ACCRINGTON opener Paul Carroll believes it will be worth going through the pain barrier all season if Accrington win the Lancashire League title.
The 46-year-old admits he suffers after every game but, with just four games to go of the season, he is determined to see the season through and steer the Thorneyholme Road side to their first league crown since 1975.
"I have two very bad knees, two very bad Achilles and I spend £60 a week on physios," said Carroll. "I am there every Friday and I don’t know how long my body will hold out."
This campaign has been a shock to the system as Carroll admitted he was in search of some "more gentler" cricket this summer after playing in the Central Lancashire League for Norden for 10 years.
But David Ormerod and Graham Lloyd persuaded him to come to Thorneyholme Road where he has been embroiled in the serious stuff with Accrington chasing the double.
He is certainly no stranger to success as he won the Central Lancashire League title and the Wood Cup with Norden but he admits he is pleasantly surprised by Accrington’s superb season.
"I was old and falling apart when I was asked to come to Accrington but I thought I would give it a go," said Carroll.
"I came here and knew we would be strong with David and Graham but I did not think we would do as well as we have.
"I have won the league and cup at Norden but this has meant a lot at Accrington. It means a great deal at 46 as you don’t know how many opportunities you will have to win things.
"But to be honest, while it is nice for me to win the league, I would be more happy for the guys who are the club - I am more pleased for them as I know they haven’t had the most pleasant years and it is tremendous for the people around the club."
And, despite the stresses and strains, he is enjoying the season.
"I like to be in competitive situations and, although we haven’t demolished many sides, we keep finding ways to win and we hope it continues for the final four games," he said.
"Everyone has played their part this season. It isn’t just about David Ormerod, Graham Lloyd or the pro Roy Silva because everyone has produced something at some stage which has helped us with the game.
"And we have all kept calm - it is only a game after all!
"Now we just have to see what we can do. We need to win three of our last four games and one of them is against Rawtenstall which will be like a cup final. We shall wait and see."
And he admits he may consider going through it all again next season. He said: "If they want me back and my body permits it then I will think about it!"
Accrington are up against main title contenders Rawtenstall a week tomorrow in the final weekend of the season after facing Rishton and Haslingden this weekend.
And they continued on a high with a double win last weekend. Ormerod’s side saw off East Lancs on Saturday - whose sub pro cried off at lunch time and left the scorer Ian Hammond as the stand-in paid man.
Zahir Afzal dominated the bowling with 6-15 as East Lancs were bowled out for just 59.
Accrington then overcame Ramsbottom on Sunday, winning at Acre Bottom for the first time in 12 years. Skipper Ormerod took five wickets and Roy Silva four as they limited Ramsbottom to just 79.
They did have a slight wobble with five wickets falling but Carroll’s 40 set them on their way to a maximum haul.
ENFIELD have moved into fourth spot in the league after their double win weekend.
They had a comfortable eight wicket victory over defending champions Rishton on Saturday with Gary Brent and Simon O’Loughlin both enjoying a five-wicket haul.
Keith Barker starred with the bat with 54 as he hit Saeed Anwar all over the park. Rishton’s top scorer was pro Anwar with 21.
Then Enfield saw off Bacup on Sunday with Brent this time turning on the style with the bat, notching 64 of their 187 and then claiming another five scalps to make 54 wickets in less than half a season.
Rishton put on an improved show on Sunday but still slid to defeat at second placed Rawtenstall who kept the pressure on at the top. Rawtenstall made 176 with Anwar taking six wickets and then he got 76 but they fell 27 runs short and stay second from bottom.
CHURCH also couldn’t chalk up a weekend win. They lost by 18 runs to Haslingden on Saturday after Haslingden had made 155-9 with Niel Bredenkamp and Phil Gilrane claiming three wickets each. Church were chasing a revised 111 but could not get there.
Then they slipped to a 28-run loss to Lowerhouse on Sunday. It could have been a lot worse as Church were 14-3 but pro Bredenkamp (50) and Adam Greenwood (39) steadied the ship before they fell short. They have droppe d into the bottom four.