Cricket: Struggling duo look to kick-start their seasons
OULTON and Stafford will attempt to breathe life into their seasons when they clash at the Spencer Copeland Ground tomorrow.
Oulton have won just one match so far this season and find themselves bottom of the table, although they earned a battling draw with Weston last weekend.
There were signs that the green shoots of recovery are springing into life, with Jono Whalley and Dries Nell hitting half-centuries.
Stafford are six points and one place better off than their hosts, but have yet to find a winning formula.
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They have drawn four of their six matches, with skipper Dave Foster hoping tomorrow can be a watershed moment to kick-start their campaign.
Ashcombe Park remain in third place, despite suffering a hat-trick of defeats.
Their batting failed to fire last weekend in the defeat by Caverswall, with only David Proffitt (71) making any impression.
Rizwan Haider and Grant Roberts both picked up four wickets, though, to suggest that they may be able to turn the corner at home to Bignall End.
However, they come face-to-face with the immovable object that is Kim Barnett, who has carried his bat through Bignall End's last two innings.
The former England batsman will be a key player as they attempt to improve on their current ninth place.
Last weekend's victory for Caverswall pushed them to second as they move through the gears.
Nazakat Ali's four wickets were a major factor in that success and a repeat performance would be ideal for skipper Tony Dutton when they cross the county border to Alsager.
Alsager were left kicking their heels last weekend as their clash against Kidsgrove was postponed without a ball being bowled.
Ollie Sadler's side are in fifth place and will be optimistic of competing for honours by chalking up their fourth win of the season.
Leaders Newcastle and Hartshill, who are 36 points clear, go searching for a seventh successive win when they make the trip to Eccleshall.
Seamer Sampath Kalum has been an inspired signings, claiming 30 wickets in his five outings, to spearhead Castle's early charge.
Eccleshall have had a topsy-turvy start, but produced a solid performance to draw with Bignall End last weekend.
Opener Myles Coughlan was in the runs with a century.
Rode Park and Lawton, in 10th, have yet to hit their straps this year, and visit a buoyant Kidsgrove, who are on the rise after reaching sixth place.