation threatened Penwortham, while it’s third against fifth as Preston travel to Eccleston, who are 20 runs behind.