It does not get much bigger than this.
Burnley and Lowerhouse square up against each other in next Sunday’s Worsley Cup semi-final for what promises to be one of the biggest games of the season so far.
Both sides booked a place in the semi-final with relative ease but Burnley captain Bharat Tripathi is expecting an “ultra competitive” game when the two fierce rivals turn out at Turf Moor.
“It’s obviously the biggest game of the season so far,” he said. “It’s always special against Lowerhouse. There’s a couple of league games to play before it but everyone’s looking ahead to this one. Once we step out to play a league game we switch onto that but then as soon as it finishes we’ll be back to thinking about this. A lot of the lads couldn’t sleep the night before the quarter final so it’ll be the same for this one, if not worse.”
Tripathi said although his side’s league form had been indifferent this season this was something that could work in their favour come the cup.
“We can catch teams off guard. They don’t know which Burnley first team is going to turn up and it’s our job to work on making sure it’s the right one. As long as we go out there and play our game we’ll be confident.”
Lowerhouse pro Francois Haasbroek was just as excited about the draw.
“It’s a mouth-watering affair,” he said. “In the Worsley Cup anything goes. Anybody can win.
“It was a big weekend for us and the lads played like champions. We’re getting form at the right time of the season.
“This season we are the team to beat and we have to make sure we reach a certain level in every game. If we do that then we have an excellent chance.”
This weekend sees Burnley take on Todmorden in the league at home while Lowerhouse travel to East Lancs. The other Worsley Cup semi-final sees Nelson pitted against Haslingden.
In the Ribblesdale Cricket League, Read’s victory over Barnoldswick at the weekend has set up a tantalising fixture with leaders Clitheroe tomorrow at Whalley Road - start 1-30 p.m. - with just two points separating the sides.
Skipper Kyle O’Connor admits the prospect of overtaking Paul Gaskell’s men this weekend is mouth-watering with the rivallry between the two growing in ferocity. “I haven’t seen confidence as high as this in years,” he said. “It definitely makes my life easier as captain. Everyone is playing to their strengths and it’s paying off. Everybody is contributing and we are feeling very good as a side.
“It would be nice to get one over on Clitheroe. We’re always clashing with them because there’s a big rivalry that’s been there for a while. There’s a bit of jealousy between the two clubs with us both pushing for titles. There’s always something in the water.”
He added: “This will be the biggest game we’ve had during my captaincy. It would be nice to win and lead the group so they’ll be chasing us rather than the reverse. On current form I’m backing us to beat them.”
Meanwhile, Padiham captain Callum Clarke insists his team-mates aren’t feeling the pressure of relegation this early in the season despite dropping to the foot of the table.
This weekend is a ‘must win’ fixture for the Arbories outfit as they entertain Cherry Tree who are third from bottom but 20 points clear of Padiham.
“This is the first season a relegation format has been introduced and it’s fallen on a year where we’ve struggled at the start,” said Clarke.
“People were disappointed when we dropped to the bottom of the division, but they know their own abilities. It’s the same squad that finished sixth last year so we know there’s plenty of talent among the ranks. We just need our confidence back.
“It’s a game we’re desperate to win but we’re not feeling any pressure yet. It’s just a blip but we know our luck will soon change.”
• Lowerhouse opener Jonny Whitehead made his debut for Lancashire seconds at Warwickshire on Wednesday.