HAVING been skittled out for miserly totals in the opening two rounds, Blackrod know the only way is up in this season’s Association Division.

The Vicarage Road side were bowled out for 65 on the opening weekend at Atherton and then slumped to 44 last weekend against Heaton in less than 18 overs.

It is an alarming lack of runs – the fewest so far in the second tier – but skipper Joey Pryle is confident things will turn around if the team gets back to basics ahead of tonight’s opening T20 tie, against Heaton again, and tomorrow’s league game at Daisy Hill.

He acknowledges the Heaton display was poor but cited the fact Blackrod were facing a first-class bowler in Derbyshire’s Tony Palladino in week one – the Atherton sub pro returning figures of 8-15.

Nevertheless, he knows they have to do a lot better with the bat.

Pryle told The Bolton News: “I honestly can’t put my finger on why we have been so poor with the bat.

“It is not one individual, it is collectively, and we have spoken about it as a group.

“We can’t blame bad pitches because they are fine so early in the season. It is just poor shot selection and bad choices.

“It’s a real conundrum because we have tried different line-ups.

“At Atherton we were up against a county pro who was skilful and a different calibre but last week we were poor, there’s no denying it.

“We face Heaton again on the T20 this weekend, then we have to look to get going in the league at Daisy Hill.”

Blackrod go into the weekend having bounced back in the first Hamer Cup outing with a 62-run win against Adlington after making 112 then bowling Adlington out for just 50 – Matthew Readey taking 7-31.

That set up a second-round home clash with Golborne next month.

“To be fair, we did well in the cup on Sunday and that has boosted confidence,” Pryle said. “We know we are decent defending a total if we get one as we have a good bowling attack and that was how it proved on Sunday.”

Pryle remains upbeat and hopes new professional, Pramod Maduwantha, will have an impact as well.

He took 3-19 in the Hamer Cup win on Sunday and will be eyeing more wickets this weekend.

After missing the first game, the 21-year-old is now settling in quickly at Blackrod and Pryle added: “He is a young lad but he is here now and is settling in nicely.

“He has done well in Sri Lanka and we have high hopes he will do well for us as well.”