THE Association's seven run victory over the Northern League could be the springboard to give the side their second triumph in the MEN inter-league competition.

They now meet the Central Lancashire League at Atherton on August 11 and after their brilliant show at Fleetwood on Sunday, few would back against them lifting the trophy for the second time in four years.

"It was a tremendous game to play in," said batsman Tony Kelly, "and it just shows you should never give up until the game is won or lost."

The Association recovered from a sluggish start to post a total of 211 - a target they thought was perhaps 20 runs short.

Kelly shared a stand of 83 with man of the match Stuart Knowles, who went on to hit 77, but said it was a very difficult pitch to bat on.

"It was a much faster wicket than we are used to plus they had an all-pace attack and it took quite a time to adjust to it."

Even so that total must have looked a long way off for the Northern League after the Association suddenly took charge of the game to leave them at 43-4 with a tremendous display of bowling from Brett Collins.

"That was the best I have seen Brett bowl," said Kelly. "He troubled the batsmen from start to finish and after taking three early wickets, we brought him back when they looked to be taking control and he snapped up a vital wicket with his first delivery.

"It was just what we needed at the time and it lifted the whole side."

The most pleasing thing about the performance was how the younger players in the side adapted. "It was a big learning curve for them but the likes of Andy Griffiths, Anthony Harris and Nick Fawcett all put in a super show and they will all learn from it," added Kelly.

And was it the best ever performance by an Association side?

"It certainly was one of the most exciting I've played in," admitted Kelly, "but the game at Clifton three years ago when we overhauled a total of 280 to beat the Saddleworth League still takes some beating."