Anthony Axford Bolton League: Farnworth key to scramble for Lancs KO places
FARNWORTH head into a tough run of fixtures over the next two weekends knowing they hold the key to the race for the Lancashire Knockout places.
The Bridgeman Park outfit, who were just edged out by Barrow in the quarter-finals last Sunday, are assured of a place in next year’s county competition as Hamer Cup holders.
Lancs KO places are also awarded to teams finishing in the top four of the Bolton League, but if third-placed Farnworth retain their position until the end of the season then the side finishing fifth will also be given a berth.
And with a run of matches coming up against Greenmount (sixth, tomorrow), Westhoughton (fourth, Sunday) and Egerton (second, next Saturday), Farnworth captain David Morris Jnr knows results against his side could prove pivotal.
“As well as being a really enjoyable competition to play in, it is also important to all the Bolton League clubs to be in the Lancashire Knockout as it helps you to attract players from other leagues,” said the Farnworth skipper.
“We go into matches against Greenmount, Westhoughton and Egerton knowing they are all pushing for a Lancs KO spot themselves, so it is our responsibility to field strong teams in each match and try to beat them.”
Not that Morris is suggesting there is any possibility his side may now be coasting to the end of the season. The reigning Bolton League champions may be 18 points behind leaders Little Lever, but the Farnworth captain refuses to relinquish the title until it is mathematically out of reach.
“All we are looking to do now is finish as high as we can, and then see what happens,” he said.
“We have just got to keep playing every game as it comes and, if Little Lever do slip up, then we want to be in there to capitalise. But we know it is a long shot.”
Little Lever would effectively have to lose three of their remaining seven fixtures to open the door for Farnworth, who would then need maximum points just to draw level.
Jonny Kerrigan’s league leaders suffered a brief wobble at Heaton last time out – recovering from 115-6 to win by four wickets – and will be eager not to repeat a recent defeat to struggling Horwich when they entertain bottom side Eagley tomorrow.
Elsewhere, second-placed Egerton travel to second-bottom Tonge while Lancs KO hopefuls Westhoughton face a tough trip to seventh-placed Farnworth Social Circle.