ACCRINGTON don't mind taking records off local rivals Rishton - but they don't want this one.
At the start of the 2003 season, Rishton chalked up a record 14 straight league defeats and had one carried over from the season before to make it 15 and take a 97-year-old record off Bacup.
They halted their run by beating Accrington and they will be happy to now lose their lone claim to the unwanted record to their near neighbours as, if Accrington suffer defeat at Todmorden on Sunday, they will equal the unhappy milestone.
"It is definitely a record we want to avoid," said chairman Rod Kenyon, after his side made it 14 without a win with defeat to Rawtenstall on Sunday. "It is just so frustrating at the moment. We just can't put our finger on what is going wrong.
"Everyone seems to have hit a bad run of form at the same time and that includes the professional, Tama Canning.
"Individually there have been some decent performances. Players are pitching in - Tariq Hussain took eight wickets one week, Zed (Zahir Afzal) got 51 this week and Stuart Crabtree got 60-odd the other week. Put them together and you have got a win but we are not putting it together and that is the problem. It is so frustrating and there is no one more down than Tama.
"We can't put our finger on one individual thing. It is not the lack of training or net practice as we are picking up the bonus points but it is just that elusive win."
New Zealander Canning has struggled with the bat this season making 311 at the half way stage of the season - a long way from the 1000 runs most pro's hope for. And he has just two half tons to his name this summer with 27, 31 and 19 in his previous three games.
And it got even worse for the 28-year-old against Rawtenstall on Sunday as he made just 11. Fellow opener Afzal's 51, though, gave Accrington some hope at 70-1 before a collapse saw them make just 133. Rawtenstall only lost one wicket in reply as it was a comfortable 12 points for them.
But the chairman is hoping his side can turn it round this weekend - although he says they won't let their nerves get the better of them in the crunch clash. "There is no extra pressure - just the same pressure as the first game of the season.
"It is so hard as we had two good wins in the Inter-League Trophy against two sides near the top of the Central Lancashire League and that is what is so baffling now.
"But we have just got to get it right. Last weekend, the biggest cheer was for the Red Arrows who flew over the ground to Blackpool which shows how bad it was. If I had been a football manager, I would have been sacked six weeks ago!
"But you have got to keep going and hope that Sunday is our day."
Rishton, meanwhile, will be relieved to lose that record as they are currently one of the in-form sides in the league.
"It is a record we don't mind getting rid of but, to be fair to Accrington, they played quite well when we played them earlier in the season and they don't really deserve it," said Rishton skipper Scott Greaves, whose side are on the up.
After the agony of losing their Worsley Cup semi-final clash when Todmorden's Jon Henderson hit the six they needed off the final Kumar Dharmasena ball, Rishton bounced back fantastically on Sunday beating title favourites Haslingden.
"I was physically sick on the pitch after the Todmorden game," said the captain. "It will take a lifetime to get over that.
"If I was a betting man, I would have lost my house as I would have backed our pro. But credit to Henderson as he did well to hit the six. It was so gutting though."
Although the Rishton players were still upset about the loss, their victory over Haslingden went some way to easing the pain.
Dharmasena made 53 - with seven fours - and former Aussie Test star Peter Sleep, after being dropped in single figures, made 87 while the others chipped in and Greaves claimed three wickets to see off the Bentgate side.
"I don't think I have ever beaten Haslingden as captain or a player so to get 10 points off them was great, especially as we were the underdogs," said Greaves.
And it has inspired hopes of a top six finish for Rishton.
"We have got confidence now," said the captain. "No matter what, I am proud of what we have achieved this season. We should finish higher than we have in recent years and we reached the semi-finals of the Worsley Cup.
"The pro and Peter Sleep have done well for us but it is not just about those two. They have used their experience to help the likes of Shaun Wyse, Sam Hacking and Richard Rostron. We are playing as a team and now have confidence as a team.
"Now the aim is for the top six. Church are just above us and that is the next target. Hopefully we can keep picking up 10 and 12 points."
And Greaves will be aiming to do just that against Bacup on Sunday although they are without Sleep who is on Crusaders duty.
Meanwhile, there was a real local battle at Blackburn Road as Church took on Enfield last Sunday. Phil Sykes' side must have thought they were in the driving seat as Enfield made just 145 with pro Alviro Petersen trying to keep in as long as possible by making 61 off 84 balls. He was caught by Philip Gilrane off the bowling of Nick Westwell as he went for some late big hits in front of a large crowd.
However Church's joy soon turned to despair as opener Sykes (one) and pro Ruven Peiris (two) gave away their wickets cheaply.
Big hitter Mark Aspin was also soon back in the pavillion on just five as the middle order were left to struggle on.
At 49-5 with 23 overs gone, it looked all over for Church until Sam Holt (49) and Gilrane (29) managed to give Enfield a late scare.
But Neil Holmes, captain David Bracewell and Petersen saw off the lower order with Church 20 runs short.
They will be expecting a better batting show on Sunday when they travel to title chasing Colne while Enfield are at home to Nelson.