CHURCH skipper Levi Wolfenden expects tonight’s T20 semi-final clash with Rishton to pack them in at Blackburn Road.

The local rivals meet to battle for a place in the final against Todmorden after seeing last Friday’s first attempt to settle the matter rained off.


Church have good pedigree in the reduced-overs format, winning the title two years ago and reaching two further finals in the last six seasons.

And Wolfenden knows the magnitude of the final-four fixture, which sees local bragging rights as well as the chance of lifting silverware next month at stake.

“It’s a massive game,” said Wolfenden. “It’s a semi-final between two local sides, so there should be a lot of people watching, especially as it’s the only cricket on in the area that night.

“We’ve already played them once in the group stages this year and it should be a good game with a place in the final at stake.

“We’ve been quite strong in T20 over the past five years and I reckon we’ve only lost three or four games in that time.

“But T20 is a game in which anything can happen and you can’t leave anything on the field.

“Our league form has not been spectacular and the T20 has been a highlight of our season so far.

“But for us it’s more about the young players at the club getting games week in, week out.

“You’ve got to take the rough with the smooth and things have to change to move forward. We’re in that two to three years where we have players coming through, gaining experience and developing the skills.”

Wolfenden has been Church’s most prolific batsmen this season, making 234 runs in six games so far. Professional Zain Abbas will also be a threat to the Rishton bowlers.

The skipper also singled out youngster Kamran Basharat as a threat, saying: “He’s a good all-round bowler. He won the trophy with us in 2014 and he wants to win it again.”

Rishton boast the T20 competition’s second top run scorer in paid man Shaun von Berg, who has 308 so far, and best bowler in Brad Boddie who boasts 13 scalps.

Wolfenden said: “Obviously their pro is decent, and Brad is only young but is already a good player and will be a dangerous man to face.”

The final will now take place on Friday, August 5, with the draw for the venue being made after tonight’s semi-final.