Dewhirst quits as Walsden skipper

One of the highlights: Chris Dewhirst receives the trophy from Central Lancashire League chairman Neville Fletcher after the 2012 title success
One of the highlights: Chris Dewhirst receives the trophy from Central Lancashire League chairman Neville Fletcher after the 2012 title success

Walsden Cricket Club’s highly-successful first team skipper Chris Dewhirst has stepped down.

He announced his decision at the club’s committee meeting on Monday evening and James Rawlinson will captain the side at home to Rochdale on Saturday.

Dewhirst has led Walsden to the Central Lancashire League title in the last two seasons but was sidelined for the start of the current campaign.

His return has added to growing selection problems at a club which has 14 or 15 players of first team standard.

Dewhirst is a decent off-spin bowler but as captain he has preferred to give other players a chance before himself, making it difficult to justify his own selection.

Dewhirst said: “It is something I have been thinking about for a while.

“I have done it (the captaincy) for the last five years and I just felt it was time to step down and let someone else have a go.

“I have always tried to put other people first and it has affected my cricket.”

Dewhirst will play in the seconds on Saturday and he said: “I am looking forward to getting back and playing a fuller part with someone else making the decisions.”

Dewhirst said selection difficulties had been a factor.

“We have a very, very strong first team squad. Selection was getting difficult and places questioned.”

Rawlinson and Nick Barker have led the side in Dewhirst’s absence but Barker works shifts and is not always available.

Dewhirst, who was at Tuesday’s practice session, gave his backing to opening batsman Rawlinson’s appointment.

“He has been at the club a long time and he’s the right man for the job,” he said.

Ex-Minor Counties player Matt Dawson returns against Rochdale but will not keep wicket after back problems.

Spinner Richard Sladdin remains on the sidelines with a shoulder injury.

Walsden play their second Twenty/20 group match away to Crompton on Friday and must win to have a chance of progressing from their group.

They beat Saturday’s foes Rochdale on the opening day.

Walsden (home to Rochdale): J Rawlinson, N Barker, S Barker, J Shackleton, Josh Gale, J Hooson, Joe Gale, M Dawson, D Howley, R Pathan, U Karunaratne.

Walsden (away to Rochdale): S Hanson, P Marrow, J Lord, C Hanson, C Dewhirst, Joe Hanson, K Halstead, T Illingworth, M Halstead

D Bailey, Jack Hanson.

Walsden III (home v Middleton Sun): G Connor, A Bell, J Battersby, J Steven, J Mitchell, C Sutcliffe, M Ormerod, T Stansfield, S Battersby

O Whitehead, Jack Hanson.