JIMMY Walsh-Hill wants his Darcy Lever players to believe in their own ability to clinch promotion from the Association.

Captain Walsh-Hill is hoping back-to-back rain offs at Tonge and, on Saturday, at home to Astley Bridge does not halt the momentum created by three straight wins to begin the league campaign early last month.

Darcy sit third behind Heaton and leaders Atherton with three wins and only one defeat from six - some turnaround having finished bottom of the pile last season.

“The aim was to be much improved this season. We couldn’t really get any worse,” said the skipper.

“The big emphasis was on a bit more commitment, making sure we get our strongest team out every week. That was a difficulty last year.

“I’d say we’ve had our full strength team out as much already this season as we did all of last. We would have been at full strength this last fortnight, which has been the big frustration.

“When we get to July and holiday season, I’m a bit concerned that we might struggle for numbers a bit.

“But it’s not just holidays, it’s a bit of a commitment thing, which has been a long-standing issue.

“Now that we’ve had a good start, I just hope people see we could achieve something special and not arrange to do other things like go to weddings or the races.”

Prior to the last two washouts, Darcy were beaten by Little Hulton.

“After that loss, we could have done with getting playing again and getting wins on the board,” said top order batsman Walsh-Hill.

“Early on in the season, everyone is packed together in the table. So this rain has been frustrating because when you’re playing and winning, that’s when you can really leave people behind.”

After only four league wins all last season, Darcy have strengthened their bowling by bringing in Ayaz Hanif from Little Lever and batting all-rounder Muhammad Imran Sadiq, in his first year as a professional.

“That was one of the big things we needed, to get a pro in alongside some of our good amateurs and senior players,” said Walsh-Hill.

“In the past, we’ve named Dominic Gavin as pro, who is a very good amateur. We wanted someone who nobody really knew.

“He's from Blackburn and has played in the Northern League for St Annes and in the Palace Shield for Great Eccleston. He was recommended by Richard Dearden.”

One of the three wins so far came in particularly impressive fashion last month when they chased a revised target of 273 to beat Golborne, who had racked up 301-8.

“I’m not sure I’ve ever been involved in a side who has chased 300 before in any form of cricket,” added the skipper.

“After that game, I actually said, ‘Hey up lads, we might actually do something this year’.

“But for the pro and Shaukat Patel (new ball seamer), who is our other paid player, we’re all club lads and decent cricketers. There’s no superstars, but we can all win a game.

“It’s just that sometimes in the past, the belief hasn’t been there. That’s starting to come.”