RIBBLESDALE Wanderers will bid to defend their Ramsbottom Cup crown at The Applegarth next month after they breezed past Padiham to set up another final fling yesterday.
And the Ribblesdale League’s showpiece final at Earby will see them face Cherry Tree, who edged out last year’s runners up in a penultimate ball thriller at Brooksbottom with Nas Iqbal the star of the show.
The veteran former East Lancashire pace bowler launched a six off the fifth ball of the 50th and final over to spark wild scenes of delight for Cherry.
Wanderers were big winners over Padiham but their 114-run winning margin didn’t quite tell the story as there was a huge turning point as they took first knock at Church Meadow.
After a 51-run opening stand, Wanderers were wobbling slightly on 69-3 when dangerman Brannon Varley skied one to leave hearts in mouths. Padiham overseas amateur Darryl Lopser jogged around from mid-off to take responsibility – but spilled the catch.
Varley had just moved into his 30s at that stage – and he went on to punish Losper and company, making 103.
Mick Clarkson was the only other Wanderers man to offer too much of a threat as the wickets tumbled late on and they were bowled out for 249 in the 48th over.
That was a tall order for Padiham and despite a bright start they were soon in trouble and it took some late hitting from Jimmy Gray to get them up to their final 135 all out.
Brooksbottom piled up a healthy 239-9 in their game with Cherry and seemed to be heading into the final.
Cherry needed six off the final over with just one wicket left. But Iqbal launched David Brown’s fifth ball over the ropes to finish on 38 not out and send Cherry to Earby.