BOLTON LEAGUE: Walkden out to spoil Little Lever's title party
LITTLE Lever go into tomorrow’s match at Walkden knowing victory will seal their first title since 1995.
But while their opponents’ captain, Dave Smith, believes they would be worthy champions, he has promised that his Walkden side will be going all out to spoil their party.
“No Walkden teamI have ever been involved in would ever roll over for anybody,” said the 43 year-old, who has won six titles with his boyhood club, including four in seven years between 2001-07.
A knee injury will keep Smith out of the side tomorrow and for the rest of the season, with pro Usman Tariq taking over as captain.
In his absence, Walkden have very little left to play for other than pride, as they sit comfortably in mid-table.
But their last three matches will have a massive bearing on the final standings at the top of the Bolton League, with matches at Bradshaw on Sunday and at home to Westhoughton next week, who are both looking to finish in the top five and a place in next year’s Lancashire Knockout.
Before that though, there is the small matter of Little Lever, who moved 18 points clear at the top of the table after their win over Bradshaw last weekend.
The leaders can only be usurped by Farnworth if they lose all their remaining matches and the reigning champions win theirs and pick up at least one bonus point.
“No matter what we do against them, it looks like Little Lever will win it now and I wish them well,” said Smith.
“Out of all the teams in the division over the past 15 years or so, I think they have gone about their cricket in the right way.
“They have concentrated on bringing young players through rather than trying to buy the title.
“I think it is fair to say they will not be the most talented team ever to win the title, but they have some good players, like Jonny Kerrigan, and a strong team spirit.
“The first title I ever won with Walkden in 1989 was done with probably one of the worst teams, but we had a great spirit, which I would say won us maybe six or seven games.
“The problem Little Lever will have is repeating their success. Team spirit can only take you so far and they will be the ones to beat next year.”
Smith also highlighted the impact of Little Lever’s pro, Kamran Younis, who started the season off in fine form, scoring a stunning 211 against Farnworth in the opening match.
Amazingly, he has been out for a duck in his last four innings and has not made a score of any note since his unbeaten 138 in 58 balls against Tonge on July 6.
“That’s just the way Kamran plays,” said Smith.
“He is a free-spirit and will always give you a chance, but if he gets in he scores so quickly that he can take a game away from you in a flash.”