Longridge captain rallies the troops for ‘must win’ derby

Longridge and Garstang go head to head on Saturday
Longridge and Garstang go head to head on Saturday

Longridge skipper Kyle Helm admits Saturday’s home derby against Garstang is do or die for their Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division title hopes (1.30pm).

Helm’s players go into the game on the back of a tie and two consecutive defeats in their last three outings.

That run has seen them fall to fourth place in the table, 18 points behind Garstang who lead the standings with five matches remaining.

“It’s a massive game anyway but it’s a must win match for us if we want to get in the top two at least,” Helm said.

“There are definitely four winnable games left after this one but it’s just the small hurdle of Garstang first – and, given the form they are in, they will take some knocking down.

“With us being at home, I’d like to think we can turn them over but it’s not a game that you’d like to get beaten in at the best of times, whether it’s a friendly or whether there is something else on the line.”

While consecutive defeats at this stage of the season have derailed Longridge’s hopes of lifting the title, a sudden batting slump has not done them any favours either.

Last Saturday’s loss against Vernon Carus was the second straight game in which they scored fewer than 100 runs, following on from their previous defeat to Penwortham.

“We had played so well for 15 games and then the Penwortham match took a lot out of us,” Helm said.

“We lost the toss on Saturday and probably would have batted first but we bowled really tightly, probably the tightest we’ve done all year.

“The problem was they had wickets in hand and scored 180, probably 20 over par.

“We were still confident of chasing that but we got behind the run rate and then started losing wickets.

“We needed a run a ball for the last 15 overs and lost wickets chasing that; 84 all out looks a bit worse than it was as we were going for the win.”