SCOTT Friend said it was a ‘special moment’ to lift the Worsley Cup on home soil after Darwen beat Todmorden by six wickets at Birch Hall.

Ian Cordingley produced a man-of-the-match performance with an unbeaten knock of 51 as the Towers lifted the cup for the second time in three seasons - but Friend’s first as captain.

“To win it at home and for everyone to be there to see us do it was a very special moment for all of us,” said Friend. “We have been in the Lancashire League for three seasons now and have lifted the cup twice which is a great achievement.

“Two years ago we won at Church but this time it was at home so, as a club, we could share the occasion together and we certainly celebrated afterwards!”

Friend, who opened the innings for Darwen, played his part with a nice knock of 24 but admitted he was nervous having to watch from the sidelines. “I was happy with my innings but at the same time a bit frustrated because I got myself in and I was feeling good,” he said. “It was then a case of just watching from the side hoping the rest of the lads could win it for us.

“It was a bit nerve-wracking but we did it and for me to win my first Worsley Cup as captain made it all the more special.”

Todmorden won the toss and elected to bat but got off to the worse possible start when they lost professional Alankara Silva for a duck, caught by Kamran Anwar off the bowling of Andrew Cook who took the first three wickets.

Fellow opener Bilal Abbas went for 18, caught by professional Marques Ackerman off Cook who then trapped Freddie Priestley for four and Todmorden were struggling on 26-3.

Chris Schofield (23) and Ben Sutcliffe (18) steadied the ship slightly before Schofield was cleaned bowled by Ackerman.

Kristian Garland (8) was next to go, caught and bowled by Cordingley before Noah Priestley (3) fell the same way, David Bowden the bowler on this occasion.

Sutcliffe’s 77-ball stay at the crease came to an end when he was caught by Ackerman off the bowling of Niall Burke before captain Andrew Sutcliffe, who scored 21, was caught by Mark Friend off Wade - the sixth different bowler to claim a wicket. Matthew Collins (13no) and Syed Rasool (5no) were at the crease as Todmorden closed on 137-8.

In reply, Darwen lost Ammer Mirza for just one run when he was caught by Schofield off the bowling of Andrew Sutcliffe.

But that was as good as it got for Todmorden as first Friend and Cordingley and then Cordingley and Ackerman took the game away from them.

Friend hit three fours and a six in his knock of 24 before he was caught by Silva off Collins.

However Cordingley (51no) and Ackerman shared a 47-run third wicket stand before Ackerman was caught by Sutcliffe off Rasool.

Sutcliffe showed safe hands to dismiss Jordan Clarke off Schofield for five before Mark Friend (16no) came to the crease to help guide Darwen to victory inside 40 overs.

“I think we were always in control but it was a cup final and anything can happen,” added Friend. “I said if we can get them out for under 180 then that is a total we can get after.

“John Cordingley did what he does best, rise to the big occasion and produce a man-of-the-match innings, just as he did against Church two years ago.

“That is what he is all about, if he doesn’t do it with the ball then he will do it with the bat.

“John and the pro (Marques Ackerman) took the game away from Tod with a nice little stand.

“But everyone played their part. We are a good cup team as we have proved in the last few seasons and have seven genuine bowlers while other sides struggle to get five.

“Six of them took wickets so it just goes to show that we don’t have to rely on one or two.”

Darwen won the Lancashire Federation Knockout Cup last season for the first time in the club’s history and are in the final again when they face fellow Lancashire League side Norden on September 8.

Before that, the Towers - who are third from bottom of Division One - have four league games left to play.

“If we win two of them we should be fine,” said Friend. “If we only win one, then it might be touch and go.”