Ben Hardcastle is very much a player playing at the very top of his game at the start of the 2018-2019 campaign. Hardcastle has been at the forefront of Colls success thus far this season, and he’s the perfect example of what Atherton Collieries are all about.
The 23-year old is quickly approaching 250 appearances for the Lancashire-based club, and he’s dedicated and hungry to succeed. The Atherton-born midfielder has found the net ten times already in as many matches including a hatful of goals in Colls 9-1 victory over Skelmersdale United at the start of September.
Currently, Collieries sit in a very comfortable position as they’re in second place, but they have a game in hand over Runcorn Linnets. And, with two victories over the Cheshire-based side in the space of seven days, ACFC are in a fantastic position, but there’s a lot of football still to be played.
For Hardcastle, it all started with a spell at Morecambe at youth level, he was also managed under current Colls manager Michael Clegg when he managed Atherton LR, Clegg was delighted to bring him to the club, and what an asset he’s proved to be. Hardcastle also bagged a goal at the Hospital Cup final at the Macron for the Colls.
I caught up with Michael Clegg on Saturday following Colls 4-2 victory over Runcorn Linnets, and the ‘gaffer’ was full of praise for Hardcastle as he was forced to play out of position due to injurys at the club, and what a performance he put in.
Clegg went on to say …
“Ben’s come in today and played in a defensive midfield role, and he did the job expertly wearing the captains armband. He’s closing in on his 250 appearance at the club at 23, he’s just a credit to the club.”
For Hardcastle and the rest of the squad, exciting times lie ahead as Colls are playing some superb football, scoring lots of goals, and now with four wins on-the-spin, we all look forward to Saturday’s clash with Market Drayton Town at the Skuna stadium.
Photography courtesy of David Featherstone / Fab Photographic