If the long trip to Barrow was a big test of Chorley’s character, they passed it with something pretty close to flying colours.
Going out of the two main cup competitions and suffering a string of league defeats in recent weeks meant that sizzling start to the campaign was fading fast into the memory, and the 2017 campaign was in real danger of fizzling out.
And defeat up in Cumbria, with big guns Blackpool in town next week, would have raised fears of a slide to the other end of the table, where, for the first time, the spectre of relegation lurks.
But Andy Holdsworth’s side rose to the challenge at a sultry, sun baked Ernest Pass Memorial Ground, and chalked up a decisive win which goes some way to getting their season back on track.
They were in control from the early exchanges, when a Jim Lee double strike rocked Barrow.
The home side threatened a recovery led by exotically named Aussie professional Aaron Keverne Onyon , but his tidy innings was derailed by Ian Oakes, who claimed three other victims as the visitors regained control.
Keeper Harry Barclay played his part, a superb catch and fine stumping features of a splendid performance, then Chorley pro Gayan Maneeshan stepped in to mop up the tail as Barrow were dismissed for 145.
It seemed inadequate on a friendly pitch, and so it proved. Ed Moulton has deservedly hogged most of the headlines in recent months, his form earning another Lancashire second XI call up this week for a Roses clash at Scarborough.
But it was the elder Moulton’s turn in the spotlight this time, the more experienced Will steadying the ship after one or two early wobbles and with Maneeshan, who showed a welcome return to form with the willow, offering good support, they took the visitors to within sight of victory.
A flurry of late wickets did little more than give the score a more respectable look from a home perspective, and second team skipper Alex Howarth eventually struck the winning blow to complete a four wicket win and mark a rare first team chance in the best way possible.
Unfortunately, a typically ruthless Leyland edged out Chorley by 16 runs in Sunday’s T20 group game at Fox Lane, ending the Windsor Park side’s theoretical chance of progressing in the competition.
But the previous day’s win was a timely boost and sets Holdsworth’s side up nicely for Saturday’s crucial home clash against Blackpool.