EMOTIONAL Ribblesdale Wanderers skipper Ian Britcliffe hailed his players’ “immense effort” in beating favourites Read to win a remarkable Ramsbottom Cup Final at Padiham on Sunday.
Chasing Read’s 236-9, Wanderers saw the asking rate go from nine and a half an over to 11, and with five overs remaining they still required 56.
However, professional Mohammed Wajihuddin stepped up to the plate, bringing up his century and the winning runs with a huge six, with two balls to spare, sparking a pitch invasion and delirious celebrations as Ribblesdale claimed their first cup win since 1999, and first silverware since the league title in 2000.
Britcliffe beamed: “It was the most amazing second innings I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing – it was incredible.
“Ninety-nine out of a hundred people would have had us down as underdogs, but what a day! And to finish like that was superb.”
While 237 to win looked a daunting prospect, Britcliffe was happy to not be chasing more at tea: “Padiham prepared a superb wicket, and the ground looked immaculate.
“We were going to bat first, but lost the toss, but we thought five or six an over was very chaseable.
“We hadn’t been battered around. We felt even if we got behind the rate, one or two big overs would swing it back round, and so it proved.
“But to be missing two or three players, Mark Briggs played with a broken thumb and Ric Clarkson, the second team wicketkeeper, had barely faced up to the pro’s bowling before – all the lads grafted brilliantly – they were immense.”
Britcliffe added: “I’ve played 30 years and never been involved in anything like that.”
Forward planning meant the team booked Monday off, and after spending time with their hosts and Read at Padiham, the party cranked into full swing back at Church Meadow.
• For the full report, see today’s Clitheroe Advertiser