Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Cup holders Carnforth Cricket Club gearing up for semi-final

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Carnforth Cricket Club 1st team

Carnforth Cricket Club have an exciting weekend ahead of them as their first team prepares to continue the defence of the Meyler Cup.

They play Thornton Cleveleys in the semi final of the Meyler Cup this weekend, starting at 1.30pm at Illawalla on Sunday (July 14).

Captain Shane Dixon says the side don’t feel any added pressure despite being the current holders.

“It’s just another game for us and we just need to perform,” he said.

“They’ve got a very good batsman in Jacob Sackfield so if we can try and put a pressure on their batsmen, we’re hopeful we can get a result.

“You can’t put pressure on yourself in these games but getting to the final would be nice as it’s at at our ground this year.”

The club beat Vernon Carus to win it for the first time in their history last August.

The Lodge Quarry-based side are currently third in the Palace Shield Premier Division, sitting just seven points behind leaders Barrow and two points behind best of the rest Great Eccleston.

It’s the club’s second season in the Premier Division following back-to-back promotions from the Westmorland Cricket League Division One and the Palace Shield Division 1A in 2021 and 2022 respectively.

They are also progressing well in the midweek T20 games, reaching the knockout stages of that competition.

The firsts had a change of captain for this season.

Shane Dixon stepped up to the plate in February after Brad Hoyle left the role, although he remains a big part of the team.

Ryan Nelson, meanwhile, is vice-captain.

Dixon, who has been at Carnforth since 2020 and has past playing experience with Milnthorpe and Netherfield, spoke to Beyond Radio about the season so far and how much enjoying his captaincy.

“It’s been enjoyable, we’ve had a decent start to the season,” he said.

“The atmosphere in the squad is really good and we’ve gained a few new lads. 

“Freddie Whatmuff came over from Torrisholme this year and has been absolutely superb with the ball and offered us something different to what we’ve had in previous seasons.

“Noor Elahi joined from Lancaster, I think he scored 220 for them in one game last year! He’s had a couple of good knocks and he’s been another good addition to the team.

“We’ve got our overseas amateur from last season Tom [Le Lievre] back as Jackson Mills had to go back home, we’ve been lucky to get him back.

“He’s great to have around the club and he gives the players vital information on the field as well.”

Reflecting on the league campaign so far, Dixon said: “We’ve had at least one or two players absent every week but from next week we should be back to around 13 or 14 names on the squad sheet to choose from, which is difficult but it’s good for competition.

“We’ve got some junior players coming through now which helps us with selections too and hopefully they continue to develop as the season goes on. The likes of Zack Dodds are doing so well for us as a club.

“Our next game is against local rivals Lancaster [this Saturday at Lune Road], it’s always a good battle.

“We comprehensively beat them earlier this season and that was when Jackson [Mills] got around 160.

“Down at their place, it’s always a different type of game, we’ll look to do what we do best.

“Our fielding has been great in recent weeks and that’s always pleasing.”

Highlights for them this season include beating second place Great Eccleston and a 82-run win over Eccleston, their most recent league result.

Carnforth were set to play Kirkham & Wesham on Tuesday (July 9) in the first round of the Palace Shield T20 Division One Playoffs after topping their group, but it got postponed due to heavy rain.

“We would’ve played five games in 12 days, or something like that, at one point and in terms of injuries and moving from one game to the next we’re pretty good.”

The seconds are currently fifth in Westmorland Cricket League Division One, and the thirds are second in Division Three.

“Adam Hornby is running the second team and they want to finish as high as they can this year and try to progress from there, they have a few younger kids coming through,” said Dixon.

“Thorny [James Thornton] is doing a great job with the thirds and that’s good to see, hopefully they carry on their form.”

The club have also recently established a fourth team which includes a few female players.

They were set to play Appleby Cricket Club last weekend but it was called off due to rain.

Carnforth also have two women’s teams and have a thriving and successful juniors section, made up of teams from under 9s all the way up to under 16s.

That interest from the next generation, who Dixon says are “well supported” by many senior players, is in no small part down to the All Stars and Dynamos scheme set up by the Lancashire Cricket Foundation.

The scheme is set up to encourage young, budding cricketers to play and learn more about the sport at their local grounds.

“We’re a real community club,” said Dixon.

“If you have got plenty of teams coming out midweek it just shows that everyone within the club are building a really strong set up for the next 10 to 12 years.”

The club’s new two bay net system, used by players for training, was opened by England international cricketer Kate Cross in May this year after a combination of generous donations from locals as well as great work and dedication by Peter Robinson, which started last year, made it all possible.

The net system cost £60,000 and Dixon has said it’s been “brilliant” for the players.

“Peter has done a fabulous job to get the funding that he has and allow us to have that facility.”

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