Arnside favourites as title race nears climax

Tom Jacques has been in fine form for Shireshead.
Tom Jacques has been in fine form for Shireshead.

As the Westmorland Cricket League (WCL) enters part two of the season the barbecues remain on hold and it’s fingers crossed for some summer sun.

Dismal weather over the past month does cricket no favours.

It can also determine the final outcome.

As it stands three teams are in contention for the victor ludorum with Arnside slight favourites.

Arnside are the ‘Wales’ of the WCL with a strong team ethic. Adam Richardson was on 92 against Ambleside when the declaration was called. Team first.

The returning Ian Bullough has also made an experiential difference.

Shireshead have had to cope with the loss of Peter Wilson and Phil Bovis, two of the finest ever WCL players, for medical reasons.

But they still have strength in depth. Tom Jacques is having a particularly fine season and in 15-year-old Joe Cunliffe a new star may be emerging. A hat-trick of championships is still very much on the cards.

Westgate look to be the only threat to Arnside and Shires.

They too have a group mentality and are adept on their home ground where scores are generally low. Andrew Hill’s team are sure to have a say.

At the other end of the table there are metaphorical storm clouds hanging over the Park Road ground in Milnthorpe.

The season began with no second team back-up and has got worse with just one win.

Confidence is now an issue but with 10 games remaining don’t write-off Steve Bowman’s men.

The three Lakes teams of Ambleside, Burneside and Windermere certainly cannot rest easily.

At least one will be demoted but with Nick Lewthwaite back from Kendal and Steve Carruthers and Sam Fletcher showing form Windermere should be okay.

Robert Davies and Chris Dixon will need to step-up at Burneside and much will depend on Oli Wileman at Ambleside.

The central pack of Silverdale, Carnforth, Heysham and Warton are separated by just nine points with Silverdale the happiest and Warton wondering where it’s all gone wrong.

Silverdale began with four losses but captain Phil Mason has turned it round.

Tom Barnfield and Graham Crowther could still lift the Wartonians.

The Heysham club rise and fall in equal measures but boast good players like Sam Calverley and Jamie Antcliffe.

At Carnforth the season is on course for mission accomplished.

Returning to the WCL for the first time since 1909 consolidation has been the name of the game under young first team captain Bradley Hoyle.