GUY ROBERTS hopes he will be celebrating another Liverpool Competition title with Lytham tomorrow – one he believes would more than match the club’s championship-winning feat of two years ago.
After nine years as a Lytham first-teamer, the 25-year-old batsman knows better than to take anything for granted.
But even he accepts it would take “something very special” for the club’s 70-point lead in the ECB Premier League to be overhauled.
Only Crosby club Northern, defeated by seven wickets at Lytham last Saturday, can overtake them in theory.
And they can only do so if they win their final three matches, picking up maximum bonus points in the process, and Lytham lose all theirs.
“Even then we’d have to pick up next to no bonus points from the three games,” said Roberts, who can be excused for being quietly confident given that Lytham have been beaten only once in the league all season.
But the loyal clubman is nonetheless determined to cross the finishing line in style at home to Hightown tomorrow.
Roberts told The Gazette: “Considering what the weather has been like, we could clinch the title with an abandonment, but that isn’t what we want. We want to do it with a good performance and a good result at home, so we can have a proper celebration at the end.”
He believes the class of 2012 compares favourably with the champions of two seasons ago.
“The senior players are all a couple of years more experienced, and we’ve done it without Marcus Sharp or Michael Rigby in our attack.
“I know we’ve had Lancashire’s Oliver Newby helping us out in a few games, but the younger players have really stepped up, like Ben Saunders and Danny Edwards, while Faz Ughradar has shown what a fine all-rounder he is.
“But Ben has been outstanding, one of the top wicket-takers in the league (with 39).”
Besides losing two strike bowlers, the club also needed to bed in a new professional in South African George Linde, though that didn’t slow the team’s momentum either.
Roberts added: “I think it’s a big help George had played in this country before.
“He knows the conditions and always seems to know what to do.”
Roberts has a couple of personal targets for the season: first to knock off the 55 runs he needs to reach the 500 mark for a fourth successive season, then to press on for that elusive century.
Guy is yet to convert any of this season’s six 50s into a ton – his best score an unbeaten 90 against tomorrow’s opponents at Hightown in June.
First and foremost, though, he sees batting as a team effort: “We don’t have any batsmen in the league’s top 10, but our top order have all scored 450-500, which means everyone has contributed.”
Next season will be Roberts’ 10th at the club, and although he isn’t holding out much hope for a benefit year, he’d be delighted to still be part of a Lytham side as good as this one.
Neighbours St Annes were celebrating the Northern Premier League title this time last year, and although their defence has never really got off the ground, the Vernon Road club will help determine who succeeds them.
Second-placed Fleetwood are tomorrow’s derby visitors, needing victory to keep the pressure on leaders Barrow, who face a tricky test at Netherfield.
After a blank Bank Holiday weekend, Fleetwood will be pleased to find themselves only 12 points off the pace, but they will be anxious for a maximum haul against a St Annes side showing some belated form.
Fleetwood will also be determined not to be distracted by Sunday’s rearranged Readers Cup final at Kendal.
Blackpool aim to prevent a mid-table season fizzling out and they head to Morecambe.