Nineteen straight defeats...but all not lost at Fylde CC
They may be the whipping boys of the Palace Shield premier division but for Fylde CC all is not lost.
Captain Anthony Ellison has presided over 19 straight defeats to leave Fylde marooned at the bottom, heading rapidly for the relegation trapdoor with just 22 points.
Following their latest defeat to leaders Fulwood and Broughton, the Poulton-based side have three more chances to record a win.
They lost a rain-affected 20-over match at Fulwood by 108 runs, having been dismissed for just 59.
Three teams finished below Fylde last year, so what had gone wrong in 2016? Losing most of your established first-team players doesn’t help.
The top six batsmen departed the Moorland Road club before a ball was bowled in April, including last season’s skipper Dave Crawforth and club stalwart Michael Watkinson.
All-rounder Joe McMillan left for Thornton Cleveleys, opening batter Paul Willis departed for Fleetwood, Steve Wright headed south to Standish, while Conor Jones and Joe Calvert have been largely unavailable.
The uphill climb has become steeper and steeper for the club since game one.
For Ellison, just 26 himself, bringing many second-team batsmen up to the premier division to tackle more precise bowlers every week has proved a step too far.
But Ellison is still enjoying the role. He said: “Being out of our depth, our confidence and team spirit have undoubtedly been the best in the league.
“Keeping morale and confidence high going into the concluding games of the season, and taking that into the next season, will be essential for progression with a young side. I am looking forward to rebuilding next season in the first division.”
Fylde have failed to score more than 100 in 13 of their 19 league games but Ellison says it is not complete gloom.
“There are lots of positives to carry into next season, with young players performing well,” he said. “This gives me confidence that fielding a younger side next season can help us fight for promotion.
“It has been a challenging first season as first-team captain but I have enjoyed it.”
He has plenty of young talent at his disposal thanks to the club’s thriving youth set-up. Some have been blooded this season, earlier than the club would have wished, but they have shown much promise alongside older heads like Danny Smith.
Smith has been the star performer with the ball, taking 25 wickets, Ellison chipping in with 24.
Young Anthony Churchill and Ben Anderson have shone, while fellow teenagers like Jack Davies, who has taken eight catches, have gained valuable experience of an unforgiving league, in which they tackle Croston tomorrow.