KEARSLEY captain Cameron Murray has seen both his native Australia and current home country England qualify for the last four of the Cricket World Cup this week – and now he wants his team to reach their own semi-final date.

The Springfield Road side beat Farnworth to win the Hamer Cup a year ago and host their neighbours, Farnworth Social Circle, this weekend in the last eight as they bid to be the first team to retain the trophy in 20 years – Bradshaw the last to do so in 1998 and 1999.

And while he admits league form has been indifferent, Murray is determined to keep on track in the Hamer Cup.

He told The Bolton News: “It’s a massive weekend for us.

“It’s not been going our way in the league – we’ve not really seen form from the batsmen and not been doing our jobs.

“But it’s a funny game cricket where you can just hit form if you stick at it.

“As long as we keep working hard I am sure the league form will pick up.

“It is tough in the top division with so many good teams like we will see on Sunday in the cup against Social Circle.

“Both sides have big players and are in a very similar situation in the league so it should be a good game.”

One player who could swing things in Kearsley’s favour is professional Imran Khalid who took three wickets and top scored with 41 in last weekend’s league defeat to champions Walkden.

Murray admits Khalid has probably found it tougher than last season but is confident his talent will shine through again.

He added: “Yes, he has found it tougher and I think he would admit that.

“But for me, he is heading in the right direction and can turn it on when he wants.

“It could happen this weekend – hopefully it does and we can get through to the semi-finals of the cup.”

Murray is also honest in the assessment of his own form and said: “It could be miles better but my preparations remain the same each game and again I know I can improve again.”

In what is a huge summer for English with an Ashes series following on from the World Cup, Murray says the impact is being felt locally as well as nationally.

He said: “It is a huge summer for cricket in England and you sense that around the Bolton League as well.

“Younger kids are coming down to watch and have a try and that is great to see.

“I hope the interest continues when the World Cup is over and I think it probably will with the Ashes up next.

“It is an exciting time for cricket in England.”

Weekend fixtures


Bolton League T20

Quarter-finals: Horwich v Little Lever, Daisy Hill v Farnworth Social Circle, Lostock v Tonge, Farnworth v Bradshaw.


Bolton League

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

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


Premier Division: Woodbank v Egerton.

Division 1B: Astley and Tyldesley v Bury, Edgworth v Thornham.


Hamer Cup

Quarter-finals: Farnworth Social Circle v Kearsley, Blackrod v Bradshaw, Westhoughton v Farnworth, Atherton v Walkden.

Birtwistle Cup

Quarter-finals: Kearsley v Farnworth Social Circle, Horwich RMI v Astley Bridge, Farnworth v Westhoughton, Walkden v Eagley.