Darwen hoping it's third time lucky in Lancashire Knock Out Cup Final
Darwen CC captain Mark Friend is hoping that it's third time lucky when his side meet Clifton in the final of the 2018 Lancashire Knock Out Cup, sponsored by Heineken, this Sunday.
Darwen, twice beaten finalists in 1994 and 2006, will be looking to write their name on the trophy for the first time and pick up their first silverware of the season, following defeat in last week's Lancashire League T20 final.
“It’s a big achievement for the Club to reach this stage," said Friend. "We’ve got a good group of lads, spirit is high within the camp and we’re playing a lot of competitive cricket, looking at it, you could say third time lucky for us?
“Personally, I don’t see why not, there shouldn’t be a reason why we don't get over the line if we turn up on the day and perform like we know we can.
"There’s definitely going to be a good following from Darwen – hopefully the weather stays away and we get a decent crack at it. This is our last chance at winning something this year, we’ve gone the distance in the majority of the competitions but this is the last go at some silverware."
Darwen will travel to Ormskirk having seen off Bootle in round three before defeating hosts Ormskirk themselves in the semi-final.
Bootle and Ormskirk boast a rich history in the Lancashire Knock Out Cup, with 10 titles between them, five of them in the last 10 years, and Friend believes that his side's tough route to the final stands them in good stead ahead of Sunday's showpiece ocassion.
“The lads are really looking forward to it, there’s a real buzz about the club," he said. "We've beaten some big team's to get here and that fills us with confidence, not just the wins but the manner in which we have won the matches.
"It's a testament to the lads to have reached this stage of the tournament. It’s been a great, consistent team effort, we’ve scored runs, taken wickets and bowled consistently well - there’s been no real weak link.
“We showed great fight in the Bootle tie, which was a low scoring game and they didn’t chase down the total of 160 that we set - we edged them by seven runs.
“In the Ormskirk semi-final, we looked a bit ropey at 40-4 and then Kami [Kamran Amwar] came in and blasted 46 from 20 balls. It turned out to be a match winning knock, as the bowlers did a great job to get us to the win in a reduced game."
Calvin Savage, Darwen's South African overseas pro, played a huge role in helping them to the final, has now returned home. But Friend is confident in his side's ability to step-up in his absence.
"Of course anybody would miss a player like Calvin," he added. "But, the way this team gels together is the key thing to look out for, when we gel together we’re pretty unstoppable.
“We have guys batting throughout the order, it’s great to have Amma [Mizra] back, he’s been a consistent performer for us year in year out with the bat.
“We’ve got Kami, who is a genuine all-rounder and probably batting a bit lower than he should be doing, which just shows the strength in the team."
The Lancashire Knockout Cup Final takes place at Ormskirk Cricket Club, this Sunday 2 September with an 11am start.
Entry is free for 2018 Members who show their pass upon arrival.