The unicorn may be a fictitious animal descending from European folklore, but there was nothing imaginary about Burnley skipper Bharat Tripathi’s latest call-up.
While his team-mates were seeing off Bacup in the first round of the Worsley Cup, the 23-year-old joined older sibling Vishal and the rest of the Unicorns to face Yorkshire at Chesterfield’s Queen’s Park.
Bharat watched from the sidelines as 12th man as his brother was sent packing for a golden duck in the Yorkshire Bank 40 Group C fixture. But the Turf Moor captain is hopeful of featuring ahead of Sunday’s clash against Gloucestershire and Bank Holiday Monday’s game with Leicestershire. Other sides that make up the group are Glamorgan, Yorkshire, Somerset and Middlesex, which provides the opportunity to play at Lord’s.
“I’m in the squad of 14 for the Unicorns,” he beamed. “It was too good an opportunity to turn down. I had to take the chance because it’s like a shop window. It’s unbelievable and to be picked is a massive honour.
“There are some superb venues and I’ll be rubbing shoulders with some of the country’s best cricketers. It’s heart-breaking having to miss games with Burnley but this is a unique opportunity that is a world apart from the Lancashire League.”
Though the Unicorns went down by five wickets, Bharat’s misery was extinguished with news of Burnley’s progression to the Worsley Cup second round with a 13-run triumph at Lanehead.
“It was a really good result,” beamed Tripathi. “I was the 12th man for the Unicorns against Yorkshire so I was getting regular updates. We didn’t start well but Michael Brown and Dan Pickup along with the pro (Adnan Rasool) repaired the innings on a wet and soft track so our 155 total was a great effort. Michael demonstrated how one day cricket should be played. Stephen Brunt took his chance well. He’s not had much of an opportunity with the ball but he took their top three batsmen including the pro (Aubrey Swanepoel). Michael Kelly was also excellent.”
Burnley, who will host Ramsbottom in the next round on Saturday, June 8th, will entertain Colne in the mini-derby on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Lowerhouse’s South African professional Francois Haasbroek is insistant that the West Enders can retain their Lancashire League and Worsley Cup crowns.
The weather has proved detrimental to the start of Lowerhouse’s league defence, with Accrington surviving the elements to open up a 27-point gap.
“We’ve played well so far even though it’s been hard to get going. It’s always disappointing when you don’t play yet somebody else does.
“The weather won’t cost us the season, it just makes it a lot harder. But there’s a long way to go yet and we’re all excited for the summer because we want to get the double again.”
Haasbroek, who hit 79 in his side’s comprehensive cup win over Enfield to set up a second round tie away to Rishton, added: “It’s good to score runs and it’s always nice to contribute in a win. I scored an unbeaten 86 against Rammy but that doesn’t mean anything when you get beat.
“It’s good to get past the first hurdle in the cup. The support gets better the further you go and it was an amazing feeling to win it last year. This is the best supported club by far and the atmosphere can be amazing.”
Lowerhouse host Nelson in the mini-derby at the Neville Gee (Recruitment) Cricket Ground on Sunday, start 1 p.m.
In the Houldsworth Solicitors Ribblesdale Cricket League, Read travel to Earby tomorrow and host Padiham at Whalley Road on Sunday, start 1 p.m. Callum Clarke’s side will welcome Great Harwood to the Arbories tomorrow in search of a result that will move them away from the lower echelons of the league.