It’s all or nothing for the champions

Burnley captain Bharat Tripathi and wicket-keeper Chris Burton appeal in vain for a lbw decision in the game against Lowerhouse.
Burnley captain Bharat Tripathi and wicket-keeper Chris Burton appeal in vain for a lbw decision in the game against Lowerhouse.

The Lancashire League spotlight is on defending champions Burnley this weekend in a fixture that skipper Bharat Tripathi has described as a potential title decider.

The most decorated captain in Turf Moor history believes that tomorrow’s clash with Haslingden - the only action scheduled - is as big a game that the club has ever been involved in.

The game was re-scheduled following Burnley’s involvement in the LCB Knockout Cup where they were knocked out by Denton West CC.

The 26-year-old captain has featured in four successive Worsley Cup finals, winning each of those, and has triumphed on other domestic fronts including the league and Twenty20 competitions.

However, with Burnley facing a stern test from Ramsbottom in a bid to keep hold of their crown, the game in hand at Bentgate could prove crucial with just six points separating the top two.

“We’re not top of the league yet and that’s where we want to be,” he said. “We need to take our chance now by picking up as many points as possible. Our next game is huge; it’s a massive part of our season.

“We’re the only game on tomorrow and we need to win it. I’m sure the rest of the league will be keep tabs on it, especially Ramsbottom.”

He added: “We’re six points behind at the minute so we want to be in a position we’re the league is ours to lose. This is as big a game as I’ve been involved in.

“It’s as big as any Worsley Cup final that I’ve played in. It’s probably as big a game that the club has been involved in. It’s effectively a decider and it’s huge.

“I can’t stress enough how big this game is. The swing of points could be crucial. There is no halfway house, no compromise. There is literally two sides of the coin because it’s all or nothing.”

Just two games remain after this with Burnley hosting Bacup on Sunday while the current leaders entertain Rishton at Acre Bottom.

The season culminates on Sunday, September 11th where Burnley travel to Centre Vale to tackle Todmorden in a what could prove to be a final day showdown which sees Ramsbottom face Nelson at Seedhill.

Should Daryn Smit’s side fail to dethrone their rivals then Burnley would become only the second side to secure the double double.

“It would be great to emulate what East Lancs achieved,” said Tripathi. “It would be fantastic.

“If we’re successful tomorrow we’ll then look to win our remaining games and nail down the title.

“It’s really exciting to be involved in because there’s only two weekends left and it’s going right down to the wire.

“The reward would be even sweeter this time around if we can get over the line.”

Meanwhile, Lowerhouse’s quest for a top three finish continues against East Lancs at Alexandra Meadows.

And on the penultimate weekend of the Ribblesdale Cricket League term, Padiham’s promotion push takes them to Back Lane where they’ll encounter Baxenden while Read play Euxton at Balshaw Park.