TONGE cricket manager Danny Delvard believes heightened expectations at Castle Hill ahead of 2019 have played a significant role in the first-team’s poor performance this summer.

Tonge sit bottom of the Association with just one win from 14 games, added to five abandonments – the latest on Saturday at Darcy Lever.

Last season, they missed out on promotion by only six points behind Adlington and were hoping for another push this year under new captain Alex Rodzoch, retired Delvard’s replacement.

This year started brightly with an opening-day win at Golborne, but things have gone downhill since.

Delvard, however, is refusing to panic. He has already reappointed Rodzoch as captain for the year 2020 and said: “We’ll go again.

“I truly believe it’s been the expectation we’ve placed upon ourselves after last season.

“But we won’t be the first team to do that, or the last.

“We retained the players we had from last year and added a couple.

“We had a blow at the start of the season in that our overseas amateur, Daniel Baker from Western Australia, had an accident before he was due to fly over, which has delayed him for 12 months.

“From there, it’s been a combination of things.

“The pro’s not played particularly well (Tilaksha Malshan with 257 runs and 32 wickets), the lads haven’t either. All in all, it’s been a tough season.”

Delvard continued “Alex (Rodzoch) has done alright.

“I think he’s found it harder than he thought the role would be.

“He also wanted to push for promotion, so there’s immediate expectation from himself as well. He’s also had to manage his own performances as well as being captain.

“We’re going to retain him as skipper. I don’t see any benefit in changing the captaincy just because we’ve had an indifferent time.

“More to the contrary. It will demonstrate to him we believe in him and will give him the chance to grow.”

Tonge’s batting has been a problem having been bowled out for less than 130 on seven occasions.

Delvard added: “Three or four years ago, the batting was Tonge’s Achilles heel. But we’ve worked on it, bringing a batting pro in and signing predominantly batsmen. It’s just been an imperfect storm of poor performances from the pro and others.

“The pro is coming to the end of his contract, and we’ll review that once the season’s passed.

“The games we’ve played, some have been close and others we’ve been buried in.

“The two that spring to mind in which we’ve been buried are Golborne and Blackrod, and their pros contributed significantly and punished us.

“They gave us a chance apiece, and we didn’t take the chance.

“When I look back at those games, I think, ‘If you take the pro out, what did their other players contribute?’

“And I think that’s symptomatic across a lot of teams.

“There’s not much difference between the teams, it’s more the pro and overseas amateurs. If they perform, you’re likely to be in a good place.”