White Coppice’s cricketers have found that winning feeling... at long last.
After 28 successive defeats stretching back to August 2016, the Palace Shield Second Division side recorded their first win in 658 days on Saturday.
Tony Moore’s team won a rain-reduced match at Vernon Carus thirds by 10 wickets - sparking joyous celebrations.
News of the long-awaited win was widely shared on social media with more than 1,400 likes and 246 retweets on Twitter, with congratulations messages coming from all over the world.
Long-serving batsman Chris Maguire said: “None of us knew what to do when we won. We were in a state of shock. Some of the lads were crying, while others needed to be revived with smelling salts!
“We’d lost our first seven games of 2018, having lost all 19 games in 2017. When we looked back through our records, we realised our last victory was an eight-run win against Hoghton on August 27, 2016 - which was 658 days ago.
“One of our new players - Jim Lawrenson- had never experienced a win before and I mean never.”
White Coppice was founded in 1875 and Maguire said Saturday’s win was emotional because the club has been battling just to stay afloat: “We worked out that between the end of the 2016 season and the first few weeks of the 2017 campaign, we lost about 15 players for a variety of reasons. Some players moved to different clubs, while others had work, family or university commitments.
“Our popular groundsman Fred Entwistle died, so we were on the back foot in more ways than one.
“We folded the seconds and just had one team, but even then we struggled get 11 players.”
Maguire said July 2017 was a particular low point in the proud 143-year history of the club: “On July 15 we played New Longton with seven players, and two weeks later we were bowled out by Withnell Fold for 19,” he said. “I was the stand-in captain and you either laughed or cried.
“The one thing we never did was give in or forfeit a game.”
Maguire said he was especially pleased for club captain Tony Moore after Saturday’s win: “Tony has been magnificent. Last year he was the division’s highest run scorer, and he made another undefeated 50 on Saturday.
“However, people don’t see him rolling the wicket on a Friday evening or the fact his young kids step into score at the last minute.
“The fact that White Coppice Cricket Club is still going is down to people like Tony.”