Extra motivation for promotion shoot-out
BEDFORD PARK have some special motivation when they head into their promotion shoot-out with Halsall West End second XI as the Southport & District Amateur Cricket League draws to a close on Saturday.
The teams are vying for second spot in Division Three, with hosts Bedford Park six points ahead.
And one of their players, Noel Warham, said they are drawing extra inspiration from a tragic loss.
“It’s been a difficult season, as we lost one of our players, Liam Boast, in very sad circumstances earlier in the season,” Warham said.
“I think if anything that has given us all extra motivation to achieve something special this season – for him.
“Halsall are a strong team who we know will give us a real challenge, but we are confident.
“We’ve had a brilliant season and it’s been a real team effort. The fact we are here at the last game of the season with it still in our own hands is testament to that.”
But Halsall skipper Tim Stevenson reckons his side have the bowling strength to win – while restricting their opponents to 13 points or less – and take second place.
“Our strength this season has been our bowling attack – Paul Moreton, John Graham and Tom Rothwell have provided regular strikes and have been ably backed up, with all the bowlers getting in amongst the wickets,” Stevenson said. “I’m confident we will be able to get the required victory; I have incredible faith in my team.
“But I also recognise the strength of our opposition and all I look forward to is a hard-fought and competitive match, played in the right spirit and without any rain.”
With the forecast best described as “iffy” and his side needing to chase the win, Stevenson is right to keep an eye on the sky. And he’s right to point to the strength of his bowlers – Moreton has 26 wickets at under 10 runs each this year, with Graham’s 22 and youngster Rothwell’s 15 holding up the other end.
But Bedford Park have a similarly formidable attack. No-one in the division has bowled more overs this year than skipper Chris Morrison’s 151, or taken more wickets than his 38 at a shade under 12 runs each – and his 7-15 against Norley Hall seconds in June remains the best bowling display in the whole League.
Warham was keen to praise the way Morrison leads by example, saying: “He has not only performed with bat and ball, he’s kept every player involved and developed such a supportive and close-knit group.
“The team are very lucky to have him.”
Morrison’s teammates Andrew Johnson, Timothy Coran and Simon Cragg have all taken more then 20 scalps each. While the bonus points structure might see both captains tempted to bat first, it could well be the bowlers that decide which team makes the step up to Division Two.
Saturday’s game starts at 1.30pm, on the back pitch at Southport Trinity’s ground on Roe Lane.