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Church begin search for new professional
CHURCH have started to draw up a list of possible professionals for next season after deciding not to retain Saeed Anwar for a third term.
The Pakistani star, who helped Rishton to the Foster’s Lancashire League title in 2007, has performed well at West End outfit as they reached back-to-back Worsley Cup finals as well as this year’s Moorhouse’s Twenty20 final.
Church lost all three of those games but Anwar was so close to steering his men over the line in last month’s showpiece as he played the almost perfect innings only to be finally bowled for 70 with the silverware tantalisingly close.
“It’s early days yet and we are just trying to get a list together,” said Church bowler and club secretary Andrew Bentley.
“We would like to thank Saeed for the significant contribution he has made, both on and off the field, during his two years and we wish him and his family well in the future.”
Last year, Anwar passed 1,000 runs and finished with 87 wickets and so far this year has more than 600 runs and 71 wickets.
He will look to add to that tally tomorrow as his side entertain local rivals Rishton on derby day.
Church are in fourth place with three games to play and are still in the mix, 13 points behind the top two of Lowerhouse and Enfield.
But they need to win their last three matches and will face a tough test against Jimmy Bibby’s men tomorrow with Rishton raising their game for the big occasion this year.
Church are without Levi Wolfenden and he is replaced by Mark Gilrane, while Toq Hussain is replaced by Joel Gaskill.
Enfield have borrowed Darwen’s professional Shaun De Kock for their derby with Accrington – and the South African has big shoes to fill as he replaces his fellow countryman Werner Coetsee, who has returned home for domestic pre-season.
Coetsee’s 721 runs and 81 wickets have been key to Enfield’s rise up the table and they go into the weekend as joint leaders.
However, by the time they step out tomorrow they could be 12 points behind as Lowerhouse play their game in hand today against Bacup before their battle with Burnley tomorrow.
For the derby Charlie Cottam’s men can call on Jonathan Finch and he is added to the 11 on duty today.
Jonathan Fielding will have to go some to become the first amateur in the history of the league to claim 100 wickets in three successive seasons.
He has three games in order to get the 21 victims he needs – but will give it his best shot starting with the game with Bacup, who have St Annes’ Sri Lankan Dinuka Hettiarachchi standing in as substitute professional.
Sub pros are also the order of the day at The Horsfield as Colne host their big rivals Nelson.
League positions and form always go out of the window on Pendle derby day and Lancaster's Zimbabwean Timecyn Maruma stands in for Nelson, while Colne turn to Leyland ace Brett Pelser.
Baxenden’s Kamran Younas fills in for Haslingden against rock-bottom Rawtenstall in another derby that can spring a surprise while Todmorden, in third place ahead of the weekend, are on the road to East Lancashire.