Longridge CC urged to clinch Palace Shield title this weekend

Jon Millward and his Longridge CC team-mates are within touching distance of the Palace Shield title
Jon Millward and his Longridge CC team-mates are within touching distance of the Palace Shield title
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Ian Simpson has challenged his Longridge CC team-mates to seal the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield title at the first time of asking.

Longridge can seal top spot in Saturday’s penultimate game of the season at New Longton.

The table-toppers have 208 points, 18 more than second-placed Lancaster with Kendal another two points adrift in third place.

With 12 points for an outright win, it means Longridge only need five points to finish in the top two with seven giving them the title – and the option of moving into the Northern League for 2019.

That is a topic for another day as Longridge’s sights are set firmly on winning the Palace Shield for the first time in almost a decade-and-a-half.

“New Longton will be tough because they are a good side at home,” Simpson said.

“I have seen them turn teams over at home this season, so it is almost like a cup final for us.

“We’d rather do it this week and get it out of the way rather than leaving it until the final weekend because you never know what might happen with the weather.

“We have to do it the first chance we get; it’s only one more day, three-and-a-half hours’ hard work and we’re there.

“Any title win has been a long time coming because it’s 14 years since we last won the league.

“There are some players who have experienced that but it’s relatively new to the rest of them.”

Longridge’s points haul of 208 would be enough to have already claimed the title in six of the previous 11 seasons.

However, the summer’s warm weather means none of the Palace Shield’s teams have had a game rained off this season, hence the high points tallies.

Nevertheless, Simpson doesn’t feel that should detract from some of the cricket on display during 2018.

“There have been some poor performances but there has also been some really good cricket played this year,” he said.

“We’ve seen this season that one person can change a game and that there are some really good cricketers in the Palace Shield.

“There have been hundreds scored and plenty of wickets being taken so it has been a really good standard of cricket on display.”