AUSTRALIAN run-machine Matthew Mott believes floodlit cricket could become the future of the Lancashire League as Rawtenstall and Haslingden prepare to make history at the Worswick Memorial Ground tonight.

For the first time in the Lancashire League's 121-year history, two of its member clubs will contest a game under lights when they meet in the first match of the inaugural Valley Floodlit cricket tournament.

And if the ground-breaking experiment proves a roaring success, then Mott believes floodlit cricket could become a regular feature of the league calendar over the next few years in a move which would bring one of the most famous competitions in the world into the 21st century.

"I think it's a great new concept and the whole of our club is buzzing at the prospect," said Mott.

"Not many people will have experienced floodlit cricket before so it should be quite spectacle.

"And, if it attracts a good crowd, then it could really take off.

"Who knows, somewhere down the line they might incorporate it into the Lancashire League fixture list at some point in the future.

"It might have cost the club a lot of money to put it on, but I think you've got to be open to ideas like this.

"I know our guys are probably looking forward to this even more than the matches at the weekend.

"So the next couple of days are likely to be critical because if it's successful then it might come back again next year."

The four-team tournament -- which also features Bacup and Ramsbottom -- was the brainchild of Rawtenstall's David Cooke-Martin.

And, like the day-night contests at County level, traditionalists could be in for a few surprises over the next few days.

Apart from the obvious novelty of playing under lights, all four teams will also dispense with their traditional 'whites' in favour of coloured clothing.

And each side is also allowed to field two other 'guests' as well as their own professionals for the 40-over-a-side contests, with Haslingden hoping to wheel out Lancashire's Andy Flintoff for this afternoon's curtain-raiser.

"It's going to be really interested to see exactly who gets selected and who doesn't with only eight places up for grabs for the amateurs," said Mott.

"I, personally, really enjoy playing under floodlights because there's something special about playing night cricket.

"There's a special sort of atmosphere and it's almost as if you are playing in a black box.

"So I'm sure everyone will enjoy the whole experience, providing the rain keeps off."

With the cost of hiring the lights for the week estimated at close to £1000, it's vital people turn up in their numbers to support the event.

And Rawtenstall were hoping for a bumper crowd in excess of a thousand for today's curtain-raiser.

As well as the possibility of a guest appearance from Flintoff, Rishton professional Clinton Perren and Victorian pace-bowler Michael Lewis were also expected to line up alongside Mott for Rawtenstall.

The winner of tonight's game will face the winners of tomorrow's contest between Bacup and Ramsbottom in Friday's final at the Worswick Memorial.

Each game starts at 3.30pm and will finish at around 10pm with entry costing £3 per game or £5 for a ticket to cover all three matches.

There will also be entertainment and disco on Friday evening after the final.