EAST Lancs have been dubbed the Lancashire League's answer to Dad's Army' after storming to the top of the table.

But captain Mark Bolton has told his troops: Don't panic!

The 2003 champions have emerged as the league's early pacesetters thanks to four wins from their first five matches under the leadership of their new skipper.

And it's the old guard at Alexandra Meadows who are doing most of the damage, with fortysomethings Phil Mooney (44), David Pearson (42) and Darryl Redhead (40) all playing a pivotal part in the club's resurgence.

Tempted out of retirement on the eve of the new season, Mooney turned back time with a vintage spell of bowling in last week's 51-run victory over Bacup, claiming 4 for 12 as the visitors were skittled out for a paltry 109.

On top of that, veteran openers Redhead and Pearson - who boast five decades of Lancashire League experience between them - have also made telling contributions with the bat during the opening weeks of the campaign.

And the considerable experience of fellow stalwarts Naz Iqbal (38) and Andy Clague (39) has similarly been a key ingredient in the side's success so far.

Captain Bolton said: "I suppose we have got a bit of a Dad's Army thing going on here.

"I spoke to the older lads at the beginning of the season and said Do you want to play social cricket this year? Or do you want to try and help push us further up the table?' "I told them if we are going to have any kind of success this season then I need you to show how good they are, and I think they've since proved that they still have a hunger to do well at this level."

The question now is Do East Lancs' ageing army have the stamina to go the full distance?' "I'm sure there will be a few aching limbs as the season goes on but we are well covered in that department because one of the lads, Daryl Redhead, owns a beauty and massage parlour," quipped Bolton, whose side begin their assault on the Worsley Cup with a home tie against Enfield tomorrow.

Cup holders Nelson begin the defence of the trophy at home to Church and Mike Bradley is expecting a tough test.

He said: "We've already beaten them once this season but we know we'll have to play well to beat them."

Rawtenstall skipper Andrew Payne is reading nothing in to last week's victory over Colne as the two sides prepare to meet in the first round of the Worsley Cup.

He said: "We have won our last two matches and we want to take that momentum in to tomorrow's game."

Colne manager Gary Hunt said: "Rawtenstall are a good side and they have a tight little ground. We threw away a good position last week so we have to make sure we don't do it again."