Wonderful Westgate in pole position for title
The juggernaut that is Westgate Cricket Club looks to be powering its way to a second successive Westmorland Cricket League (WCL) title.
Six 15 point wins from nine completed games is testament to their attacking flair which, coupled with their steely resolve, makes for a formidable outfit.
From within a settled team several are having tremendous seasons – Dylan Conroy, Zac Buchanan, Andrew Hill, Andy Nisbet and in particular Garry Tattersall.
Those in the wings are also chipping in when necessary. They are the team to beat.
Who can stop a juggernaut in top gear? Arnside CC look the best bet but with their strength in depth Shireshead CC will never say never.
With 307-8 against Windermere, Arnside set a new WCL Division One record. In that total Alex Davidson hit 118 and Adam Richardson a ton.
A dry second half of the season could see those two create individual records.
Adrian Lee is also doing it with the bat. If Adam Cowperthwaite and Lee Illingworth click as a pair with the ball Arnside could be the stinger that stops the juggernaut.
That air of invincibility that hung over Shireshead in their back-to-back championship years of 2014-15 has partly evaporated, largely because their big name players are not proving as consistent. But with a full side on show they can take any opposition to the cleaners.
The bowling of Dave Jack and James Rafferty will be key if a challenge is to be mounted.
Warton CC are the only unbeaten Division One side yet they look the least threatening of the premier clubs to Westgate. With a threadbare squad the long haul of a 22-match season is likely to expose their vulnerability.
As with Shireshead, their starred players are not headlining with the exception of hit-the-deck bowler Graham Crowther. What must be particularly galling for the Hyning club is looking around to see how well former colleagues are doing for other teams.
The rest of the division are also-rans, though Heysham are at last showing glimpses of how well they can do and Burneside have confined the last two seasons to memory.
They were two of the worst in their illustrious history. By rights they should now be a Division Two side.
Bowlers Chris Dixon, Ben Leacock, Steve Airey and Lee Tattersall will keep them afloat this year.
Heysham are much reliant on the all round skills of Sam Calverley and Graham Cassidy and the batting of Andrew Hill and Andy Powers.
Two perennial factors have long curtailed Silverdale CC ambitions. They are a frail, if not to say sheepish batting side and availability is a second-half-of-season problem.
An easy start to the campaign, however, saw three straight wins take off any later pressure.
Veteran bowler Paul Moffatt, with his metronomic accuracy, never ceases to amaze.
In their 150th year the Carnforth club is resurgent but still some way from mounting a championship challenge. Their biggest feather so far was the defeat of Westgate thanks to 5-37 from Darren Nelson, a warhorse of their recent Northern League days.
The nine wicket win over Shires, thanks to Dan Dixon’s 64no, came a close second. WCL champions by 2020 is not out of Carnforth’s reach.
Windermere will be somewhat disappointed with their effort to date and Milnthorpe could well be suffering Sir Alex Ferguson’s ‘squeaky bum time’.
With players like the Park brothers, Nick Lewthwaite, Sam Fletcher and Jim Crawford in the side, better was expected of the Lakes side.
Milnthorpe are not the only club in the WCL to be in a parlous state. Demotion to Division Two could prove disastrous though unlikely.
The unreplenished loss of players is at the heart of their angst. Mike Wills and James Parkinson with bat and ball respectively should keep them above water but only because last season’s two promotees are finding First Division life tortuous.
At Sedgwick the season began on a romantic note with 57 from George Willacy, a veteran of the Sedgwick glory days of 1996-2000. They have no wins to their name.
Bolton-le-Sands have one win versus Sedgwick but a moment of pure joy for all to savour.
In that one win Adam Dyson took 10-9 to set a new WCL Division One record since full records began in 1975.