BOLTON LEAGUE: Rigbys men are on the up
IT has taken five years to come to fruition but Bradshaw chairman Steve Dickinson believes plans are in place to launch a serious tilt for the title next season.
The Rigbys men go into tomorrow’s match at champions-elect Little Lever 18 points adrift, knowing defeat would end their challenge this season.
But seasoned pro Saeed Anwar Jnr is already signed up for another campaign and third-placed Bradshaw are all but assured of a spot in next year’s Lancashire Knockout.
And Dickinson believes the foundation are now in place to take the club on to the next level.
“When I took the role five or six years ago, we finished the first few seasons in the bottom three,” said the Bradshaw chairman.
“As a result we made a conscious decision to change the way we did things by investing more time and money in our junior set-up and working hard to bring young players through into the first team.
“The progression has been slow, finishing in mid-table the last couple of years, but the signing of Anwar has made a big difference.
“We knew if we could sign a top amateur then that would bring the whole thing together and it has certainly worked out that way.
“Other clubs were interested in him for next year but he has really bought into what we are trying to do and has shown his committment by signing for 2014, with an option to stay for another season after that.”
While the first team has made big strides this year, lower down the structure the club is buoyant.
The under-13s have won their competition this season, while the u15s lost in the final and u18s play in the 20/20 final next week.
The Bradshaw seconds are also well-placed in fourth and the club is just a point behind Westhoughton in the race for the Crumblehulme Cup.
“Good players from outside the club have also seen our success and want to come and play with us, with a lot of interest already in joining for next season.”
This season’s fight, of course, is not yet over, with the title, Crumblehulme Cup, Final Six Trophy and a Lancashire Knockout place still up for grabs.
“The top four teams are playing tomorrow so that could change things but clearly the title is Little Lever's to lose.
“We want to start winning things though and will be going all out to claim four victories and see what trophies are up for grabs at the end of the season.”