DARWEN chairman Graham Ainslie is promising cricket fans two great days over the next two weeks as the Birch Hall club stages a prestigious Northern League double.
The Towers will step out on their own patch on Sunday for the league’s popular Twenty20 finals day before the best of the league’s U21s will grace Birch Hall against the MCC on Friday, July 11, and Ainslie is determined to see Darwen make a big impression.
“It’s a great honour to have these two occasions,” he said. “The MCC game will be a special occasion but we have won the right to host finals day after winning our group and hopefully we can also make an impression on the pitch on Sunday.
“The league splits into four groups for the Twenty20 with the final at one of the winners grounds on a rota so you can’t host it more than once in every four years and that is only if you win you group.
“We did well to win the group with the likes of Leyland, who are always competitive, and Chorley, who are doing well in the National Knockout, up against us and there is an added incentive when you know that finals day is on your own ground.
“And we are working hard to make Sunday and the MCC game a big success – and hopefully we can also have success on the field.”
Darwen reached finals day last year after winning South Group Two and after beating Fleetwood in the semi-final they lost to hosts Netherfield on a scorching Sunday at Parkside Road.
“We have quite a good record in the T20 down the years and won it a few times and it would be superb to do it again, especially with being the hosts.
“Netherfield had a lovely day for it last year and I hope we have a similar day – and we are going to work hard to make it a success.”
Darwen take to the field in the first game of the day at around 11am with Lancaster facing Netherfield in the second semi-final.
The final will then follow sometime after 5pm and Ainslie is hoping for a good day.
“The weather would be a bonus but I hope people come along. We are going down the route of making it free admission and we’ll have the bar open and a barbeque going and it will be a good day.”
Darwen faced a wait to find out if they were to win through to finals day after Leyland faced Chorley.
They needed a huge win with 200 runs required off 10 overs to pip Darwen to the post but after an impressive bowling display saw Chorley restricted to 160-7 progress was impossible.
Meanwhile, Darwen bounced back to form in the Northern League on Sunday when they beat Lancaster in comprhensive style at Birch Hall.
After topping the table in the middle of last month Darwen suffered a slight stagger and have slipped down to third place.
They are still only 37 points behind current leaders and reigning champions Leyland at the halfway stage of the season but face a test of their mettle on Saturday when they make the trip to Vernon Road to face an in-form St Annes.
While there has been much talk about Andrew Flintoff’s cricketing return on the Fylde coast the main man for Saints has been Toby Bulcock.
Baxenden’s former Rawtenstall and Accrington spinner hit a brilliant ton during Sunday’s loss to Netherfield.