Enfield’s terrific start to the Lancashire League season continued on Sunday as they left Haslingden with a 55-run victory to move up to third place – and captain Adam Bracewell believes his side’s bowling has been crucial to their early success.
“I think our bowling has been superb so far this year,” he said. “We have tended to win games when we have limited teams to around 100 runs.
“Our batting still has room for improvement but we have started the season well and we will look to keep that run going for as long as we possibly can.”
Having lost the toss, Enfield were forced to bat first and they fought hard to post a score of 186-9 from their 50 overs. South African professional Werner Coetsee top-scored with 57 and David Bracewell added 30.
Defending an average total, Enfield bowled superbly to skittle out the home side for just 131. Hassan Fazal was the pick of the bowlers, returning figures of 5-38. Coetsee also took 4-19.
Enfield host strugglers Todmorden on Sunday, hoping to claw back some of the eight points by which they trail early leaders Rawtenstall.
Meanwhile, Rishton have struggled to get going so far this campaign and they crashed to their third defeat in four as they were beaten by nine wickets at Blackburn Road. Captain Shaun Hutchinson was frustrated with his side’s batting display.
He said: “We needed to dig in deep on a difficult pitch and just hang around for a while but we didn’t. If you only post 70 runs then obviously it becomes incredibly difficult for your bowlers to drag you back into it.”
Ramsbottom won a crucial toss and put the home side in to bat.
On a difficult batting pitch, Rishton capitulated and were bowled out for 70 in just 35.1 overs.
Only one player, Luke McVarish, reached double figures – and even he only scored 10 – with the 20 scored by the extras column comfortably the highest contributor to the scoreboard.
In reply, Ramsbottom strolled to victory inside 18 overs, losing just one wicket in the process.
Rishton lie second-bottom after four matches and they face a difficult trip to fourth-placed East Lancs at the weekend, with Hutchinson demanding a response from his players.
“There is a long way to go in the season but I told the players after the last game that we need to win now,” he said. “It’s pointless starting your season six or seven games in, we need to start salvaging something from it now.”
Elsewhere, defending champions Accrington moved up to second with a four-wicket win at home to Colne.
Having lost the toss, they bowled Colne out for just 140. Bryn Hargreaves took an incredible four wickets for just three runs, and Simon Hanson returned figures of 3-32.
The home side then comfortably scored 143-6 inside 44 overs to claim another win. Pro Ockert Erasmus scored an unbeaten 57, with Sam Excell adding 26.
Accrington head to rivals Church next, who will be smarting after handing Nelson their first victory of the season as they lost by four wickets at Seedhill.
Church won the toss and chose to bat, a decision that proved costly. They were bowled out for 114 in 33.4 overs, with only Lloyd Aspin really getting into his stride as he scored 64.
In reply Nelson reached their target for the loss of six wickets, with Aspin again performing well, taking 3-32. The result leaves Church in eighth on 26 points.
Fixtures for Sunday, May 11: Enfield v Todmorden, East Lancashire v Rishton, Church v Accrington.
Accrington: 1ST XI v Church (A), Sunday, 1pm start: Stuart Crabtree (c), Simon Hanson, Graeme Sneddon, Sam Excell, Jake Clarke, Matt Wilson, Ramiz Hussain, Jimmy Hayhurst, Bryn Hargreaves, Jacob Johnson, Ockert Erasmus (pro). Meet Church 11.45
Enfield: 1ST XI v Todmorden (H), Sunday, 1pm start: A Bracewell, D Bracewell, J Wrigley, K Demaine, H Fazal, B Dowling, L Bedford, S O’Loughlin, G Jones, T Hamill, W Coetsee (pro). Meet 11.45.