Holdsworth’s hope

Leading from the front: Andy Holdsworth

Leading from the front: Andy Holdsworth

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Chorley Cricket Club’s captain Andy Holdsworth said it’s vital his team become hard to beat after opening their season with a hard-fought draw at St Annes.

His team is without a game in the Northern League this Saturday, but play Prestwich in the National Knockout on Sunday.

Holdsworth said: “It was hugely important not to lose on Saturday.

“I feel that after last season, making ourselves difficult to beat is the main priority.

“Having been 90-0 and then 117-6, the signs of last season were there but last season we would have been 120 all out.

“But we went on to reach 190-9, just narrowly missing out on reaching their target.

“The players in the lower order gritted their teeth and got stuck in for the team cause which was pleasing to see.”

Holdsworth, who scored 41 on Saturday in his new role as opener, said he wanted to put a smile back on the faces of the home fans of Windsor Park.

He said: “The most important thing is to be competitive and committed.

“If we show resilience and competitiveness at home, the supporters will see this.

“We want to put the performances in at home to begin to repay the supporters for last year’s disappointment.

“There was a good following support who had made the journey to St Annes, which is good for the lads to see.”

New pro Gaurav Dhar took five wickets, while player/coach Iain Critchley grabbed three.

Holdsworth said: “Gaurav and Iain struck up a good partnership straight away.

“Iain is a well-seasoned bowler, and used all his experience to keep his end tight and build pressure.

“Spin will play a big part this season with Iain and Gaurav.

“There is also Ian Oakes as a third spinner, and we have three good seam bowlers too.”

Holdsworth has decided to open the innings and keep wicket this season.

He said: “I really enjoyed doing both. The wicketkeeping helps as I am able to see the full picture much more clearly.

“I think last season we kept chopping and changing the top of the order, and I don’t think that is healthy.”

The captain had special praise for Stuart Naden, who scored 24 despite being hit on the head.

“He got struck between his helmet and visor from their professional,” he said. “Although being forced off, he was determined to return at the next chance which shows great courage and commitment and resilience for a young man, which was pleasing to see.”