Burnley captain Bharat Tripathi has described the LCB’s knockout competition as the FA Cup of cricket ahead of the club’s eagerly anticipated quarter-final tie against rivals Lowerhouse.
For the first time in the tournament’s history a Lancashire League representative will feature in the final four of the Lancashire Cricket Board’s county-wide cup as the pair lock horns at the Brooks Foundation Ground on Sunday.
Burnley, who only need this trophy to complete their collection of silverware having secured a clean sweep of domestic trophies last term, have beaten Heywood, Oswaldtwistle Immanuel and holders Bootle to reach this stage.
“The Lancashire League has never been represented in the semi-final of the LCB Knockout Cup so it’s a huge occasion,” said Tripathi. “It would be great if we can progress.
“The hype around the fixture is always going to be accentuated. I’m sure it will be another good battle and another good game of cricket.
“It’s the FA Cup of Lancashire cricket but it’s something that our league hasn’t really embraced before.
“It’s a massive competition and clubs around the county take it really seriously. Up until 2013 the final was played at Old Trafford which suggests just how big it is.”
Questions surrounding the magnitude of the derby have become more and more prominent in recent campaigns with both clubs imposing themselves across all competitions.
The rivalry between the duo has always been intense, games have always had a competitive edge, but there’s certainly more riding on the outcome of the clashes nowadays.
Tripathi feels that the growth of the fixture is testament to the work that is being carried out at opposite ends of the town. “It’s a huge fixture,” he said. “We always talk about whether this is the biggest derby that there has been.
“The same question has been asked the last five or six times that we’ve played each other.
“The games just keep getting bigger and better and this is certainly a massive one. There’s just more riding on it each time and that’s just an indication of how well both clubs are doing.
“We’re both strong and competing in all competitions. Both clubs can be proud of what they’ve achieved and the standards that they’re setting.”
Reward for the victor will be a semi-final away tie against either Denton West CC or Ormskirk CC on Sunday, August 21st.
“We want to become the best side in the county,” said Tripathi. “Bootle have done tremendously well over the past decade and they’ve proven to be the best team in Lancashire.
“Now it’s another clubs turn to take on the mantel. It’s an exciting competition to be a part of and I experienced it a bit when my Dad (Pankaj) played for Padiham It breaks up that regularity that you get with the league.
“Winning everything sounds glorious but it’s certainly not the motivation. We’re eager to become one of the forces of Lancashire cricket.”
Burnley travel to Church in the league tomorrow.