Longridge CC skipper ready for key fortnight

Longridges Palace Shield title hopes will be put to the test over the next two weekends
Longridges Palace Shield title hopes will be put to the test over the next two weekends

Longridge CC captain Kyle Helm believes the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield title chase is now entering its decisive phase.

Defeat against Penwortham last weekend saw Longridge drop from first to third with six games remaining.

Garstang’s victory over fourth-placed Vernon Carus took them top with Fulwood and Broughton moving into second.

However, Saturday’s fixtures could change all that again with the top four playing each other.

First play second as Garstang entertain Fulwood and Broughton while Longridge travel to Vernons.

“It’s a big weekend given the results from last Saturday,” Helm said.

“In our eyes, we could do with a win for ourselves and Garstang beating Fulwood, so then it would be down to us to beat Garstang the week after.

“We can’t get ahead of ourselves though because Saturday is a massive game for both us and Vernons especially after they lost to Garstang.

“That was a shock because they were at full strength but they’re at home on Saturday and they’re quite strong when they’re at home.

“These next two weekends will give everyone a clearer idea of who is going to be up there at the end of the season.”

Longridge will be looking to bounce back after their 35-run loss against Penwortham.

Missing a handful of regular first XI performers, Helm’s players were shot out for 92 when chasing their opponents’ 127-8.

As Helm admitted, his side paid the price for failing to dismiss Martin Hewitt, who struck an unbeaten 66, as well as an poor batting display.

“He batted really well and got himself into a position where he could do his hitting in the last three overs,” Helm said of Hewitt.

“However, I’d have expected us to bat out our overs at least and, if we had, we’d have won that game.”