War of words between rivals has added spice to Turf Moor derby!

Derby day: Burnley skipper Bharat Tripathi appealing during the derby at Turf Moor last August
Derby day: Burnley skipper Bharat Tripathi appealing during the derby at Turf Moor last August

There’ll be no motivational speeches, rallying cries, or words of wisdom from Burnley skipper Bharat Tripathi ahead of the derby with local rivals Lowerhouse at Turf Moor on Sunday.

The talking has already been done. A war of words has ensued between representatives of both clubs, helping to heighten the tension ahead of the eagerly anticipated Lancashire League encounter, but actions speak louder than words.

Tripathi is well aware that it’ll take more than a demoralising slur, a jovial quip or a witty critic to lift his side off the basement of the table, and so the time has come for his players to pick up their tools and do battle on the field.

“I don’t need to motivate the players for this,” declared Tripathi. “The motivation will always be there but it grows when you’re playing your local rivals. The availability of players spikes when we play Lowerhouse so we’ve got the resources. We just need to put our skills in to practice and execute them properly.

“There’s been a lot of spoken competition already so it will be good to scrap it out on the field and come out on top. It should be a good advert for the Lancashire League.”

But before all that Burnley entertain Nelson in the mini-derby on home soil tomorrow. “We’ve got two home games, both are very big fixtures with Sunday’s derby obviously having a bit more spice to it,” Tripathi said. “We start off with Nelson where we’ll be hoping to pick up a win going in to the game with Lowerhouse because it’s going to be huge.

“Those are two games you really want to win, particularly now because we need to get up and running. If you come out on top against your rivals it’s great for confidence and we can finally put the poor league start behind us. We’re determined to win and things will start to turn around for us if we do.”

Meanwhile, Lowerhouse chairman Stan Heaton is expecting Burnley to bring out the big guns for Sunday’s derby.

The likes of county siblings David and Michael Brown, plus Derbyshire all-rounder Jonathan Clare have been used sparingly by Tripathi, though the trio featured in Burnley’s seven-wicket Worsley Cup win over Colne earlier in the month.

“The club is very much looking forward to the derby,” said Heaton. “Playing against Burnley is the highlight of the season. They’re not in great form but they are a dangerous side and we don’t know who they’ll have available.

“At the moment it appears they have a cup team and a league team but I imagine they’ll role out all the big guns against us. It’s going to be a difficult fixture and they’ll be up for it.”

The one-wicket loss to Church at the weekend was the West Enders’s third reverse of the campaign to date, and Heaton knows they can’t afford many more slip ups.

“We’ll absolutely be up for it,” he said. “I can’t over-emphasis how important this game is. It’s only a small town and there’s plenty of bragging rights at stake. I don’t think there’s really an advantage to playing at home in cricket.

“You can get a different wicket every week with our weather. But we’re well supported and have a great away following. Maybe our representation will swing the advantage in our favour.

“It’s clear the derby means a great deal to Burnley. We are slightly more reserved but it still means a lot to us. We’ve already lost three games so we can’t afford to lose many more. It’d be nice to go on a 20 match unbeaten run.”

Ahead of Saturday’s mini-derby with Colne at the Horsfield, Heaton added: “Colne’s pro (Ali Azmat) is dangerous, especially when you look at what he did on the opening day.

“Anybody can beat anybody in this league so we won’t be taking any opposition lightly. It would do us a world of good if we can pick up two maximums. We need to bounce back from the disappointment against Church.”