ANDREW SWARBRICK is confident Chirk will be a major player in the Shropshire League Division Two title hunt.

The Holyhead Road side suffered a two-wicket defeat to Wellington Seconds on their debut in the competition - but Swarbrick was encouraged.

“They deserved to win the game,” accepted Swarbrick. “But it was good to see what the league was about, and having done that, I’m sure we will have a good season.

“Wellington reckon they will be there or thereabouts and we pushed them all the way.”

And Chirk ran Wellington close despite losing Swarbrick and fellow new-ball bowler Nick Flack to injury, the duo managing just 37 balls in total.

“If we could get a bit of luck that would be lovely,” joked Swarbrick. “I pulled a muscle in my back and Nick dislocated a finger, so that meant we couldn’t bowl any more.

“But the lads stepped up to the plate and I was so proud of the character and desire from everyone in the field.

“We showed some real fight and that can only be a good thing going forward.”

Next-up for Chirk is a home clash with Albrighton, Swarbrick adding: “It should be a good game, and it’s one we are all looking forward to.”

Swarbrick and Flack, pictured, are hoping to be fit to face Albrighton, while James Carter returns, but Stevie Kelshaw and Luke Gardner are unavailable.

Overton are back in Division Six action as they host Corvedale following a 42-run win at Shrewsbury Thirds.

Northop Hall, meanwhile, go in search of their first win of the Liverpool Competition Division One season as Newton-le-Willows visit Smithy Lane.

Hall had to settle for a draw with Ainsdale, who replied to their hosts’ 167 with 158 for nine, despite 4-69 from former Test ace Enamul Haque and 4-45 for James Hurlin.

Director of cricket Dave Kennedy is encouraged by what he saw from his side, who saw captain Michael Barnes top-score with 76.

“I was really pleased,” said Kennedy. “Ainsdale should finish in the top-three and we’ve pushed them all the way.”

On Newton-le-Willows, Kennedy added: “They’ve recruited well and we are expecting a good game.”

Hall are back in action on Sunday as they host Halkyn in the National Village Cup, while the second XI visit Fleetwood Hesketh Seconds tomorrow and the thirds head to Wavertree.