Worsley Cup fever is gripping the town ahead of the weekend’s mouth-watering Turf Moor semi-final clash between Burnley and Lowerhouse.
Sunday will be the first time the fierce Lancashire League rivals have met in the cup at such a late stage and even the town’s bookies are getting in on the act.
Ladbrokes has decided to add a little extra spice to the affair by opening up a special book on the historic match. And they are predicting a close run game with both sides priced at 10/11 for the win.
Supporters will also be able to bet on the number of runs scored if they drop by either the Parker Lane or Yorkshire Street shops.
This will be the 23rd cup meeting between the clubs with both teams holding 11 wins apiece.
Reigning league and cup champions Lowerhouse currently sit third in the Lancashire League and face a busy weekend with two must win games before Sunday’s big one.
The Liverpool Road side take on Todmorden in Twenty20 action tonight before locking horns with them in the league the following day.
Coach Paul Stansfield admitted it was difficult not looking ahead to what was one of the biggest games in the club’s history but they would be concentrating on winning all three games.
“The league is very important and we’re still in the Twenty20. Burnley is obviously the big game but the two before it this weekend are as well.
“The Burnley game though is without doubt one of the biggest ones anybody here has ever been involved in, aside from last year’s final. And we would be lying if we said we hadn’t spoken about it.”
Stansfield said his side are going into the game full of confidence as well.
“We’ve played well this season. Two of the three games we’ve lost have been in the last over so we’ve not been hammered.
“It’s been coming together in the past few weeks and we’re starting to play some nice stuff now. Because we are the champions teams are looking at us differently now and when they do win they celebrate like they’ve won the cup. It’s a different kind of pressure.
“We’re still a young side as well and in fact five of the lads who will play in Sunday’s game are still only teenagers. We’re all looking forward to it though.
“It’s a great rivalry. It is fierce and it can be hostile but everybody is always ok with each other in the bar afterwards. It’s ultra competitive and I don’t think there is a bigger derby in the league.”
Burnley captain Bharat Tripathi said many of his players would struggle getting to sleep Saturday night ahead of what will be, for most, the biggest game of theirs careers.
“We had a cup final in 2006 but this is going to be the biggest game of these lads’ careers. This is like a final itself. It’s got something different about it . It’s a derby and it’s very special.”
Burnley are at home to East Lancs on Saturday in the league but Tripathi admitted all eyes were looking ahead to Sunday’s clash.
“Do we have a game on Saturday? We’re not saying the result doesn’t matter but we need to make sure our batters all get a bat and our bowlers get a bowl.
“We’ve been preparing well but there’s always room for improvement. We beat Todmorden in the Twenty20 on Friday and in the league on Sunday so we’re going into the match with confidence.”
He added: “Hopefully the weather holds up. It will be a great atmosphere and a great day. There will be interest from everywhere, not just people into their cricket.
“When it comes to Sunday though, it will all be about the cricket.
The game starts at 1pm.The other Worsley Cup semi-final sees Nelson take on Haslingden.