BUOYANT Mark Hadfield is hoping to put one over his old mates tomorrow as he bids to boost Cherry Tree’s prospects of finishing at the top of the Houldsworth Solicitors Ribblesdale League Section B – and wants to see his men show the same character that has led to two cup finals.
The 31-year-old Preston Old Road skipper is overseeing a rebuilding job at Cherry Tree after last year’s traumatic campaign which saw them finish in the Senior League relegation places.
They were only spared Division One cricket by a winter restructure to create Section A and Section B of the top flight but the signs are good this time around with a place in the Ramsbottom Cup final and a spot in this month’s Watson Ramsbottom Twenty20 finals day already secured.
However as he leads Cherry Tree to New Lane for a game against an Oswaldtwistle Immanuel side containing two former Preston Old Road captains Jon Baldwin and Andreas Sudnik, Hadfield is determined to keep his men focused on the main objective of winning Section B and claiming promotion to the top table.
“That’s the aim this season,” he said. “Obviously it’s great to be in the final of the Ramsbottom Cup and also in finals day but getting into Section A is what everyone at the club wants and things are going okay so far.”
Cherry are currently in second place in Section B behind leaders Earby with Salesbury also breathing down their necks and Hadfield knows his men need to be on their mettle up at New Lane as they aim to put one over Immanuel aces Jon Baldwin and Andreas Sudnik.
“It’s a tough game because Immanuel are a good side,” he said. “They had a great season last year and will be wanting to challenge this time around too.
“And it also makes it that little bit extra special when you are playing against two old boys.
“They will want to beat us as much as we want to beat them – but the season is not sorted out over one game, it’s how you perform from April to September that counts.”
Reigning champions and Section A leaders Clitheroe put their unbeaten league record on the line as they head to The Applegarth for their clash with Earby and Paul Gaskell will also be keeping an eye on proceedings at The Cliffe as third-placed Great Harwood entertain second-placed Whalley in what should be a cracking game.
And as impressive as Clitheroe have been they only have an eight-point lead and Gaskell is not getting carried away and wants to keep on winning rather than relying on results elsewhere.
“Harwood and Whalley are having great seasons and it’s a really big game between them tomorrow,” he said. “Neither of them are letting go but obviously they both can’t win.
“But we can’t worry about the others, we just have to carry on with what we are doing and look to do our own jobs.”
Settle are in fourth spot but some 30 points behind Clitheroe and they travel to Salesbury looking to keep in touch against a very dangerous Red Caps.
Read have stuttered into fifth place and have no game tomorrow meaning Baxenden can overtake them if they do the business against Brinscall at Back Lane.
Ribblesdale Wanderers look to turn their Ramsbottom Cup form into league points as they host Edenfield at Church Meadow, while Barnoldswick are desperate for a win when they travel to Padiham.
Luke Hodgson’s men have only won three times and are 11 points adrift of Wanderers and need to turn their fortunes around if they are to avoid a slip into Section B.
Another side needing points are Brooksbottom who have only one win so far and host Euxton, whose overseas man Preston White is starring with both bat and ball this term.
The Aussie has hit 371 runs and taken 29 wickets so far.