Burnley skipper Bharat Tripathi is determined to put almost 30 years of hurt to rest after beating rivals Lowerhouse to reach the Worsley Cup final.
Roland Harrison captained the club to its last domestic cup success when beating Colne at the Horsfield in 1984, and only twice have Burnley reached a final since that day.
This campaign’s finale will be a repeat of the 1997 contest that saw Haslingden lift the trophy in comprehensive fashion at Turf Moor, to seal an inaugural league and cup double. Esteemed players including Jon Harvey, Jonathan Clare and Vishal Tripathi then lost out to Nelson in 2006, but now Bharat is desperate to achieve what his sibling failed to do when featuring in the final on Sunday, August 11th.
“It was a brilliant day (beating Lowerhouse),” beamed Tripathi. “It was a little bit strange playing the semi-final over two weeks but it certainly didn’t tarnish the win. We’d been waiting all week, the anticipation had been building and it was the only thing on our minds. It was perfect in the end and we couldn’t have scripted it any better. It was a joyous afternoon.”
He added: “We’ve been bitterly close in a couple of finals. It was in 1984 the last time Burnley won the Worsley Cup so it’s never happened in my lifetime. It’s a prestigious competition and lifting a trophy would be something quite new for us so we’re determined to change that.
“We don’t want to let this slip now. We lost in a final in 2006 and came within a few runs of Accrington and Ramsbottom in respective semi-finals in 2008 and 2010. It’s not just the players that need this, the club needs it as well.”
Despite early successes in the club’s history, celebration has been relatively muted at Turf Moor with just piece of silverware finding its way to the trophy cabinet in that 29 year period - that being the Lancashire League accolade in 2006.
However, with both the senior side and the second string reaching cup finals, Tripathi is hopeful that this could be the term to spark the club’s resurgence “Preparations for the final are already under way and this run has united everybody at the club,” he said.
“It’s going to be a massive day. It will be a celebration of the club as a whole because we’re starting to thrive in all areas. We’ve got a great junior section and the second XI has also reached a cup final. The club is in fantastic shape now and it’s down to volunteers and chairman Michael Brown.
“This could be the catalyst that sparks a new era for the club. If we win the Worsley Cup we can build from there because it will breed confidence. We’ve needed to win something to prompt a change and this could certainly change things for Burnley CC.”
Meanwhile, Lowerhouse chairman Stan Heaton remained positive and realistic about the club’s prospects after losing their Worsley Cup crown.
Despite relinquishing their title, Heaton claimed the senior side is still in good shape with a Twenty20 semi-final against Enfield to look forward to tonight plus a chase to retain their stance as league champions.
Heaton, who claims that a 29 point deficit from leaders Accrington isn’t insurmountable, said: “We’re bitterly disappointed but that’s gone now and we need to move on. We enjoy the rivalry with Burnley and we obviously wanted to win.
“We’re down because we lost in a semi-final, it doesn’t make things any more sour that we lost to Burnley. They played extremely well and we wish them all the best.
“We’re not afraid of going without silverware but we’ve certainly sat down and addressed it. We were never going to do the double for the next 10 years, that’s delusional. There’s 14 other teams busting a gut to beat us and it’s a very competitive league. We’ve got to be realistic.
“We’ve reached two cup semi-finals and we’re third in the league so it’s hardly a crisis. We’re an amateur side and we know we’ll get beat every now and again.
“But the foundations at the club are firmly in place and we will continue to keep building in the right way. We remain positive and for every slight minus there’s always a huge plus at this club.”
Saturday, July 6th: Burnley v Haslingden; Lowerhouse v Bacup.
Sunday, July 7th: Colne v Burnley; Nelson v Lowerhouse.