Ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion for pro­mo­tion shoot-out

Southport Visiter - - Advertiser Life - BY TOM EVANS

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.

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