Ramsbottom Cup: Quartet aim for final glory

Padiham skipper Callum Clarke

Padiham skipper Callum Clarke

First published in Sport

CUP holders Ribblesdale Wanderers put their crown on the line tomorrow as they look to cast indifferent league form to one side as the Ramsbottom Cup reaches the semi-final stage.

Wanderers, who beat Brooksbottom to lift the famous old trophy last season, entertain lowly Padiham at Church Meadow in what could be a high class game, while Cherry Tree make the trip to The Brox to face Brooksbottom.

In a twist both last four clashes feature one of last year’s finalists against a side who finished in the relegation zone in 2013 to give the latter stages of the competition a refreshing look.

Wanderers claimed the glory last term when they beat Brooksbottom in the showpiece that ran into a second day after bad weather as they picked up a second Ramsbottom Cup in three years.

And they have developed a happy knack in the cups this season.

As well as charging into the last four, Charlie Jackson’s men also stunned a full strength Bootle on Merseyside in the Lancashire Cup but their form in the league has not been the best and they are at the bottom of Section A.

They go in search of a fourth league win this afternoon when Padiham make their first of two weekend visits to Church Meadow – and that is a big game for both sides.

Like Wanderers, Padiham’s league form has left a lot to be desired but skipper Callum Clarke is developing a team for the future - and it is a team capable of a big display as the quarter-final proved when they turned league leaders Clitheroe over.

Ashley Gowers has been a man in form for Brooksbottom and will be the key man as his side face Cherry Tree at The Brox.

Former Enfield ace and current Lancashire second team wicketkeeper Gowers was the star of the quarter-final as his brilliant 95 not out led his men to a shock victory over Barnoldswick.

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However, Brooksbottom’s league form has been dreadful – or it was until last weekend when they claimed that elusive first win at the 10th time of asking with Gowers once again the main man as he led the Brox to victory over Padiham.

Cherry Tree are a completely different side to the one that struggled last year with Mark Hadfield building for the future and they travel to Summerseat fancying their chances of making this year’s final, which takes place at Earby.

Hadfield has crafted a side with a nice mix of youth and experience with the likes of wily old foxes Rob Ince and Nas Iqbal joined in the team by young guns like the talented Kelan Florentine and fast bowling overseas amateur Ruan Sadler, who has already signed terms to return to the club next season.

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