JUST when Rishton thought they had solved their professional crisis, they have been hit with another one.
The Blackburn Road side were one of the lucky clubs to have paid man Aaron Heal early on, when the Australian arrived in late April.
He wasn’t held up by the new visa restrictions which caused turmoil at other clubs because of a dual passport.
Western Australia Heal got off to a steady start and was just settling into life at Blackburn Road when he suffered a knee injury against Church on June 20 and was forced to return home.
With professionals being prize assets in the current climate, Rishton felt they had landed on their feet when they snapped up fellow Australian Mark Cosgrove in July until the end of the season.
But, just as he was getting into the swing of things after two games, he has had to return to South Australia and now it is a pro hunt again for this weekend’s double header - although they have got Jonathan Clare for tomorrow’s clash.
"It is such a shame as Mark played so well at the weekend," said Rishton chairman Alan Craven.
"He hit a quick 46 and took three wickets for not many runs and he looked like he could be the man to push us up the table," said the chairman, with Rishton having a torrid time since they won the league in 2007.
They finished bottom last season and are closer to the wrong end of the table in this campaign.
"We did think Mark would be our answer but he returned to his county Glamorgan after last week’s clash to play for their seconds then played in a charity match midweek and was due to return to Rishton for this weekend.
"Then we got a call saying he had a been called back to his state side for their pre-season and there is nothing we can do about it.
"It’s in his contract so now we will have to join the scrap to get a professional for the weekend games."
It was a blow for Rishton who were looking to move up towards mid-table after only their fifth win of the season on Sunday when they saw off Worsley Cup finalists Ramsbottom in a reduced 37-over clash. The Blackburn Road side had opener Jimmy Bibby (62) and pro Cosgrove (46) to thank as they set 158-5.
Ramsbottom opener Alex Bell’s 61 looked like it could rock Rishton.
But Cosgrove took three wickets including the prize one of Acre Bottom paid man Brenton Parchment as Ramsbottom faced a race against time but lost by 11 runs to give Rishton a much-needed win.
Captained by Craig Smith for the weekend, Rishton are up against league leaders Haslingden and then title chasing Accrington.
But defending champions ACCRINGTON are now 12 points adrift of current pacesetters Haslingden.
Only a quick-fire 41 from Stuart Crabtree and 20 from Graham Lloyd helped the score along in their 50-over match against Colne which survived the morning downpour.
Accrington set Colne only 120 and, although the Horsfield side did lose seven wickets, the Accrington bowlers could not get them all out.
With a double header against bottom club Rawtenstall - who have prolific bowler Keith Roscoe back at the club after he "retired" last season - and Rishton, it is an important weekend for David Ormerod’s side and their title hopes.
ENFIELD couldn’t help Accrington as they slipped to a five wicket loss against leaders Haslingden in their 40-over match.
The Dill Hall Lane side put a decent score on the board thanks to Craig Fergusson (45) and 10,000 run star Andy Barker (46) in their 186-5.
But Bentgate batsman Graham Knowles climbed to the top of the league’s batting charts as his unbeaten 88 meant he passed 600 runs for the season.
Enfield face Church tomorrow followed by East Lancs on Sunday as they look to move into the top half of the table.
CHURCH will be looking to put a big score on after a disappointing couple of weeks with the bat.
Pro Luke Woodcock is still waiting for his big hit and his 10 was not enough as Church chased just 97.
Church bowler Andy Bentley played a big part in the low target as he is having an outstanding season with the ball.
He took 7-48 which took him to 42 wickets for the season - the joint second leading wicket taker in the league.
And Bentley top scored with the bat with 25 but the rest fell away as Church fell an agonising 12 runs short.
It’s Enfield and Ramsbottom for Church this weekend.