GREAT Harwood skipper Russell Whalley is fired up for next month's Castlemaine XXXX Ramsbottom Cup semi-final clash against holders Read.
The Cliffe Park outfit smashed their way to 252-8 against Earby in Sunday's quarter final, and then dismissed their opponents for a meagre 57, to set up a mouth-watering repeat of last year's final.
Speaking exclusively to Observer Sport from Spain, big-hitter Whalley, who notched up 52 against Earby, said "The lads will definitely be out for revenge. We did not perform to our full potential last year."
He added: "Our bowling was a shambles that day but we have shown this season that we are a match for anyone and we are not afraid of any team in this league."
"We batted well against Earby and it was a good all-round team performance. Liam Deasey got 54 and everyone chipped in."
Russell admits nothing would give him greater pleasure than beating Read. "We would love to knock them out of the competition and wipe the smiles off their faces," he said, adding: "There isn't really much else to play for in the league now. That would cap our season and give everyone a lift."
Harwood now represent Hyndburn's only interest in the competition. Whalley beat Baxenden, despite pro Jonathon Harvey smashing 118, while Oswaldtwistle Immanuel made little effort to chase Read's total of 244-6.
Harwood's fine weekend continued with a comfortable win over Clitheroe to take them to third place in the league, though still a whopping 28 points behind leaders Read.
Baxenden took the honours in the derby against Immanuel with a 57-run victory.