Palace Shield weekend preview: Show of strength at the top says Lancaster captain

Lancaster's Ben Simm (photo: Tony North)
Lancaster's Ben Simm (photo: Tony North)

Lancaster skipper Ben Simm is in no doubt about the strength of the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield this season.

The Lune Road outfit head into the weekend in third place in the fledgling table, having won three of their first four games and seen another rained off.

Table-toppers Preston have kicked off with four 
wins on the bounce, while Morecambe have won three out of four.

Below the top three are a pack of clubs with the talent to do well, including some past champions.

Simm said: “The Palace Shield is very strong.

“Vernon Carus are a good side, Croston are strong, while Morecambe and 
Preston are in there after coming down from the 
Northern League.

“Preston have started well and it is nice to see back on their feet after the struggle of recent seasons.

“When you look at all the sides in the Palace Shield, you realise it is not going to be a walk in the park.”

Lancaster were winners against Vernon Carus last week at Factory Lane.

They came away with an eight-wicket victory, Simm claiming a five-for as Vernons posted 164-9 batting first.

A splendid knock of 93 from Charlie Swarbrick saw Lancaster home in reply, the visitors chasing down their target with only two wickets lost.

Said Simm: “It was a good victory for us, Vernon Carus are a strong side who have done well in this division for a number of years and won it.

“To go there and win by eight wickets was pleasing and there were some very good performances.

“We bowled well and it was nice to get my five wickets.

“ Charlie Swarbrick batted superbly, some of his hitting was so clean.

“One of his sixes over the trees was such a clean, strong hit, and he really made his mark on the game.

“That is three wins out of the first four games, with the other at Croston rained off.

“ That is how we wanted to start because we didn’t have the best of starts last season and we paid for that.”

Lancaster have a league and cup double header this weekend.

Tomorrow they make the trip down the M6 to take on Standish, newcomers to the Premier Division this season. Then on Sunday it is back home to Lune Road to host Carnforth in the Lancashire Cup – a clash with Liverpool Competition side Northern the prize for the winners in the next round.

Elsewhere in the division, Preston have a home game against Great Eccleston at West Cliff as they look to make it five wins out of five.

Vernon Carus make the trip to Fylde, with Eccleston hosting Penwortham.

New Longton welcome Croston to Chapel Lane, while Morecambe and South Shore meet at Woodhill Road.