ACCRINGTON will be looking to maintain their recent league form as they visit Rawtenstall this Sunday.
Not only did they win both Lancashire League games last week but they took maximum points to climb into sixth place.
Last year’s champions are 25 points adrift of current leaders Lowerhouse at the halfway point in the season.
But captain Stuart Crabtree feels Accy can close that gap now their personnel problems have eased.
“We’re almost at full strength now so it’d be nice to build on last week and put a run together,” he said.
“Top five is our aim but we’ll take it week by week and see what happens towards the back end of the year.”
David Ormerod, who is expected to be out for the season with a shoulder problem, is now their only regular absentee, although Graham Lloyd is unavailable against eighth-placed Rawtenstall.
CHURCH have a tough trip to second-placed Ramsbottom while ENFIELD, joint-third with Church, host East Lancashire. Third-bottom RISHTON are at home to Haslingden.
It is all to play for in the 20/20 competition with Accrington, Church, Enfield and East Lancashire locked in a four-way tie in Group A.
ENFIELD gave themselves a chance of reaching the semi-finals with a nine-wicket win over the group’s bottom side RISHTON last Friday.
Rain saw the game reduced to 16 overs per side at Dill Hall Lane, before Enfield put Rishton in to bat.
Abdul Bisoodwall opened the batting with Rishton professional Matt Hulett and fell for 1, caught by Enfield pro Werner Coetsee off the bowling of Hassan Fazal.
Hulett (66) and Mo Patel (35) put on an 87-run partnership for the second wicket before Chris Bowness dismissed them both. Hulett top scored for Rishton, his 38-ball knock including eight fours and three sixes.
Fazal was the pick of the bowlers, taking three late wickets to finish with 4-23 and restrict Rishton to 138-6.
Liam Bedford and captain Adam Bracewell put on 64 for Enfield’s first wicket before Rishton seamer Paul Clifford bowled Bracewell for 25.
Coetsee and Bedford then put on 75 for the second wicket to complete Enfield’s chase with two overs to spare. Opener Bedford finished not out, his 53 coming off 41 balls, while Coetsee hit an unbeaten 43 from 23 balls.
Enfield can still reach the last four after CHURCH lost by 13 runs at home to East Lancashire in Friday’s other group game.
In a match reduced to 12 overs, East Lancs made 100-4 after winning the toss and choosing to bat, Jack Gaskill taking 2-18.
And although opener Levi Wolfenden hit 34, Church lost their last five wickets for just 10 runs as they tried unsuccessfully to keep up with the run rate. They ultimately finished on 87-7.
ENFIELD visit East Lancs in the final round of group fixtures tonight while ACCRINGTON host CHURCH. All are level on four points but Church have a slight advantage as they have the better net run rate. Only the group winners are guaranteed to go through.
1ST XI v Rawtenstall (A, Sun): S Crabtree (c), S Hanson, G Sneddon, M Wilson, T Hussain, S Excell, J Clarke, M Ali, B Hargreaves, R Hussain, O Erasmus (pro). Meet Rawtenstall 12.
1ST XI v Ramsbottom (A, Sun): C, Fergusson, L Wolfenden, L Aspin, H Aspin, A Bentley, JW Gaskill, S Tucker, B Abbas, K Basharat, A Greenwood, U Tariq.
1ST XI v East Lancs (H, Sun): A Bracewell, L Jackson, J Wrigley, C Maudsley, H Fazal, L Bedford, S O’Loughlin, G Jones, B Dowling, T Hamil, W Coetsee (pro). Meet 11.50am.
1st XI v Haslingden (H, Sun): S Hutchinson, G Wyse, P Clifford, A Sartaj, A Bisoodwall, C Lambert, S Wyse, I Mohammed, M Patel, W Roberts, M Hulett (pro). Meet 11.45.