The development of promising Chorley fast bowler Edwin Moulton must be handled with extreme care – that’s the warning issued by club chairman Peter Mockett.
The youngster has been an integral member of the first-team squad at Windsor Park ever since making his debut in the Northern League against Preston four years ago while he was still a schoolboy.
Now aged 18, Moulton is very much on the radar of Lancashire after making his debut for the county’s second team earlier this summer.
This year, he has turned in some excellent performances for Chorley, who find themselves nicely placed in third spot in the Division One table as the season approaches its halfway point.
Last weekend Moulton took 4-21 off seven overs as Andrew Holdsworth’s men got the better of Blackpool at Windsor Park.
“Edwin has managed to get a few performances in with Lancashire seconds this season, which is obviously good,” said Mockett.
“But the big issue for us is that we don’t overload him with too much cricket.
“He is still only 18, although he’s quite a mature lad physically – he’s still not stopped growing.
“He’s a good lad and has bowled terrifically well this season.
“With his batting, he has shown he can hold an end up and bat well, so he’s a real asset to us.
“Hopefully his development will continue.”
After a great start to the season which saw them win their opening four games to top the table, Chorley dropped to fourth after three straight defeats.
However, two successive wins have put them back on track and they will hope to claw some ground back on leaders Netherfield when they travel to third-bottom Lancaster tomorrow.
“We got off to a great start,” said Mockett. “But then we hit the buffers really.
“Thankfully, we have recovered somewhat and we are right back in the mix at the top of the table.”
Elsewhere, Longridge captain Kyle Helm is convinced his men will not be affected too much by their disappointing Meyler Cup exit on Sunday.
The men from Chipping Road were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by arch rivals Garstang at home.
In damp conditions at the Newsham Memorial Ground, Helm thought he had been handed a stroke of fortune when he won the toss and inserted the visitors.
But it was Garstang who adapted better to the tricky conditions as the home side were dismissed for 95, chasing 134 for victory.
That defeat came just 24 hours after they leapfrogged the Riversiders to go back to the top of the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division after a win over Thornton Cleveleys at Illawalla.
“There were mixed emotions at the weekend,” said Helm.
“We played really well on Saturday at Thornton Cleveleys.
“We bowled in the right areas and fielded well and then knocked off the runs – it was a good all-round performance.
“On Sunday, I thought I got lucky by winning the toss. We took some early wickets but a couple of their batsmen dug in to get 30 and 40.
“I think if one of our batsmen had got to 30, we would have probably gone on to win the game. It’s fine margins. The lads were disappointed because it’s a competition we wanted to win.
“We feel that it’s a competition that suits us because we have got five very good bowlers and you have to have five bowlers all bowling eight overs each.
“So the lads were a little bit gutted but it’s something we can learn from.”
This weekend, Longridge will look to maintain their place at the top when they host bottom side Freckleton.
They are currently four points clear of reigning champions Fulwood and Broughton, while Garstang are two points further back.
Fourth-placed Vernon Carus are still in the title picture – 11 points off the top.
“It’s tightened up at the top,” said Helm.
“There are probably four team in and around it.
“This Saturday is the halfway point of the season, so it would be nice to be on top after the weekend which would set us up nicely for the rest of the season.”
On Sunday, Longridge have a Ribble Valley derby to look forward to when they face Clitheroe at Chatburn Road in the Lancashire Knockout Cup.
“We’ve got Clitheroe in the last 16 of the Lancs Cup,” said Helm. “It’s going to be tough ask. Their professional played for Pakistan against England a few years ago, so it should be interesting.”
Helm has a full squad to choose from on Saturday, although could be missing Rory McDowell for the trip to Clitheroe.
Northern League Division One: Barrow v Netherfield, Blackpool v St Annes, Fleetwood v Leyland, Lancaster v Chorley, Morecambe v Kendal, Penrith v Preston.
Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division: Eccleston v Thornton Cleveleys, Fulwood and Broughton v Torrisholme; Garstang v Croston, Longridge v Freckleton, Penwortham v Great Eccleston, Vernon Carus v Rufford