NEVER mind the young guns, it's the golden oldies who have spearheaded Whalley's rousing revival in the Vaux Ribblesdale League this season.

And it could yet lead the Station Road club to one of the coveted Lancashire Cup places.

Whalley have spent the last couple of seasons looking up at the rest from the discomfort of the re-election zone.

But how times have changed, as one of the team's 'younger veterans' Andy Pratt explained.

"For the last two seasons we have been second from bottom but we are really enjoying it this year and everyone just seems to be gelling together." said Andy, one of several thirty-somethings who provide the nucleus of the side.

"Apart from a century by Mark Fallon recently, the improvement hasn't really been down to outstanding individual performances.

"Everyone has chipped in with 20s and 30s and the wickets have been evenly spread. "We've beaten some good sides too. We beat both Great Harwood and Ribblesdale Wanderers in thrilling games.

"Perhaps you could say the key factors are age and experience.

"John Kearsley and Dave Westwood are in their 40s, people like Mark Fallon, Paul Mackintosh, Nick Keighley and myself are all in our 30s. We're certainly not a young side."

Whalley's professional Jason Smith is an exception to that rule and the former Nelson amateur has slotted in nicely at Station Road.

"We are always on a limited budget for the professional, we can't go and pay £10,000 for a Test player," he added.

"That's why we tend to look for good amateurs from the other leagues."

They won't, of course, catch the top two but leaders Cherry Tree face what could be a tricky test in their quest to complete a league and cup double.

Reigning champions Earby will be eager to show that Cherry Tree will have to earn the right to take their title, while second-placed Clitheroe will be aiming to atone for last weekend's slip when they entertain Blackburn Northern.

Padiham are searching for a substitute professional to replace Mark Harvey who is on county duty.

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