Darwen edged to their first Lancashire League title on Sunday at Greenmount, Bury, but their star player was missing from the team photo after a nail-biting win – Indian professional Siddhesh Lad who had to return home to Mumbai because of commitments over there, writes Harold Heys.

But over 4,500 miles – and gone midnight over there –wasn’t going to stop the Birch Hall lads from putting him in the picture – literally. They linked up with him on a mobile phone and his big smile said it all.

“We had to get Sid involved in the celebrations,” said Darwen skipper Scott Friend. “He’s hammered over a thousand runs for us this season and has been very popular with everyone over here.”

Sid suggested his pal Punit Bisht who has been starring in the Northern League with Garstang, as his stand-in and the Indian stole the show with a knock of 157 at a strike rate of 128 per cent. It carried Darwen to a total of 289 and relegation-threatened Greenmount battled valiantly before going down just 13 runs short.

In the six seasons since Darwen joined the Lancashire League, forgetting the Covid write-off season, they have now won everything on offer – the Lancashire Cup, the Worsley Cup, the T-20 title and now the League crown.