Leyland captain Dave Makinson has spoken of disappointment after his side failed to defend their Northern League title.
Weather meant Saturday’s must-win game against Blackpool at Fox Lane was abandoned without a ball being bowled – handing the title to leaders St Annes.
It means Leyland go into final game of the season at third-placed Chorley needing to avoid defeat to secure second place.
Makinson’s men won the Readers Cup this last month but he admitted it could have been a league and cup double.
“It might sound strange, but it’s a disappointment really,” he said, when asked to describe his feelings.
“I guess it shows our high standards now, how far this club has come.
“I’m sure I can speak for everyone within the club when I say we’re disappointed.
“We need to learn to close games out, we had teams nine down five times, and didn’t seal the win.
“We need to win close games as well, I think we won one out of seven close games this season.
“You could say we need to be more ruthless, but it’s not like we’re complacent.”
The former Lancashire bowler said he was pleased with the team’s standard of play in the Readers Cup.
“In the final against Kendal we played one half of poor cricket, but the second half was some of the best cricket I’ve ever seen,” said the veteran bowler.
“And in the rounds leading up to the final too, we played some great, great cricket.”
Leyland lie 12 points ahead of third place Chorley, who could take second place if they record a win by batting first at the weekend.
The club has also been boosted by the news that pro, Brett Pelser, will be returning next year after two successful seasons.
Pelser is close to breaking Gordon Greenidge’s record for runs scored by a pro at Leyland in one year, while also taking more than 40 wickets with the ball.
Makinson stressed the importance of the South African all-rounder.
“He’s been the catalyst of what has happened at this club,” he said.
“He’s vital, I know the value of a good player. A lot of parents and spectators might think that all pros would be that good but he’s unique. Most clubs would want Brett, they’d sign him up tomorrow if they could.”
Makinson also spoke of how important the youth set-up is at Leyland.
Luis Reece, who played in this year’s CB40 tournament with the Unicorns, has already broken the club amateur batting record, but Makinson said there are other good players coming through.
“I watched the seconds play on Sunday in their cup final and I think four of the six bowlers used were under 20,” he said. “There were two 15-year-olds in there.
“There’s a lot of youngsters involved in their respective county age groups too.
“As long as we can keep the harmony in the club, the success could continue for a very long time.
“For me Luis (Reece) should be playing county cricket now, he’s got more than enough talent.”
Leyland Seconds did win the league and cup double at the weekend.
“It keeps the first team on their toes,” said Makinson.
“If we have a couple missing, or if someone loses form, then we’ve got people who can come in.
“It’s frustrating for the Seconds as well though. They’re doing so well and can’t get into the team.
“I’ve kept my faith with the team that won the league last year, we’re a better team than we were last year, so it’s important to have faith.”
Makinson showed no signs of lowering his high standards for next season either.
“There’s five major tournaments. Last year we won one of them, and this year we won one.
“So next year we should be looking at winning at least two of them. We’re looking at winning back the league, and retaining the cup.
“After that, if we can improve in the Twenty20 and then try to do better in the national and Lancashire cups”.