Burnley and Lowerhouse hoping for dream cup final
The two rivals haven’t faced each other in the competition’s showpiece in the 92 seasons that it has existed but, with both separated in the semi-finals, this could be the year.
It was close to happening in 2014 when Burnley beat Nelson at Turf Moor in the final four only for the West Enders to slip up against Rawtenstall at the Worswick Memorial Ground.
The duo were also paired together in the semi-final either side of that with history-makers Burnley prevailing on each occasion.
While Ben Heap’s side take on Crompton at the Brooks Foundation Ground on July 8th, Burnley will have to wait on the outcome of Todmorden and Ramsbottom this weekend to see who they’ll do battle with.
“That has got to be the dream,” said Pickup. “Both clubs will want that. You’re probably looking for each other to lose normally but that would be an amazing spectacle if we can pull that off between us. We’re going well at the minute so we fancy ourselves against anybody.
“It’s never happened before which is very strange, especially when there’s only been 14 teams involved for so long.
“It would be ironic if it happened this time with there being 24 teams. It would be brilliant for the town.
“There’s still a lot to do yet for it to happen but I would love to be a part of that occasion. We’ve met in the semi-final a few times.
“We’ve both been doing really well over the past 10 or 15 years so it’s surprising that it’s never quite worked out.
“We’ve both got good teams in front of us before we can think about it though. It would be the pinnacle of league cricket at this level.”
Meanwhile, Stan Heaton has seen Lowerhouse through thick and thin.
The West Enders didn’t make any impression in the cup, now in its 93rd year, until 1980 when, under its revamped banner of the Martini Trophy, they lost out to East Lancs.
They’ve won the competition twice since, in 2004 and 2012, while losing out to their rivals in the semi-finals twice in the last five years.
“We didn’t win anything for 142 years,” said Heaton. “I’m willing to bet that we didn’t get past the quarter-finals until 1980. I’m not surprised at all.
“A final against Burnley would create history and we like doing that. A home final is potentially very lucrative. It would be a big crowd and potential for it to be a record.
“We can’t look too far ahead though. Crompton are a very good side and they’re romping up the table. We’ll just take it one step at a time.”
Ben Heap’s side are now up to fourth in the Lancashire League following victory over East Lancs at the weekend and Heaton is hoping the club can keep piling the pressure on leaders Walsden.
“It was an excellent weekend,” he said. “We climbed up to fourth in the league.
“I would be astonished if Walsden went through the entire season unbeaten.
“We’ll just have to keep plugging away and hope that they slip up.”
Padiham must beat Whalley in the final group game of the Twenty20 if they’re to stand any hope of progressing in the competition.
Padiham, currently at the foot of Group Two, are a couple of points adrift of their opponents, who will occupy the final qualification spot going in to the match at the Arbories tonight.
Read are all but assured a spot in the knockout stages having accrued two wins from their four fixtures and they close the group stages against second place Settle at Whalley Road.
Padiham will then welcome Feniscowles in the Ribblesdale Cricket League tomorrow while Read take on Barnoldswick at Victory Park.
Padiham are currently fifth in Senior League A having gained promotion from the bottom tier last term.
They’ve won half of their six fixtures to date, taking 36 points.
Read are one place above in the hierarchy, on the same points, but they have a game in hand.