CLITHEROE and Ribblesdale Wanderers made it a magnificent Ribble Valley double as they stunned prestigious opposition on a memorable day in the LCB Lancashire Cup.
The cross-town rivals both booked their place in round three in some style with Clitheroe seeing off Northern League Barrow and Wanderers thumping Liverpool Competititon big hitters Bootle on Merseyside.
Clitheroe’s win came on run-rate in a tight affair at Chatburn Road – but it was so well deserved as they dug so deep on a testing slow and low track to post a winning score.
And when the rain poured down, they had just claimed what turned out to be a crucial second wicket – a wicket that broke Barrow hearts and put Clitheroe through thanks to Duckworth Lewis calculations.
Barrow won the toss and put Clitheroe in and it was hard going from the off, even though Farouk Butt and Tom Lord were trying their best to play their shots.
Lord was the first man caught by Barrow pro Kaustubh Pawar off Daryl Wearing.
And when Butt departed for 18, it was 34-2 and slow going but Jack Dewhurst and Janaka Guneratne were playing sensibly.
Dewhurst was looking good when he went for 23 but Peter Dibb and Guneratne were the key men as they really pushed the board beyond the 150 that seemed a decent target.
Guneratne made a classy 76, an innings in total contrast to his blockbusting double hundred at Cherry Tree a week previously and faced 100 balls with three sixes and six fours before his innings was brought to an end by a Greg Reynolds catch on the edge.
Dibb also batted well and hit 37 from 31 balls with two fours and two giant sixes and by the end of their 45 overs Clitheroe had posted 188-7, a good total and one that was always going to test Barrow’s resolve.
Dean Williams could only make three before he was undone by Guneratne, although you had to feel real sympathy for Barrow’s wicketkeeper.
Guneratne’s ball was short and seemed prime for pulling – but Williams was left aghast when it virtually rolled along the deck and took his stumps with the score on 29.
Pawar is a quality pro and he was looking comfortable and with Ryan Brown joining him Barrow were perhaps favourites. Luck also seemed to be on their side when Pawar had an astonishing escape off the bowling of Alex Hartley.
Hartley, one of the rising stars of the women’s game, was in her first over and enticed Brown into a straight drive.
Brilliantly Hartley, who really did bowl well, got down and flicked the ball onto the bowler’s end stumps and with Pawar a yard out of his ground even he had given up hope.
But the umpire, taking evasive action, did not have a clear view and said not out – and Pawar then started to open up as the clouds grew darker.
They were close to their required rate with one wicket down as their reply got past 20 overs and with Brown on 24 and Pawar 49 as the rain started. But Guneratne struck to bowl Brown – and that wicket proved crucial as the players were taken off for rain before another ball could be delivered and the calculations put Clitheroe ahead...just.
The rain stopped, the mopping up started but the rain came back and shortly before 7.30pm the game was called off with Clitheroe through. Ribb Wanderers also impressed as they rocked Bootle.
Bowled out for just 109 it seemed their trip to face the big hitters would end in pain.
But Ian Britcliffe claimed four wickets and there were two each for Jake Sunderland, Jon Wells and Mark Thompson as Bootle collapsed to 81 all out.