Wood Lane captain Danny Brierley is far from despondent, despite his side’s winless start to the league season.
The Megacre club have lost all seven of their NSSCL Division One fixtures and dropped into the bottom two after last Saturday’s defeat at Blythe.
But Brierley insists the bare facts don’t tell the while story about how Wood Lane have shaped up in the early part of the summer.
“We’ve been our own worst enemies at times,” admitted the former Staffordshire batsman.
“There’s been three or four games where we have played good cricket, but just haven’t been able to get over the line.
“It’s all about that winning feeling. At times you win matches you shouldn’t, but we’re going the other way at the minute – losing games we should be winning.
“We’ve not always put both sides of the game together. When we’ve batted well we’ve not backed it up bowling-wise, and vice versa.
“We’re looking for that complete performance, but we feel that we’re not a million miles away from winning.
“And I think that first victory will be huge for us in terms of confidence.”
Wood Lane looked on course to break their duck last weekend against fellow strugglers Blythe.
Blythe were reduced to 66-7, before Khalid Hamidi struck 112 to set Wood Lane a target of 220.
And even though Brierley compiled 84 in reply, Wood Lane fell nine runs short.
“One of their lads came in and batted really well, although we did give him a chance,” added Brierley, whose side entertain Knypersley tomorrow.
“He got them up to a competitive score, but even then we thought we could chase it down.
“But it was probably about 100 more than we thought we might be set after having them 66-7.
“The lads are really motivated and sometimes you can try too hard to try to get that win.
“We’ve spoken about trying to relax in the big moments and don’t do too much, just stick to our plans.
“We’ve also got to learn how to play the win/lose format better. We have lads who haven’t played a lot of first-team cricket at this level.
“And we also have players who are suited to the longer format. Myself and Jake Thompson, for example, are better suited to building an innings.”
Brierley knows what it takes to be successful.
He was part of the Wood Lane side which won the Premier Division title in 2011 and he repeated the feat during his time at Meakins in 2017.
Another top-flight crown at Megacre is someway off, but Brierley is keen to put plans in place to see the club back at the top table in the future.
“The ambition is to develop young players and get people ready and understanding cricket at first-team level,” he explained.
“At the start of the season we wanted to see a bit of progression and aim for somewhere in the middle of the table.
“If we can stay in touch by halfway, we still feel as though we can achieve that because even though we’ve lost matches we’ve picked up decent points.
“I want to keep passing on my skills, experience and my winning philosophy and progress the club.
“Hopefully one-day we can get back into the Premier Division, where Wood Lane should be. That’s my hope.”
Knypersley, meanwhile, have suffered an inconsistent start in their third year under the captaincy of all-rounder Liam Hopkins.
They have won three and lost four of their seven matches to sit in mid-table ahead of their trip to Megacre.
Hopkins, aged 24, says it’s imperative that Knype snap out of their current sequence of form and embark on a winning streak.
“It’s been the story of our last two or three years and probably a fair reflection of where we are at,” he said.
“We’re mid-table in the division because we can’t get that consistency at the moment. The last couple of weeks have been a good example.
“We beat Blythe with a good chase and then we failed to back it up against Sandyford.
“We needed 50-odd off the last 10 overs with seven wickets in hand and couldn’t manage it.
“But this is the sort of division where teams are capable of beating each other.
“I’d say we’re playing 80 per cent good cricket, but it’s that extra 20 per cent which helps you to win matches.”
Hopkins says his side only have to look at the leading duo, Elworth and Hem Heath, for inspiration.
But he remains confident that Knypersley can enjoy a productive summer.
“Hem Heath and Elworth put winning runs together. If we had won on Saturday we wouldn’t have been too far behind Endon (in third),” he added.
“We know, though, that we will never be able to push for those top three or four places if we don’t have that level of consistency.
“At the moment we are just having little spells in matches which are costing us.”