There will be more than local pride and bragging rights at stake on Saturday when Egerton Park host Thorpe Arnold in Melton’s County League derby day.
The sides had contrasting starts in Division Two, with Thorpe rocketing to the top with six straight wins, while Park stuttered with three defeats from their opening four.
Park remain third-bottom, but within 23 points of third place following a mini revival of back-to-back victories that preceded last weekend’s washout.
Division Two leaders Thorpe, meanwhile, will be keen to get back to winning ways after their 100 per cent start was ended with a heavy defeat at Kirby Muxloe a fortnight ago, albeit with an XI missing several first-choice players.
They will also be eager to reverse a run of recent defeats by Park.
A four-wicket haul from Rakesh Seecharan bowled out Thorpe for just 91 in their home fixture last year before promotion-chasing Park chased down a revised target to win a rain-affected match by nine wickets.
It was Thorpe’s third straight defeat to their crosstown rivals after losing both matches in 2017.
They were once again skittled at home that season – for 89 – as Park scrambled home by two wickets, and then completed the double by six wickets in late summer.
Last season’s reverse fixture at Egerton Park had to be abandoned after one innings following a serious injury to Thorpe number 11 Lewis Postle while batting.
But Thorpe captain Rich Randall insists recent history will have little bearing on Saturday’s game.
“We haven’t had the rub of the green in previous meetings between us, but we are in good shape this year and hopefully the weather holds off for the weekend,” he said.
“I don’t think last year’s games will have a bearing on this year, but if the game goes ahead I think, once again, it will be a big toss and not one either captain will want to lose.
“Derby matches are usually very competitive and hard-fought. This is the game you look out for when the fixtures come out.”
Thorpe will again be missing a couple of regulars for the short trip, but will be buoyed by the return of opening bowler James Pepperdine after a two-game absence.
“His partnership with the ball with Myles (Hickman) has been massive in our start to the season and both of them are capable of winning a game on their own.”
The 45-over-a-side match starts at 1pm.