Sport

Dan Salpietro’s only looking up with Rishton

Rishton may be struggling at the lower end of the Lancashire League table but professional Dan Salpietro is determined they won’t stay there.
Church’s Worsley Cup clash with Haslingden was called off for a second time on Saturday and they’ll try again on Sunday when, originally, the semi-finals we meant to be played. If the quarter-finals go ahead this weekend, the semi-finals will be played next Saturday. If they are not played on Sunday, the second-round games will be played a week on Saturday with the semi-finals taking place on August 4
Rishton may be struggling at the lower end of the Lancashire League table but professional Dan Salpietro is determined they won’t stay there.

The young pro, at just 24, admits he is a winner and, while the Blackburn Road side are going through something of a transitional period, he is working hard to instil a mentality that will take them out of the bottom half.

The Australian is certainly doing his bit with 293 runs so far – and a high of 111 not out – and he has also taken 33 wickets to put him among the top paid men in the league.

Now he wants himself and his Rishton team-mates to turn what has been a number of close defeats into wins and start looking up.

“Bacup last weekend was what our season has been like so far,” said Salpietro, who is in his first season in the Lancashire League after playing in Hull, Harrogate and at Atherton in the past.

“We have put ourselves in winning postitions and then lost at the end and it’s really disappointing.

“My own performances have been okay but I would rather take three wickets and score 30 runs and win than take five wickets and score a half-century and lose.

“We feel we are getting there and we have talked a lot about it  after games, where we are going wrong and we are working on  it in training.

“There are only nine games gone and if we can turn a couple of these close results into wins then we can quickly move up the table and that’s what we have got to believe in.

“I must admit though, with the weather, these are the worst conditions I have seen and this is my fifth season in  the north of England!”

Only nine games have been played with three of the fixed dates already used up and Rishton are currently in 10th place in a tightly grouped league.

After they won the title in 2007, with Church’s pro Saeed Anwar as their paid man, it has been a battle for the Blackburn Road club.

They came second-bottom last year and Salpeitro has come in after the club lost a number of players in the winter, without adding to their squad. “It is a rebuilding phase here but I believe we still have the players to win games,” said the paid man, who plays for Victoria and Adelaide Strikers back home.

“We have some middle-aged boys and then I am one of the young ones too and there are inexperienced players too.

“The thing is with us is that some teams can win playing at 50 per cent, we have to have full concentration as a team for 100 per cent, the full 50 overs, to win games.

“But there are many areas we can improve on, me included, especially in the field and we are working on this and that could add up to extra points for us and prove important.

“Every game is a learning curve. I could have done something to help us win against Bacup last weekend but it didn’t happen, I have learnt from it,  we move on and play them again this weekend and hopefully we can get our revenge.”

Salpietro admits, despite the weather, he is enjoying the Lancashire League and always wanted to play here.

“I have played in other leagues but felt this was a step up to test myself as a professional.

“You only have to walk around Rishton and see the pictures on the walls of Viv Richards, Allan Donald and Jason Gillespie and it’s a great honour to be the professional here.

“No one likes to be in the bottom four but we know, with three or four wins, we could be in the middle of the table and I will be disappointed if we finish lower than mid-table.”