Captain David Ormerod admitted his Accrington side had a huge slice of luck when they won their second successive Lancashire League title last season.
But, in this campaign, Lady Luck has not only turned her back on the Thorneyholme Road side but walked right out the door as they are struggling for runs and wins.
Ormerod’s side have lost their last three games and have conjured up small scores - 39, then 96 and last week only 48 as Haslingden inflicted the biggest defeat in Lancashire League history on them on Sunday - 292 runs.
It hurt even more in that Accrington were up for the Haslingden game, having taken advantage of the Bentgate’s side spectacular collapse last season to secure the league title.
But this season they trail the top spot by a whopping 60 points and, although Ormerod is remaining philosophical , he accepts a hat-trick of titles is now out of the question for Accrington.
"We had large spoonfuls of luck last season so now we have just got to take it on the chin," said the skipper.
"But everything that could have gone against us this season, seems to have. This weekend, we were really up for the game but we played Haslingden with Graham Knowles coming back from injury and he hit 162 against us - full credit to him but we seem to have come up against circumstances like this all season.
"When we played Burnley, Jonathan Clare was having his first game as an amateur and he got 60-odd against us and, when we faced Enfield, Adam Bracewell was away and Gary Brent stood in and he got 60 runs and took wickets.
"Then, when we played Colne, Anwar Ali returned after being away and he bowled us all out and, against East Lancs, they had Brendan Nash in his first game back and he hit runs and took wickets.
"We can safely say it is not our season! But, to be honest, in cricket you can have one or two batsmen not doing well and the same for bowlers but we have everyone out of form at the moment. We have totally combusted although it hasn’t really knocked our belief, we remain positive that it will click - hopefully soon!"
Accrington’s cause hasn’t been helped by the loss of pro Will Driver for the last few weeks. The English paid man was the first pro to get to 500 runs this season.
"He has asthma but he got a chest infection and it got to his lungs," said Ormerod. "He was on really strong anti-biotics and only 65 per cent of his respiratory system was working. It meant obviously he couldn’t run about and cricket isn’t worth the chance. He is at the doctors again this week and it is just a case of waiting and seeing."
While Driver is touch and go to play, wicket keeper Matt Wilson is going above and beyond the call of duty to make sure he can play in Sunday’s local derby with Rishton.
He gets married on the Saturday but will still play on Sunday. "Married on Saturday, plays Sunday and divorced by Monday but that’s the kind of commitment we want!" joked Ormerod.
Accrington won’t want to dwell on their clash with title hopefuls Haslingden. Knowles was returning from a month out with a finger injury and smashed 17 boundaries and three sixes from just 138 balls. It was obviously not a good day for the bowlers with sub pro Michael Price being hit for 98 off 13 overs. Nobody got into double figures during Accrington’s reply and they desperately need one of their batsmen to secure a big hit.
ENFIELD lost to in-form Ramsbottom with Rams pro Francois De Plessis (51), Alex Bell (51) and captain Jon Fielding (64) helping them amass a formidable 244, despite five wickets from Liam Jackson.
Pro Adam Bracewell, returning after injury and who is also the new skipper at Dill Hall Lane after brother David stepped down a couple of weeks ago, top scored with 63 but no one could stay with him for that long in a 49-run loss.
And du Plessis, now having left Acrebottom as his short-term contract has run out, took six wickets meaning the crowd had to dip their hands in their pockets six times for collections.
RISHTON also faced one of the title chasers in East Lancs, who currently hold pole position in the race for the crown, and suffered a 43-run loss.
Paid man Andrea Agathagelou - who they hope to sign up for next season, especially if he wins a new Lancashire contract - and Shaun Hutchinson got three wickets each as East Lancs made 210.
¿A fourth wicket partnership between Andy Bartley (23) and Tiarnan Hamill (63) did threaten to take the game to the wire but once they went, no one could stay at the crease for too long.
For Church an eight-wicket victory with ten overs to spare sounded straightforward enough against Burnley.
But Ryan North’s magnificent diving catch to dismiss Burnley’s pro Farhan Behardian was as crucial as any five-for or 50 in removing a player who has been in imperious form of late and could well have changed the course of this game.
North’s tumbling catch came when Behardian and Qasim Ali had added 46 as the South African lofted Philip Gilrane into the outfield and, in the next over, Mahboob Hussain had Ali caught behind for a deserved second wicket in a splendid long opening spell
Church wicketkeeper Sam Tucker completed stumping number 101 in the league for Church during the innings and the only frustration for Church was that they missed out on bonus points as the last pair held out for 154-9.
It all looked like being over soon as a flurry from Church openers Ammer Mirza and Craig Fergusson, who survived a sharp slip chance early on, put the 50 up in six overs but the Burnley bowlers applied the brakes for a while.
Ammer went for 32 after an opening stand of 74 but pro Luke Woodcock and Fergusson took the score to 138 before Woodcock holed out, allowing Nasser Hussain to accompany Fergusson (an unbeaten 68 with nine boundaries) home to an eight-wicket win.