‘It is time to get yourselves in the nets and save us from relegation’ — that is the message from Graham Ford to the Worlington middle-order with three matches left to play.
The Suffolk club was awash with positivity ahead of the 2017 campaign, having racked up a club-record number of points during the previous Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship Division One terms.
A busy off-season of recruitment only served to heighten expectations. But it has not come to fruition as Worlington sit fourth-from-bottom with potentially three sides being relegated.
According to batsman Ford, who is the brother of captain Richard, much of the team’s struggles this year can be attributed to a lack of runs from the number four downwards.
Saturday was a case in point at Witham, where Worlington’s last eight batsmen contributed a combined 13 runs as the team were dismissed for just 99 in what turned out to be a seven-wicket defeat.
And as far as Ford is concerned, the slide towards danger could well continue if a number of players do not take the time to hone their skills.
“It has been a pretty frustrating season. Apart from Daren Hayward, the middle order have not scored as many runs as they should have,” said Ford.
“Once Richard, Jimmy Watson and I are out at the top of the order, we just collapse — that puts a lot of pressure on us to deliver every week.
“The lads need to get themselves in the net. You cannot just play one game a weekend and expect to improve or iron out any issues.
“When you are bowling and you bowl a bad ball, you get another. If you make a mistake when batting, you are gone.
“Some of the lads are facing five or six balls, getting out, and then coming back the next weekend and are doing the same thing without trying to get better.
“We cannot force them to net — they are not professionals. They have to want to do it.
“It is frustrating driving long distances for matches and seeing the same things happen, especially now we are in trouble.”
Worlington’s trio of games to preserve their status begins on Saturday with a home encounter against Hadleigh (12pm), followed by a trip to third-placed Woolpit and a potential crunch clash with fellow strugglers Haverhill.
Ford believes two wins will secure survival, while one victory and two high-scoring defeats may also do the trick.
“Winning would be enough, or even a couple of defeats as long as we get the bonus points,” he added.
“Woolpit is a tough trip, but the two home games are ones we have more chance of winning.
“Hadleigh have some good players so we will need to be right at it.
“They have got the better of us recently, so it would be nice to put that right.”