Andy Caunce signed off his cricket career by guiding his team to a thrilling Ramsbottom Cup final win over Houldsworth Ribblesdale League champions, Barnoldswick
Andy Caunce signed off his cricket career by guiding Baxenden to a thrilling Ramsbottom Cup final win over Houldsworth Ribblesdale League champions, Barnoldswick.
The Baxenden skipper also collected man-of-the-match honours as their Victory Park rivals were denied a notable double.
“It’s a great way to go out,” said Caunce, a secondary school teacher at Mount St Joseph, Farnworth whose former pupils include double London 2012 cycling gold medallist, Jason Kenny.
“It’s one of those things you cannot really put into words.
“But after 17 years, it’s time to spend more time with the family and maybe play a bit more golf. I won’t be changing my mind.”
Baxenden’s 19-run success ensured captain Caunce completed a unique ‘treble double’.
He won the Bolton Association and Cross Cup double with Walshaw plus a Lancashire League/Worsley Cup double with Ramsbottom.
There was also a Twenty20 victory with East Lancashire, just for good measure, before winning the Ribblesdale League with Bash in 2011.
“I’ve been quite fortunate,” agreed Caunce who made a vital 43 in Baxenden’s innings of 265 all out.
“And I certainly don’t have regrets about my career.”
Baxenden, who last lifted the Ramsbottom Cup in 2010, were also indebted to professional Kamran Younas for posting a sizeable target.
Younas finished with 100 as Barnoldswick, bidding for a first ‘Rammy Cup’ win since 1985, tried to stay in the game.
And they were certainly in touching distance of victory when they reached 229-4 in their reply.
However, Abdul Saddique (81) and skipper Matt Nutter (48) were removed in successive deliveries by Younas and Kurt Smithson to trigger a collapse.
“I was always confident, even when they needed 40 off the last 10 overs,” said Caunce. “I was still grinning away and telling the boys to relax.
“I didn’t feel under too much pressure because I know what a difference a couple of quick wickets can make.
“But you can’t take it away from Barnoldswick. To go through a season losing only one league game is a fantastic achievement.
“They played their part in a fantastic final between two very good teams. Thankfully, for us, we came out on the right side of the result.”
Younas finished with 5-32 while Smithson chipped in with 3-49 as Baxenden, who finished 51 points behind Barnoldswick in the league, lifted the trophy for a third time in four years.