THE battle for the first silverware of the season reaches boiling point on Friday night when three more teams bid to join already qualified Nelson in the last four of the Moorhouse’s Twenty20.

But Mark Bolton of East Lancashire, one of the sides battling it out for qualification, says he can’t believe just how tight his group is – and reckons calculators might be needed in the kitbags on Friday.

East Lancashire’s Group A is the most intriguing with four sides locked together on four points.

East Lancashire need a big win over Enfield at Alexandra Meadows while needing Church and Accrington to be involved in a low scoring game in the group’s other match.

Bolton admits it’s a long shot for his men to qualify and laughed: “It’s so tight I think I might tell the lads to go out and get 300 in 20 overs and then bowl Enfield out for 13!

“Seriously though I have never known a group where four teams can still go through on the last round of games and the odds are really stacked against us.

“Enfield are a very good side and are also going for qualification and it will be a hard game.

“But all we can do is go out there and try our best and see where it takes us – although I’ll be taking my calculator along on Friday night.

“Hopefully we’ll have good weather, a decent crowd and a busy bar. That’s all we can ask for.”

Neil Thompson’s Nelson have finished their Group C programme and cannot be caught after four wins from four – and that means defending champions Lowerhouse face a battle to make it into the semi-finals.

For Charlie Cottam’s men to qualify as best runners-up they must beat Colne by a big margin at The Horsfield and hope Edenfield beat Haslingden at Gincroft Lane to stop the Bentgate outfit topping Group B.

Haslingden are level on points with Ramsbottom and a win will put them on top but Ramsbottom have the best run-rate in the competition by some distance and even if they come second they would be in the box seat to progress.