Leaders Lancaster have point to prove

Ben Simm. Picture: Tony North.
Ben Simm. Picture: Tony North.

Lancaster CC can be well satified with their efforts this summer so far, but skipper Ben Simm insists his men can’t afford to rest on their laurels.

The men from Lune Road sit pretty at the top of the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division after an unbeaten first half of the season.

They have won 10 out of 12 – the other two fixtures falling foul of the weather – their latest victory arriving at the weekend away at Great Eccleston.

Despite their dominance, Lancaster only find themselves 11 points clear of neighbours Morecambe, who are in second place.

Preston, who are just outside the promotion spots in third – are only 23 points off the top while the club’s opponents this weekend Croston can make in-roads on Lancaster’s lead with victory.

Simm admits it is surprising that his team are not further ahead at the top, but he has pointed to the league’s points system as the reason why they are still within touching distance.

“Definitely been a good start for us,” said Simm. “To have not lost a game over half-way through the season is an outstanding effort so far.

“We just want to continue that really if we can.

“Everyone has chipped-in at some point or other to help us over the line in games which is pleasing. It is quite difficult to get away at the top because of the way the league awards points.

“Even if you have won, there can be only a six or seven points difference between yourselves and the team you have beaten at the end of the day.

“The rain rules which gives you only two points when a game is rained off is really tough.

“If somebody else plays then there can be really big points difference – that’s why Morecambe are only 11 points behind us despite losing three games.”

Despite Lancaster perhaps falling foul of the points system this season, Simm does not necessarily think it’s a bad thing.

He added: “It’s not what we have been used to in the Northern League, but it does allow the league to remain quite close which is maybe not a bad thing.

“It kind of makes it so that you try to get a game on at all costs. So I would not say it was bad thing.

“It’s maybe not too good for us in our current situation because we could be further ahead but competitive wise it’s good for the league.”

Croston will be no easy task for Simm’s men this weekend, but the captain is hopeful of making home advantage count especially as he welcomes the return of middle order batsmen Nathan Whitehead and Laurie Atkinson.

“They are a good side Croston,” Simm said. “We have had some really good games against them since we have been in the Palace Shield.”