Ribblesdale Wanderers will march on to Cherry Tree’s Preston Old Road ground looking to become champions when they contest the Ramsbottom Cup final.
Martin Briggs’ men defeated Earby by 46 runs at Church Meadow over the weekend, earning a place in the final against league newcomers Brooksbottom on Sunday, July 28th.
Since the competition’s inauguration in 1966, Wanderers have lifted the trophy just twice. The silverware was first harboured in the club’s trophy cabinet in 1999 and then in the 2011 campaign paid man Muhammad Wajihuddin smashed an unbeaten 102 to cement a four-wicket win over rivals Read at the Arbories.
Former captain and cup winner Ian Britcliffe said: “It would be nice to go on and win it again. The day we had at Padiham two years ago when beating Read was unbelievable. We just worked really against Earby and got our just rewards.
“We didn’t think our total was going to be enough at first but everyone chipped in and we got through in the end. They bowled very well at the start and were strong when batting but they were 60-2 we got going. From there it was a great battling display to restrict them.”
Britcliffe added: “It was a great game and a fantastic atmosphere so it was a great day for the club. It keeps our season going and gives these young players something to aim for so we’re delighted. They’ve worked hard for their success. “
Briggs’ introduction as skipper has seen a new generation emerge at the club with the youngsters proving the catalyst for this season’s charge.
Briggs led by example in the final, firing 37 of a 144 tally before Brannon Varley added his expertise with the ball when taking a remarkable - and arguably match-winning - six wickets at the expense of just 22 runs.
“We’ve got a great young side with five or six lads aged under 21,” said Britcliffe. “The professional is a young Australian as well and he’s a superb player. We’re really starting to gel as a unit and everyone’s enjoying their cricket. We won’t be mixing it with the likes of Clitheroe and Read just yet though.
“We can still realistically aim for a top four finish in the league and that will give us Lancashire Cup qualification again so that’s something else for us to play for. Martin Briggs is doing a great job helping this young side develop. He’s thriving in his role as captain.”