Long standing wicketkeeper Grant Jones has saluted the impact of skipper Greg Buckley as Delph have clinched fourth place in the Drakes Huddersfield League.
In the absence of Lancashire’s Twenty20 hero Arron Lilley, who was appointed captain of the Premiership club at the start of the season, Delph have turned to the 26-year-old all-rounder.
The former Micklehurst and Kirkburton star has risen to the challenge, reaching 1,241 runs for the season at 59.10 and, in one memorable T20 clash, hitting Barkisland for six sixes in an over.
Delph have won 14 of their last 17 fixtures, a run which had raised hopes of finishing maybe second behind champions Scholes.
After a slow opening to the campaign, however, they have come on strongly at Huddersfield Road.
Delph visit Skelmanthorpe in their final fixture.
“We’re playing well and there is lots of confidence in the side,” said Jones.
“Whatever target opponents set, we feel as though we can chase it down.
“Likewise, we are bowling well as a unit and haven’t missed Arron (Lilley) to a certain degree, as hard as that sounds.
“Greg has done very well as captain. He got thrown into it really because I didn’t want to do it again.
“The lads have a lot of respect for him and obviously he is leading from the front with runs and wickets.
“Captaincy hasn’t affected his game, in fact it’s made him a better player.”
Of Delph’s shift in fortunes, Jones also praised the impact of Lancashire Under 19s players Chris Laker, who is in his first campaign at the Huddersfield Road club and played for the Red Rose against Yorkshire Under 19s at Honley.
“Greg’s 1,200 runs have made a big difference, but Chris has also come to the party,” added the experienced gloveman.
“He is only 18 and looks a completely different player compared with the first half of the season. He has scored a string of 50s recently and one of them he turned into 130.
“It’s really hard for someone like Chris, who is only 18, to come in. There are a lot of strong characters in our dressing room, and I think for the first four or five games he was a bit overawed by it.
“He’s settled in now, loves his cricket, loves the dressing-room banter and is a totally different player.
“He has moved up to the top of the order now.”
Lilley’s Lancashire commitments have restricted his appearances for Delph this season, but the example he sets in the field for the Red Rose county and for Delph has been an inspiration to others.
Although Lilley is available for Delph’s final game, his good mate Buckley will remain as captain.
Jones explained: “I think Arron has missed six games out of the last nine, so to carry on the winning form without him is a massive achievement.
“He is a big player for us, both batting and bowling. He never mis-fields, catches pigeons and is different class.
“When the younger lads see someone like Arron in the side and how he fields, it lifts their game as well.
“He’s a fit lad and works very hard. You get out of it what you put in and Arron puts in a lot of work.”