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Enfield want a top five finish

ENFIELD are eyeing a top five spot despite a recent run of poor results.

ENFIELD are eyeing a top five spot despite a recent run of poor results.

The Dill Hall Lane side were topping the Lancashire League table at one point and were hoping to break their 26-year wait for the title.

However, after setting off well, they have suffered in recent weeks and slipped down towards the lower end of the table.

"I think we have lost seven out of our last eight games and, after a good start, we have suffered," admitted stand-in skipper Mas Ahmed, who has replaced the injured Gary Barker.

What didn't help was losing prolific run-scorer Martin van Jaarsveld for around six weeks as he linked up with the South African side. At first the sub pros came in and did well but then the downhill slide started.

"It didn't help chopping and changing all the time," admitted Ahmed. "We needed stability and it is good to have Martin back, he is a good pro."

Jaarsveld has continued to hit some big scores on his return - including 96 in Enfield's 111-run victory over Rawtenstall on Sunday.

"That win was a big boost," said the skipper. "It might restore some confidence now. The more you lose, the more worrying it gets but hopefully we are back on the right track now."

Enfield finished second last season and were aiming to go one step further and pick up the crown they last held in 1977.

"After finishing as runners-up - and we were 27 points clear of third place - we expected to be up there challenging this season. But if we finish in the top five we will still be pleased after what has happened this season," said Ahmed/
Colne are the visitors to Dill Hall Lane on Sunday and Ahmed knows they need to put on a good performance to avoid being dragged further down the table.

"We played them earlier this season and it could have gone either way. Hopefully it will be a win for us and we can start climbing back."

Enfield have now lost Keith Barker, who has signed for Blackburn Rovers and is concentrating on his football.

Meanwhile, the battle at the top of the table is hotting up with six points separating leaders Nelson from third-placed Haslingden with East Lancs in between.

"I think the league is the strongest it has been for the last four or five years," said Ahmed. "There are a lot of good sides and most can beat each other on their day. It will be hard to pick between the three of them who will win."

Elsewhere, Accrington bid to topple pacesetters Nelson at Seedhill on Sunday.

Pro Joe Scuderi has been in great form with the ball and bat and Accrington will be hoping their paid man Andre Seymore can turn on the style.

Rock-bottom Rishton are still in the hunt for a second win and are at home to mid-table Lowerhouse while Church, without professional Greg Mail, welcome Todmorden to Black-burn Road.


Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
Alex Bell
Bethany English
District reporter
Beth Abbit
Court reporter
Jon Macpherson
Kate Watkins
Reporter specialising in communities
Garth Dawson
Photographer and columnist