CUP specialists Darwen are aiming to be a knockout success...but in the league.

The Birch Hall club have won trophies in three of the last four seasons and are chasing silverware on two fronts again this term.

They are through to the semi finals of the Worsley Cup and tomorrow continue their defence of the Lancashire Cricket Foundation Knockout Cup when they host Blackpool in the quarter finals of the county competition.

However, the Lancashire League Division One table does not make pretty reading with Darwen currently in joint 10th place - a position improved thanks to victories on their last two outings.

Captain Scott Friend is under no illusions what the club’s priorities are this season - survival not silverware.

“There is no point in winning a cup and then getting relegated,” said the 27-year-old who took over captaincy duties from his brother Mark. “In an ideal situation, we stay up and we go on and win one of the cup competitions.

“But if I had to choose between the two, I would definitely pick staying in Division One.”

Friend is confident Darwen are good enough to stay up and back-to-back wins over Clitheroe and Ramsbottom have put them in touching distance with teams immediately above them in the league.

Darwen won the Readers Cup in the Northern League in 2015 then lifted the Worsley Cup in their debut season in the Lancashire League two years later.

Last season, they beat Clifton to win the Lancashire Cricket Foundation Knockout Cup for the first time. While having five genuine bowlers in their ranks has helped their cause in the cups, Friend is frank in the assessment of his team’s performances in the league.

"In the first half of the season we just haven’t been good enough and I don’t really know why,” he said.

“We haven’t been able to put out the same team every weekend and that never helps but we know we have to improve and we have shown signs of that in our last two games.”

Darwen face a tough trip to a rejuvenated Lowerhouse side in the league today, the pre-season favourites on a roll and up to second in the table.

They then host a Blackpool side in the LCF KO Cup tomorrow - the Fylde Coast side playing without a professional.

Friend is targetting a double victory.

“Lowerhouse will be tough because they have hit some form but I know we are capable of beating them,” said Friend. “Blackpool have lost a few and don’t have a pro but we will not take them lightly.”