ANDREW SWARBRICK is expecting a tough test when he takes Chirk to Northop tomorrow - because he tipped the Flintshire side to impress on their return to the top-flight.

The left-arm seamer was sure that last season's Division One champions Northop would be able to cope with life in the Premier Division before a ball was bowled this term.

And Northop have proven Swarbrick's assessment to be a shrewd one with the Flintshire outfit seventh in the table courtesy of seven wins from 12 outings.

On the challenge posed by Northop, Chirk captain Swarbrick said: "It is going to be a real test for us because they are a good side with a lot of good players.

"I thought before the season that they were good enough to make an impact on the division and they have been impressive.

"They have a very strong batting line-up and a good bowling attack so we need to be ready for the challenge.

While Northop come into the fixture on the back of an eye-catching three-wicket win at reigning champions Bangor, visiting Chirk remain without a victory to their name this season.

Swarbrick isn't throwing the towel in, however, declaring: "We are ready for this challenge. We are definitely confident heading into the game, even though results haven't gone well so far this season.

"We are still enjoying the contest each week to a certain degree and all the lads are still ready to play, which makes me wonder what might be if we start winning matches."

Steve Kelshaw and Chris Pritchard miss out for Chirk, who could be boosted by the return of Gareth Partridge.

HAWARDEN PARK and Gresford have both set their sights on winning runs in an attempt to escape relegation from the Premier Division.

Gresford became the first team to beat Menai Bridge this season last week as they ended a four-match losing run, although they remain just seven points clear of the drop zone.

Boosted by their win at Menai Bridge, Gresford captain Chris Ellwood is looking to back that up with victory at Llandudno tomorrow afternoon.

“It was a great win for us,” declared Ellwood. “It’s the second year on the bounce we have won there, so we like that ground.

“We are confident we can beat anyone on our day, it’s just about going into games with confidence and focus and stringing some results together.”

Hawarden were unable to secure back-to-back wins for the first time this season as they followed up their success over Chirk with a five-wicket defeat at Pwllheli.

The Flintshire side are expected to name a strong XI for the visit of St Asaph tomorrow and captain Ian Martin is hopeful of victory, which could be the catalyst his side need to get themselves out of trouble.

“We didn’t bat well enough at Pwllheli, even on a poor pitch, but we bowled and fielded really well and the attitude of the players is top notch,” said Martin, whose side are 22 points adrift of safety with nine games of the season remaining.

“We all believe we can put a run of victories together to get out of the relegation zone and in the coming weeks we will be boosted by inproved availability.

“We know St Asaph are a decent side, but we feel we can get something from the game if we perform to our best.

“We’ve got a good squad of players when they are all available and hopefully between now and the end of the season we can show that we would have produced better results consistently if we could have picked our best team more often.”

Campbell Marr misses out for Hawarden, who have Jamie Brailsford and Jamie MacDonald available.

Table topping Menai Bridge will be eager to return to winning ways at current champions Bangor tomorrow, while Pwllheli’s impressive season continues as they make their way to Denbigh.

Other fixtures - Division One: Bersham v Dolgellau; Abergele v Llay Welfare; Conwy v Mold; Llanrwst v Bethesda; Pontblyddyn v Mochdre.

Division Two: Marchwiel and Wrexham v Carmel and District; Bodedern v Llangollen; Corwen v Halkyn; Mynydd Isa v Gwersyllt Park; Ruthin v Buckley.

Second XI Premier Division: Carmel and District 2nds v Bangor 2nds; Buckley 2nds v Denbigh 2nds; Gresford 2nds v Hawarden Park 2nds; Llay Welfare 2nds v Pontblyddyn 2nds; Menai Bridge 2nds v Northop 2nds; Mochdre 2nds v Brymbo 2nds.

Second XI East Division: Castell Alun v Mold 2nds; Chirk 2nds v Rhewl; Connah's Quay 2nds v Gwersyllt Park 2nds.

Second XI West Division: Bethesda 2nds v Llanrwst 2nds; Pwllheli 2nds v Abergele 2nds; St Asaph 2nds v Conwy 2nds.