Burnley hope Worsley Cup win can prove catalyst for success

CUP KINGS: Burnley show off their silverware after beating Haslingden in the Worsley Cup Fiinal on Sunday
CUP KINGS: Burnley show off their silverware after beating Haslingden in the Worsley Cup Fiinal on Sunday

It’s been an enduring wait that has stretched almost three decades, but the eventual capture of the Worsley Cup can provide the catalyst for Burnley Cricket Club’s evolution.

With the metaphorical burden lifted from their shoulders, both chairman Michael Brown and captain Bharat Tripathi believe that the latest achievement will ultimately spark further success at Turf Moor.

Brown’s final-winning knock of 82 not out against Haslingden, which earned the former county cricketer the man of the match accolade, was witnessed by his dad, Peter, who was part of the XI that last won the trophy 29 years earlier.

“It’s a good day for the club and everybody that has contributed to the occasion,” Brown said. “It’s been a while since we’ve won this trophy and hopefully it will be the first of many more. It means a lot to the club.

“We hope this will be the catalyst. We’ve lost a few close games in the league to Church and Enfield so if we’d have won those we’d have been second. We’re fourth now but it could’ve been higher. We’re making plenty of progress and we’ve got some great youth players with the flourishing junior set-up. We’re developing.”

Brown added: “I was only four when the club last won it and my dad played in that final in 1984. I played in the final in 1997 and we lost to Haslingden then the guys lost in 2006 so this is a great reward. You’ve got to enjoy your successes and hopefully they’ll be many more.

“My dad was here watching. I’m not sure he’d have been proud of the few hacks over mid-wicket but he was delighted we won. It’s been part of his life for 30 or 40 years and it’s been a huge part of mine. It’s been a good day and if I’d have written the script it wouldn’t have been much different to this.”

Meanwhile Tripathi, who wasn’t even born when Roland Harrison captained the side to silverware against Colne at the Horsfield, capped off a fruitful family affair with the Lancashire League’s prestigious cup competition on Sunday.

Both Bharat’s brother, Vishal, and dad, Pankaj, were triumphant in the cup during their tenures. Pankaj lifted the pristine trophy in 1991 when Enfield beat East Lancs by six wickets at Dill Hall Lane while Vishal was a victor with Lowerhouse in 2004.

But this is just the start as far as the skipper is concerned. With nets being installed at the Belvedere Road ground over the winter accompanied by an enterprising first XI squad and a thriving junior set-up, the best is still to come.

“The club desperately needed something like this,” he said. “It feels quite surreal at the moment. You don’t realise how many members and supporters come to watch and what this win means to them and the town. You can’t begin to think how big it is. It feels amazing.

“We’ve worked incredibly hard and we don’t want to wait another 29 years. Preparations are already under way for next season. That all comes from a thriving junior section who are in very good hands. We know we’ve got the right platform and we can push for more trophies. That’s firmly in our plans.”

Tripathi added: “I think we can go on to win more if we can keep this nucleus of players. Your professionals come and go and Adnan (Rasool) has been absolutely fantastic. You can’t always keep hold of somebody that good because there’s bigger cricket beyond the Lancashire League. If we can keep this group with the youngsters coming through then we’ve got what it takes. We are a force to be reckoned with.

“My brother won the Worsley Cup with Lowerhouse in 2004. He was only 16 when they won it. I’m 23 and I know what it means. My dad played in one in 1991 and played for Enfield. I don’t want this feeling to stop. I fully appreciate what this means to the club. It’s been a great but grueling process and I feel lucky to be part of an unbelievable club.”

Burnley have the chance to close the gap on rivals Ramsbottom in the chase for second place as the duo clash on Sunday at Turf Moor, start 1 p.m.