Brown confident Burnley can defend their Worsley Cup crown

Last year: Captain Bharat Tripathi and chairman Michael Brown celebrate Worsley Cup success
Last year: Captain Bharat Tripathi and chairman Michael Brown celebrate Worsley Cup success

After raking in the gold during a fund-raising golf day, Burnley Cricket Club’s attention now turns to bringing home the silverware ahead of the Worsley Cup final.

With the help of Lancashire and England cricketer Jimmy Anderson the Turf Moor outfit raised a phenomenal £3,004 through sponsorship, raffles, auctions and player and team participation at the event hosted by Burnley Golf Club. That windfall will go towards improving facilities at the club.

But money can’t buy you trophies. Not at this level of the game anyway. Bharat Tripathi’s men will be reliant on more honest qualities such as graft, talent and unity in their bid to defend a crown which took almost three decades to acquire.

The euphoria of last year’s historic triumph over Haslingden on home soil should serve as the ideal motivation for the squad to go out and give their all at Rawtenstall’s Worswick Memorial Ground on Sunday. The majority will still be savouring that satisfaction from previous success and only Vinny Hanson’s XI stand in the way of a repeat.

“Everyone is looking forward to it,” said chairman Michael Brown, who was presented with the man of the match accolade last term. “We’ve played pretty well in the second half of the season. We’ve picked up a bit of momentum so we’re going in to the final in reasonable shape. It’s been a difficult season in the league but we’ve excelled in the cup.

“Last year’s Worsley Cup win was special because it had been 29 years since we’d last won the trophy. We’re all very excited about trying to defend that crown now. It’s a great day and a fantastic event but it would be made even better by bringing home the silverware. Everyone is chomping at the bit and I think last year’s experience will make everybody incredibly hungry to repeat that success.”

Brown’s unbeaten knock of 82 ultimately took the game away from Graham Knowles’s side in 2013, though Qasim Ali’s identical total earlier in the innings had provided stable foundations for the hosts to build on. And in the end Burnley’s bowling prowess - decorated by James Capstick’s capture of three wickets in as many overs - secured an 85-run win.

“Winning any trophy is good because it’s a sign that you are doing something right,” said Brown. “The league and Worsley Cup probably edge it as the two favoured trophies. You’ve got to think clearly in a final, try to take yourself away from the pressures of the occasion, and do what the game demands. There’s an opportunity for somebody to take on the mantel and showcase their talents.

“It was my day last year but the platform was set up for me to play like that. Qasim Ali and Dan Pickup (40) performed exceptionally well to build those foundations. That was the case in the semi-final as well. Individuals can win you matches but it’s always difficult without the team working as a unit. There’s certainly a number of match winners in our squad.”

If Brown’s performance on Sunday is anywhere near as impressive as his memory it will stand the former Middlesex, Hampshire and Surrey star in good stead. The chairman reminisced about a 138-run opening stand with his dad, Peter, at Rawtenstall some 18 seasons ago.

“I remember putting on 100 up there once when opening with my dad in 1996,” he said. “He hit a century and I reached a half-century. That was a long time ago but I can’t recall many games I’ve played there recently. We beat them earlier in the season but this is a completely different format. There’s 15 overs of power play and bowlers are restricted to 10 overs so you need to be flexible.”

Meanwhile, ahead of Burnley’s clash with Ramsbottom at Acre Bottom tomorrow in the Lancashire League, the ECB has presented the club with a plaque to acknowledge the part it played in enhancing the Anderson’s development as a youngster.

Brown said: “On Sunday the ECB hosted a 12th man event and organised the presentation of a plaque to commemorate the club’s influence of Jimmy Anderson’s development. Jimmy spoke very highly about the club and commented on the impact that Burnley CC has had on his career. He’s been fantastic for the club, he’s always been really helpful, and he’s a great ambassador for it. The club as a whole is very proud of his achievements.”

Elsewhere, Lowerhouse will be looking to extend the gap at the top when they host fourth place Haslingden at the Neville Gee (Recruitment) Ground on Saturday. The West Enders are just seven games away from registering their third championship in four seasons.