UNABLE to pit their wits against the league leaders, Bolton were left frustrated at being beaten by the weather last weekend.

Bolton had broken a four-game losing streak in the North Lancs/Cumbria division with a comprehensive Lancashire Plate Cup win at Heaton Moor.

And after running in eight tries to book a place in the final, the Cherry and Whites were champing at the bit to take on table-topping Keswick in last Saturday’s scheduled return to league action.

But with the wintry weather beginning to bite, no play was possible on the Avenue Street pitch, leaving head coach Dave Crouch and his men kicking their heels.

“We had no choice but to call the game off, at around 10 o’clock on Saturday morning,” Crouch told The Bolton News.

“The pitch was fine on Friday and then the hail came down, right across the pitch, and it had frosted over, there was no way we could play the game.

“It’s a shame, we were really looking forward to the match but we got nowhere near being able to play.

“We wanted to start building some momentum again after the Plate win against Heaton Moor, and we’d also have loved to have taken Keswick on and tested ourselves against the league leaders.

“We’ll come up against them later in the season though. There are five free Saturdays set aside for postponements and our cup run has taken up two of them, so the re-arranged Keswick match will be on February 10.”

Saturday’s postponement means Keswick were overtaken at the summit by Aspatria, who were 63-12 winners at home to Eccles.

The Cherry and Whites have slipped to ninth after that four-match losing run.

They can potentially climb above Fleetwood this weekend with victory at Wigton.

Although they had a chance to put their feet up last Saturday, Crouch has this week been putting his players through their paces on the training ground – those he has available, anyway.

“We’ve had a couple of sessions and training has gone really well,” added the head coach.

“We’ve been working on our game plan and if we put it into practice well, like we did against Heaton Moor, we should be okay. Wigton are going well, they’ve got a big pack so we need to be smarter. We need to play a fast, open game and offload quickly so we can try to catch them out.

“We’ll be going for it, I’m hopeful the game will go ahead and we can make inroads into the gap between us and the teams above us in the table.

We’re optimistic going into this weekend, even though we have a few absences. We’re especially short of players in the backs, we’ve got Will Bate, Owen McKenna, Jonny Stanfield and Danny Joseph all missing.

“Fortunately Alex Waddicar can play, we weren’t expecting him to be available, and also Kieran Shacklock, who’s coming back from university to play, so those are big boosts for us.

“It can be difficult when you have a number of players missing at the same time but it means there is an opportunity for other players to come in and show what they can do.”