WESTHOUGHTON skipper Rob Houghton says the team will continue to battle on despite their struggles in the Premiership Division this season.

The St George’s Oval outfit are often tipped to challenge at the top end of the division but currently languish in seventh – a massive 39 points behind leaders and reigning champions Walkden.

But there have been mitigating circumstances which have played a part in hampering their cause.

Firstly, pro Jonathan Carter was called-up to the West Indies A team and as a reserve for their World Cup squad and so left the Howfeners just four games into his time there.

Then, Westhoughton lost both opening bowlers to injury with Kieran Edwards breaking four bones in his hand, shortly after recovering from an early-season calf problem, and then all-rounder Rob Brown dislocated a knee in a victory over Bradshaw in mid-June.

It has made for a difficult campaign as Houghton admits.

He told The Bolton News: “It has been tough for us, there’s no denying that.

“Jonathan was settling in after arriving late and then we lost him to a West Indies call-up which affected us.

“Because of the league rules, it also meant we were not allowed a pro in certain games after that.

“Then we lost both new-ball bowlers to bad injuries – Kieran with four broken bones in a hand and then Rob dislocating his knee against Bradshaw.

“I think if you throw those problems at any side, they would struggle.

“Fortunately, there’s a great spirit in our camp and everyone is fighting for each other and we will keep battling on despite everything until the end to finish as high as we can.”

Houghton’s man face another stern test tomorrow when title-chasing Farnworth are the visitors,

The Lavender Road men are the nearest challengers to Walkden, just four points adrift.

And the Howfeners skipper acknowledges his side will need to be at their best this weekend after losing the reverse fixture earlier in the campaign by 87 runs in a rain-affected clash.

They also lost last time out a fortnight ago against Lostock.

Houghton added: “Farnworth are a good side and we know that.

“They have two good spinners in Kamran Younas and Noman Ali who can cause any teams a problem.

“But we know we are more than capable as a team of getting a result and that’s what we will be aiming to do.”

Elsewhere in the Premiership tomorrow, table-topping Walkden host Farnworth Social Circle, while third-placed Horwich RMI face the first of two home games in as many days.

First up is Bradshaw in the league before a huge home tie against Darwen in the semi-final of the Lancashire Knockout 24 hours later.

Their involvement in that forced them to withdraw from the T20 area finals day at Ormskirk, which had been scheduled last weekend but switched to this after the heavy rain seven days ago.

It means defeated Bolton League finalists, Lostock, will now take Horwich’s place and face Garstang on Sunday in the area semi-final.

Commenting on the decision to withdraw on Twitter last Sunday, the club said: “After a full day of phone calls etc, we have tonight withdrawn from the regional stages of the T20. Thanks to everyone who has tried to help us today.

“Our champions will now fully focus on Sundays LKO vs Darwen.”

Horwich cricket manager David White added: “All options explored today, even to a point of trying to rearrange BCL matches.

“Only option left would be to play T20 finals over three nights but apparently this isn’t possible with travel after work and would involve strict start times and good light to get games finished.”

Weekend fixtures


Bolton League

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

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


Premier Division: Egerton V Flixton.

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


Lancs Knockout semi-final: Horwich RMI v Darwen (1pm).

T20 area finals day (at Ormskirk CC)

Semi-finals: Garstang v Lostock (10am), Ormskirk v Burnley (1pm).

Final at 4.30pm.