Next Sunday sees Arnside host the t20 Division 1 Hackney & Leigh Semi-finals. You have to go back to 1983 to find the last time Arnside won the Division 1 Cup. They qualified for the semis with Adam Richardson and James Crawford in good form in the group games. Captain Richard Hodgson will be relying on them and the bowling of Adam Cowperthwaite in their game against Shireshead. Hodgson says that For Shireshead “Jacques is a quality bat and can score quickly. Gould is an out and out stroke maker...a slogger really and Jack can hit a hard ball. With the ball again Jack has the pace, but it’s Shireshead’s slow bowlers that we are wary of.” Hodgson laughed and said “if it was a competition for the biggest six we’d be the winner.” 


Shireshead won all 4 qualifying games but were run close by Heysham and Milnthorpe and captain Dave Jack [pictured] recognises the contributions played by Phil Oliver, Mike Mead, Joe Cunliffe, Joe Oliver and Irfan Qayyum in those victories. Dave hopes to be able to select from a full squad and treat Tom Jacques is not needed in his day job at Royal Lytham. “Obviously we will be trying to get Richardson quickly and James Rafferty is always a threat with bat and ball. Arnside are a good side and we’ll have to play well to beat them.”


Carnforth play Westgate in the second semi-final. Carnforth won all four group games with fifties for Chris Parry, Ryan Nelson, Adam Hornby and Brad Hoyle. When they were struggling in their first game against Silverdale, Jack Thompson dug them out of a hole and together with Ryan Kitchenhas been the outstanding bowler in the competition. Captain Hoyle, who led Carnforth to a treble last season and he is hoping that Darren Nelson and Ryan Nelson will have recovered fully for Sunday. Carnforth are without Kitchen so Archie Rich comes into the side. Hoyle identities Dylan Conroy as Westgate’s main threat with the bat and says that they will need to manage the leg-spin threat of Zak Buchanan.


Westgate go into the semi-final with last week’s league win over Carnforth in their memory banks. They lost their first game to Burneside, but with captain Andy Hill leading the batting with support from Conroy and Sam Frith, who both scored fifties they won the return match and beat Trimpell twice to qualify on Net Run Rate. Zak Buchanan, Dylan Conroy and Sam Conroy were the highest wicket takers. Hill expects full squad availability except for the injured Andy Nisbet. Hill identified Parry and Ryan and Darren Nelson as the key players for Carnforth, together with their all rounder Tom Parkinson.


The day starts at 11 am with Arnside v Shireshead. Carnforth v Westgate is at 2.30 pm and the usual big crowd can expect two high scoring games. Last year incredibly, Tom Jacques (Shireshead) and Darren Nightingale (Burneside) scored hundreds in the semifinals, but both were on the losing side.