Little Lever still in pole position for title
IT is crunch time in the title race this weekend as the top four go head to head in what is becoming an intriguing battle.
Long-time table toppers Little Lever remain in the box seat, but after seeing their lead cut from 21 points to just nine in the space of a month, their match at home to third-placed Westhoughton tomorrow has taken on extra significance.
Should the Victory Road men slip to their third defeat in the last five matches, second-placed Egerton will be waiting to pounce.
Dave Tattersall’s side have not been beaten in the last six matches, since losing by 133-runs at Little Lever, and go into Saturday’s match at champions Farnworth with renewed hope of gaining the first title in the club’s history.
But the team manager, who prematurely conceded the title to Little Lever after July’s crushing defeat, is still adamant Egerton remain rank outsiders.
“Little Lever will have to lose at least two of their five remaining games for us to overtake them, and even then we would have to win all of ours,” said Tattersall.
“So if I could swap positions, there is no question about it, I would.
“It doesn’t matter what has gone on in the last few weeks, with their lead being cut to nine points, I stand by what I said before, they are still in pole position and are by far and away the favourites.
“But it is getting interesting, isn’t it?”
Following that three-wicket defeat, they enjoyed a run of six straight victories, culminating in that confidence-boosting performance at home to Egerton on July 20.
That victory saw them move 27 points clear of Tattersall’s men, and a further victory the following weekend at Astley Bridge saw them extend the gap to their then nearest rivals, Farnworth, to 21 points.
But Egerton were starting on a run of their own.
Since their defeat at Little Lever they have won five out of six matches with one game abandoned, at Tonge last Saturday.
In the same period, Little Lever have won two, lost two and had two abandoned.
And while Jonny Kerrigan’s side remain favourites to claim their first title since 1995, which would be the seventh in the club’s history, those thoughts have been put firmly to the back of the captain’s mind.
“Whatever happens, we have had a very successful season compared to previous years,” said Kerrigan, pictured.
“It’s been really enjoyable so far and we want the players to focus on that, rather than heap pressure on them by talking about the title.
“But we know every side near the top has a difficult run-in and there are no easy games at this stage, so wherever we end up, it is meant to be.”