Burnley aren’t far away from winning their 15th league title according to captain Bharat Tripathi.
Another capture of the championship trophy would see Burnley become the second most successful club in Lancashire League history as they would leapfrog East Lancs but remain comfortably short of Nelson’s decorated existence.
Silverware has evaded the Turf Moor outfit since 2006 when a six-wicket win on the final day against Haslingden snatched the trophy from the clutches of Bacup who had fallen to a 48-run reverse at Dill Hall Lane at the hands of Enfield.
But recent form suggests that Burnley are on the right tracks. Eight wins from a possible nine has seen them climb to fourth in the hierarchy, just 13 points shy of rivals Lowerhouse who currently occupy second place. And had it not been for a lethargic start to the campaign - where they won just three of their opening eight fixtures - Burnley could now be challenging Accrington for pole position.
There’s plenty to be optimistic about away from the league as well. While the first XI could snap up their first Worsley Cup triumph in 29 years when they take on Haslingden on August 11th, the second string will take on Nelson at Seedhill in the Junior Cup final tomorrow which starts at 12-30 p.m.
“We’ve crept up that table quite nicely with just one loss in nine games,” said Tripathi. “But even that feels like some time ago because we’ve won three consecutive matches since then. We are doing pretty well and everyone is in decent form.
“We are very disappointed that we didn’t start the season properly because the XI we’ve put out each week has been consistent. You only have to look at our last nine games to see what we’re capable of.
“Accrington will probably win the championship but second place is up for grabs. It would be superb if we could add that to the Worsley Cup. We’ve just got to aim as high as possible.
“It’s hard to stomach at times but we’ve got to get over the start we had. Confidence is sky high now and so are our expectations. We’re playing some phenomenal stuff at the moment in an ultra competitive league.”
In Qasim Ali there’s one of the best, most potent amateur batsmen in the division with almost 700 runs to his name while Chris Burton and Tripathi himself have surpassed 300. Pakistani professional Adnan Rasool has worked wonders with the ball - accumulating 55 scalps this term - while teenager Cole Hayman and Tripathi have hit the 20 mark. Add to that former county players David and Michael Brown, plus a blossoming and determined squad of players, then there’s the nucleus for future success.
Tripathi added: “There’s no doubt about it - we’ve got the personnel to win this league. It’s definitely a realistic ambition, we just need to keep this nucleus of players together. There’s no guarantees on that though. Adnan Rasool has been exceptional but he might get an offer from elsewhere or get in to the Pakistan squad.
“It’s hard to plan for next year but things will naturally develop. We are showing championship form now and if we keep that familiarity and consistency by maintaining our base of amateur players then we stand a chance.”
Burnley host Rishton tomorrow with the matcyh commencing at 1 p.m.
Meanwhile, with seven fixtures remaining, it looks as though the Lancashire League trophy will be heading to Thorneyholme Road as Accrington opened up a 47-point gap over Lowerhouse.
The Twenty20 champions will entertain Enfield tomorrow at the Neville Gee Recruitment Ground in Liverpool Road, which again starts at 1 p.m.
Elsewhere, in the Houldsworth Solicitors Ribblesdale Cricket League, third place Read will look to extinguish the hurt of defeat to Barnoldswick by beating Earby at Whalley Road tomorrow, start 1-30 p.m.
And after overcoming Whalley at the weekend, Padiham will be hoping to continue their journey towards survival when they face Great Harwood at the Cliffe.
Basement side Padiham currently trail Cherry Tree by 12 points with just nine games remaining to consolidate their status in the senior league.