DARWEN chairman Graham Ainslie believes the chance to showcase cricket talents on the national stage is incentive enough for the four sides taking place in tomorrow’s TWP Wealth Twenty20 Finals Day – but is still hoping it will be his men who are celebrating victory.
Ainslie is promising that Darwen will be perfect hosts for the Chorley Building Society Northern League’s short form showpiece when the action gets underway at 11am.
And is also wants to see Jordan Clarke’s men deliver after their near miss 12 months ago.
The Towers were beaten by Netherfield in last year’s Northern League finals day when the event was blessed with hot sunshine and a big crowd in the Lake District.
And while Netherfield went on to lose to Ormskirk in the North West final, Ainslie believes the chance go toe-to-toe with big hitters from other leagues is something all players should aim for.
“It’s a prestigious competition and last year the final was at The Oval,” he said. “And because it goes national it offers players a great chance to test themselves against the best players from other leagues.
“But first things first, there are four very good teams through to the Northern League finals day and luckily we were one of them to qualify and got the chance to host.
“We got to finals day at Netherfield last year and even though we lost it was a terrific occasion on a beautiful day and we are hoping to put on a real spectacle for the fans.”
Darwen came through the ultra-tough South Group Two to win the right to host and in beating Leyland and Chorley they once again proved they are hard to beat in the short form.
Their opponents in the first game at 11am are Blackpool, who themselves upset the odds to win South Group One at the expense of Fleetwood and St Annes.
The winners of that match will then face either Lancaster or Netherfield in the final.
The Bombers and the Nitros face off at 2pm and that game promises to be good.
Netherfield are red-hot favourites to retain their crown with skipper Marc Brown believing he can lift the trophy again.
“I’m confident we can go and win it and I’m quite bold about that,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of confidence in this format.
“To retain the trophy would be fantastic – it’s the first silverware available for the year and we’ve done pretty well over the last few years in the competition.
“We have a good line up for the format and pretty much have all stations covered.”
Ainslie accepts that Netherfield are most people’s fancies for the day and added: “They are a very good side and ideally from our point of view it would be better if Lancaster could beat them in the semi-final.
“But we have to beat Blackpool first and that won’t be an easy game.
“But we are all looking forward to it and hopefully the weather is kind and we get a good crowd on.”
Darwen have decided that admission will be free but they are asking all fans to buy a raffle ticket on the day.