Division Two leaders Colne need to have their wits about them in derby against Nelson

Colne CC professional James Price
Colne CC professional James Price

Colne captain Matthew Walker knows that the form book will be thrown out of the window when they take on rivals Nelson in tomorrow’s derby.

A colossal 66 point chasm stands between the two clubs ahead of the clash at The Horsfield, but Walker acknowledges that the visitors will be desperate to put a spanner in the works.

The Division Two leaders are on course for the title and promotion back to the top flight while Nelson, who missed the cut by four points last term, seem destined to finish up in the bottom three.

“I’m sure Nelson will hold their hands up and say that their season has been disappointing and they’ve fallen short of their usual standards,” said Walker. “They’ll be gunning to throw us off our perch so they’ll be up for it.

“We want to continue the good run that we’ve been on and maintain the position that we’re in. They will want to put a dent in our title hopes, which adds a bit more interest to this derby.”

The table toppers prepared for battle with a slender victory against Rishton at Blackburn Road, a result which preserved their 22-point hold over Middleton at the summit.

Professional James Price was in red hot form yet again, hitting five fours and 10 sixes on his way to posting 128 from 139 deliveries.

Bradley Boddie took 5-21 off 13 overs for the hosts as Colne slipped to 32-6 and Mansoor Amjad added 3-17 to prevent any other batsman from reaching double figures as the visitors closed on 186.

Price, who has now scored 839 runs for the campaign, the best return in both divisions, then collected his 33rd wicket of the season in taking 3-27. John Lambert added 3-33 and Andy Hakin 2-36 as Rishton finished 10 runs short of their revised target.

“It’s another win, even though it didn’t pan out as we would have liked it to have done at the start,” Walker said.

“James Price put in another match-winning performance with the bat and posted a decent total in the first innings.

“He batted really well while a couple of others stuck in there and supported him. Halfway through the innings I didn’t feel our total was going to be competitive enough, but we still managed to get over the line.”

The club recently revealed that their South African paid man, the jewel in their crown, won’t be returning for a third season.

The news hit hard, but the focus remains on the here and now rather on the uncontrollables that lie ahead.

Walker said: “We put an offer out to him, which he reviewed and assessed. However, he’s decided that he’d ideally like to play for a club closer to home as he has a young family.

“It’s disappointing because we wanted to continue the good work that he’s put in and watch it grow. There’s still a lot of work to be done this term, though, and he’s assured us that he’ll be giving his all for the remainder of the season. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of clubs out there looking at him as an exciting prospect.

“We’ll just have to see what options are available to us further down the line.

“He’s been a fantastic servant to the club and his performance against Rishton epitomised the talent that he possesses.”