BOLTON ASSOCIATION: Title win would be special for Nuttall
IT will be a poignant occasion for Atherton’s Ian Nuttall if his side wins the Bolton Association tomorrow.
The Eckersley Fold Lane men will lift the title for only the third time in their 92 years in the league if they beat Standish at home.
And the day coincides with the second anniversary of the death of Nuttall’s father, Steve, who was a long-time treasurer at the club.
Nuttall Jnr is Atherton’s longest continually serving player, breaking into the first team the season after the last time they won the Association in 1990.
The present team have been virtually unstoppable all season but have lost two of their last three games.
“We’ve lost a bit of focus since winning the Cross Cup final,” said Nuttall.
“It’s up to people to put their hands up and show the right application batting-wise and win it.
“It will mean a lot to a lot of people at the club, those who put a lot of time and work in to put a game on so we can play.
“It will mean a lot to win the league for them.
“It will mean a lot to the players and to me personally because because it will be the anniversary of my dad’s death.”
Nuttall knows what it is like to win a title with Atherton – the Second XI trophy, also in 1990.
“This is my 26th or 27th year at Atherton, so it’s been a long time in coming, although I don’t want to pre-empt anything because it still needs winning.”
Nuttall was not the first of the current team to play for the club. That distinction belongs to Neil Bannister who also played elsewhere before returning.
Atherton are favourites to clinch the league tomorrow having won every game at home this season.
But they still have one game left to finally beat off the challenge of Flixton if things go wrong against Standish who are themselves eager to win to boost their hopes of a Lancashire Knockout place.
But the jitters which have set in of late mean they will not be counting their chickens.
Captain Paul Walsh said: “We’ve not been playing as well of late, I’ll be honest, but we have a lot of players who have not been in this position before.
“We’re all from Atherton and it means so much to us to win it for Atherton and for the people who have done so much for the club over the years that we’ve started to feel the pressure.
“We were distraught on Sunday when we lost to Elton. Then when we found out two hours later that Flixton had lost it felt like a victory.
“The pressure has been telling on a few players, but that defeat for Flixton took the pressure off.
“It would be good to win it at home and good to do it with a win rather than scraping home by four points.”
Atherton’s annual family fun day takes place at their Higham Park ground on Sunday, starting at 2pm. All the usual attractions, including pottery painting, bouncy castle, a barbecue and donkey rides will be part of the occasion, organised to raise money for club funds Fixtures Tomorrow Atherton v Standish, Blackrod v Darcy Lever, Golborne v Elton, Flixton v Bury, Edgworth v Daisy Hill, Walshaw v Astley & Tyldesley, Little Hulton v Adlington.