OSWALDTWISTLE Immanuel began the season with high expectations - but they have already been struck by an early blow.
New professional Andy Kerr came with a good batting CV having helped his old club Greenmount to silverware.
But, two games into the season, he has suffered a dislocated finger and missed last week’s loss and won’t be fit for this weekend.
"It has been disappointing," said captain Gerard Metcalf, with Immanuel having one win and two defeats in their three games so far.
"You don’t expect it to happen but it is one of those things. He did it in our second game against Ribblesdale Wanderers in his first spell of bowling so he has only played one and a half games for us. He hasn’t even had the chance to bowl properly.
"He is positive though and has still been around the club at training and offering encouragement.
"He hoped to be back this week but we will have to leave it another week."
It means they have to try and get another paid man in and are really hoping for a batting pro. Last weekend, they had to call upon sub pro I Jawad but he didn’t really fit their bill.
"We needed someone in at short notice and he did okay but he is an off-spinner and what we need is a batting pro," continued the skipper.
"We have a couple of off-spinners at the club and it leaves us lob-sided. We have enough bowlers but it is the batting which is the problem."
Jawad did take four wickets against early pacesetters Great Harwood with youngster Andrew Metcalf taking five.
But they fell short in the batting ranks with only teenager Daniel Metcalf making any impression with his 31 as they fell 72 runs short of their 156 target.
Harwood batsman Russell Whalley got off the mark for the season with 39 while Cliffe Park pro Syed Shahabuddin got 36. Shahabuddin
"It was the same story as last season," continued the captain. "We bowled and fielded reasonably well but we could not apply that to the batting side.
"Saying that, you have to give credit to Great Harwood as we came up against a good side.
"They batted well and probably got 20-odd too many and then they bowled well and made it difficult for us."
Brothers Andrew and Daniel have both done well so far with 15-year-old Daniel having trials for Lancashire this week at St Annes. He has been involved with the county side since he was 11.
And it has been a tricky start for Immanuel as they have come up against Harwood and Cherry Tree - both unbeaten so far - with their win over Wanderers sandwiched in between.
"We have had a difficult start against teams who expect to be up there. But I think it will be an open league," added the Immanuel captain.
"What we want to do is gel and get a settled side together and start getting a few results - and hopefully have our pro back fit and able to play on for the rest of the season."
Harwood face bottom club Earby this weekend looking for their fourth successive win while Oswaldtwistle travel to Padiham.
Meanwhile title hopefuls Baxenden suffered their second loss of the season to Clitheroe. Dave Parkinson again hit a big score with 88 of their 190, following up a ton from the opening day of the campaign.
But they struggled to dismiss Clitheroe pro Paul Turner whose 119 proved vital. Parkinson eventually got him out and some quick fielding took Bash close but they lost by three wickets.
They will be hoping to bounce back when they take on Ribblesdale Wanderers this weekend.