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We haven’t won anything yet: Aspin

MARK Aspin knows that anything can go wrong despite his side Church opening up an 18-point gap at the top of the Musbury Fabrics Lancashire League table.

RECORD BID... Mark Aspin in action this season.
RECORD BID... Mark Aspin in action this season.

MARK Aspin knows that anything can go wrong despite his side Church opening up an 18-point gap at the top of the Musbury Fabrics Lancashire League table.

The 41-year-old was captain when Church last hit the top of the table in June, 2000.

"Then our professional, Mike Watkinson, injured his finger and he couldn't bowl spin and it affected us big style," said the former skipper. "It changed our season and we dropped down the league."

No one at Blackburn Road is talking about winning their first title since 1962 despite Church occupying the top spot for the last three weeks.

The extended their lead with victory over Burnley in a rain-affected weekend as chasers Ramsbottom didn't play and have a game in hand.

And just 26 points separates the top five teams with eight games left to play.

In his 25-year senior cricket career, Aspin hasn't picked up a championship medal - but he is not tempting fate by believing he will get one this season.

"The nearest I have come to a league medal is finishing second when I was pro-ing at Read in 1992," said Aspin, who made his senior debut for Accrington in 1979.

"But that doesn't mean I will get one this season. It will be nice to add one to my collection but there is still a long way to go."

"We have a difficult run-in as we have still to play Haslingden, Bacup, Nelson and Lowerhouse - any of them could spoil it for us and anything can happen."

"We said at the start of the season we wanted to finish in the top half and win more games than we lose and we have won 12 now. Anything can happen though."

While Aspin doesn't want to say too much about their title hopes, he has set himself a goal of breaking the club's batting record.

Team-mate Alec Holt holds it with 781 runs set in 1995. Aspin, who has been at Church since 1996, has got 565 so far - thanks to 45, 46 and 40 in his last three games.

"I need one big total," said Aspin who needs 217 from the last eight matches. "That would take the pressure off as I don't want to get to the last game needing a tricky 10, 20 or 30."

"Alec has said if I take his record off him, he will walk onto the pitch and shake my hand."

Church face a tough game at the weekend, at home to last season's champions East Lancs. "We played them earlier in the season and they outplayed us with the bat and the ball," continued Aspin. "We usually have a very good game against them and I think over the years it has been 50-50 between us."

They go into it in good form having not lost a game since Ramsbottom on June 13, with their latest the victory over bottom club Burnley on Sunday.

Pro Ruven Peiris made 72 in their 163-8 - and the Sri Lankan has overtaken Acccrington's Tama Canning again as the leading run scorer in the league with 790.

And Peiris took 3-28 with the ball as Burnley were dismissed for 133.

Rishton got their game on - but might have wished they hadn't, losing to one of the title chasers Nelson in a 30-over match.

Rishton made 90 all out with top scorer Darren Eccles finishing with an unbeaten 34. Nelson rattled the total off with the loss of just one wicket with Paul Garaghty's 50 making him the leading amateur batsman with 591 runs. They face Burnley at home on Sunday with their sub pro, former Burnley paid man Dale Benkenstein.

Enfield's game at Ramsbottom and Accrington's home clash with Lowerhouse were called off because of the rain last weekend. The games will be replayed on Saturday 28 August.

On Sunday, Accrington travel to Bacup where Mark Aspin's friend Tama Canning could do Church a favour by defeating one of the other title hopefuls - and help to move Accrington towards mid-table. And Enfield face a tough game at home to Rawtenstall.


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