Church captain Andy Bentley was unusually nervous on Wednesday night when the teams were picked for the weekend.
The bowler is usually one of the first names on the Blackburn Road side’s team sheet but, after missing last weekend to party at Glastonbury, he didn’t know if he was still in.
This was after Church reached the semi-finals of the Twenty20 last Friday in his absence and now take on Ribblesdale League side Edenfield tonight (Friday) in a bumper last-four clash (start 6.15).
"I attended the selection meeting and was worried to be honest and thought I was going to have to justify my place," said Bentley.
"I couldn’t really have had any complaints but a couple of players can’t play and Ryan North is back from Ibiza so it all fits into place really.
"It’s a massive game for us as I have never won anything! We reached the semi-final of this competition last year but lost to eventual winners Burnley so it would be nice just to get through to the final.
"We are at home but face something of an unknown quantity in Edenfield. Their pro Raheel Majeed has hit 100 against Haslingden and Bacup in the last rounds of the competition so we are expecting big things from him.
"But our pro Luke Woodcock is pretty strong in the Twenty20, he plays it a lot back home in New Zealand, and he enjoys the atmosphere so hopefully it will be his day."
Church made it four wins out of four to top the Hyndburn/Blackburn group last Friday.
They needed to win their last game against Enfield with the Dill Hall Laners having Theo Doropolous standing in for injured Adam Bracewell (groin) and he gave Enfield their money’s worth with a fine innings of 69.
But two wickets in the first over for Sam Holt pegged Enfield back at the start and, although Doropolous and Liam Jackson added 118 for the third wicket, neither was able to give the innings a late flourish as wickets tumbled towards the end.
Church looked in a spot of bother at 51-3 after a breezy 18 from Sagy Hussain and Woodcock having holed out on the edge.
But a sparkling return to form for Craig Fergusson broke the hearts of his former team-mates and he and Levi Wolfenden finished the job with a superb unbroken partnership of 95.
Fergusson hit 58 not out off 51 balls (eight fours and a six) while Wolfenden was unbeaten on 36, striking the winning boundary with an over to spare.
Accrington were unlucky just to miss out on the final semi spot with Ramsbottom edging them out on run rate.
The Lancashire League table is not making good reading at the moment for the four Hyndburn sides who have all now slipped into the bottom half. But none of them are too far away from climbing back up again in a compact table.
As Church captain Bentley, said: "It is really tight at the moment, which is what me and Luke keep saying to all the players.
"Two or three wins and you can be up to fourth in the table, although the three teams at the top have got away a bit. It means there is still plenty to play for and so the wins are important."
There were big wins for Enfield and Rishton at the weekend.
ENFIELD, with Gary Brent as sub pro, saw off the challenge of Accrington in a day to forget for the defending champions.
Liam Jackson, as the new Dill Hall Lane skipper after David Bracewell stepped down, made a stunning start to his captain-career making 78. He was ably supported by Brent’s 63 and 232 was always going to be a formidable score. But Accrington could barely muster a response with Graham Lloyd’s 10 their top score in a dismal 39 all out.
RISHTON finally celebrated their second win of the season, seeing off fellow strugglers Bacup. And South African pro Andrea Agathagelou is really finding his form with a six-wicket haul.
But first Rishton had to thank former skipper Andy Bartley (60) and Mo Patel (72 not out). They were struggling on 93-5 before those two got together in the middle order and put together a 139-run stand to set a tough target of 239.
Despite an 84 from Bacup’s Paul Gallagher, Agathagelou then got to work with the ball and, along with Shaun Hutchinson, gave the Blackburn Road side a lift going into tomorrow’s derby at Enfield.
CHURCH struggled against in-form Ramsbottom, who are still on course for the treble.
Although openers Ammer Mirza and Craig Fergusson posted a stand of 56, it became slow going when Rammy introduced spinners Ross Brown and captain Jonathan Fielding.
All the top four got a start but nobody could convert it into a big score and Woodcock was particularly subdued, finding the boundary only once in his 63-ball knock of 35 before he fell leg-before to Fielding. The last eight wickets went for 46 as Ramsbottom pro Francois Du Plessis and Fielding ran through the middle and lower order.
Ramsbottom got a good start with Keith Webb (35) and Jamie Pilling (32) adding 62 for the first wicket and the only real surprise as the game meandered to its inevitable conclusion was that Du Plessis, largely untroubled coming in first wicket down, got himself run out for 47, leaving the amateurs to finish the job in some comfort.