KEARSLEY skipper Cameron Murray says a fourth-place finish in the Premiership Division and a place in next season’s Lancashire Knockout would be just rewards for the team’s late-season form.

And after a shock win at champions-elect Walkden last weekend, Murray says the players go into their final league game at home to Lostock with spirits high.

The six-wicket triumph, and a recent victory over Farnworth Social Circle as well, has been a welcome upturn in fortunes for the Springfield Road outfit who will hope one more positive results will wrap up their campaign in style.

Murray said: “We played well last week, and to beat a team like Walkden on their home ground when they could win the league was great.

“We said to ourselves before the match, ‘We don’t want them to win it against us’.

“It gave us a little something extra to play for.

“It was a tricky wicket with a lot in it for the bowlers. It was popping around.

“So we always knew chasing 200 was going to be difficult.

“But I always felt a decent start and a couple of partnerships and we’d be right in the game.

“It’s been a hard season, so finishing well has been really pleasing.

“We’ve played three of the top four teams, bar Farnworth, in the last three rounds. Another win this weekend to finish fourth would be really satisfying.

“We should have beat Horwich, but that little bit of luck wasn’t on our side.

“We’re really happy with how we’re finishing.

“This weekend’s game is a big one.

“Lostock are in fourth, but we’ll be doing everything we can to make sure we finish fourth.

“It’s [LKO] very important. We like to travel around the different leagues and test ourselves.

“In the last couple of seasons, we’ve been knocked out in the first round, but we haven’t been far away.

“We prioritise that competition in the sense we try and get our strongest team out and try to compete. It is big thing for us.”

On current form, there is no reason why Kearsley cannot leapfrog their opponents, particularly if batsman Rick Hamblett can reproduce the form that saw him score 73 not out against Walkden and has him high up in the Premiership batting averages.

In July, against Bradshaw, Hamblett also hit a season’s best 113 but Murray has also praised his side’s bowling attack who he says have outshine the batsmen on the whole.

Murray added: “The innings were very different.

“He was chanceless at Bradshaw up until he got to his hundred.

“This one, he just muscled them. He hit seven sixes and was a totally different player.

“I think he’s just matured a bit as a batsman and knows his game now.

“It’s nice to have him in the side.

“Our bowlers have done exceptionally well this year as well, and have kept us in games.

“It’s more our batsmen who need to take more responsibility and help our bowlers out.

“That’s probably our weakest link at the moment, our batting.

“Like I said, it’s just down to application – myself included.

“We haven’t been good enough, and it’s cost us this season.”

While Kearsley and Lostock slug it out for fourth, Murray’s men have kept alive the top-flight title chase for one final weekend by inflicting a first defeat of the campaign on Walkden.

It still leaves them in pole position but Murray says second-placed Farnworth should not extinguish all hope just yet if they can win their derby against Social Circle tomorrow.

Walkden visit bottom-placed Adlington which may look a foregone conclusion on paper.

However, Murray said: “Walkden have got one hand on it, but it’s not over – Farnworth have a sniff at it.

“For Walkden, going to Adlington is not an easy game. They can turn up on the day and go through a team.

“But if they win it, they’ll have deserved it.

“They’ve been the most consistent through the season, and that’s what you need to win trophies.”

Weekend fixtures


Bolton League

Premier Division: Adlington v Walkden, Bradshaw v Little Lever, Farnworth Social Circle v Farnworth, Horwich RMI v Westhoughton, Kearsley v Lostock.

Association Division: Atherton v Heaton, Blackrod v Darcy Lever, Daisy Hill v Astley Bridge, Eagley v Tonge, Golborne v Little Hulton.


Premier Division: Egerton v Denton St Lawrence.

Division 1B: Astley and Tyldesley v Whalley Range, Dukinfield v Edgworth.