GREAT Harwood have had their dress rehearsal for the Castlemaine XXXX Ramsbottom Cup final - and they have to make sure the real thing has a different outcome.
Harwood played Settle in the Veka Ribblesdale League last Saturday as they gear up for their cup clash at Marshfield on Sunday 15 August.
Unforunately they ended up on the losing side with Settle claiming the upperhand with their 61-run win. It follows on from their league victory at Cliffe Park earlier on in the season.
"They have beaten us twice this season so they will go into the final confident," said skipper Russell Whalley.
"But Read thought that and look what happened to them in the semi-final. We have five mini buses full of supporters travelling to Settle and we will be going out to give it our best shot."
Stuart Hornby is Settle's dangerman with well over 50 wickets this season but he didn't bowl in the weekend's match because of a groin injury - they want their main man right for the final.
"Stuart didn't bowl but Andy Davidson bowled well on what wasn't the easiest of wickets and their pro Robin Morris got me.
"But we will be doing our best in the cup final. It will be a totally different game."
Whalley has been suffering from a chest infection but played through it this weekend and is keen to feature in tomorrow's clash against league leaders Read.
"They will be keen to beat us after we knocked them out of the cup and they have Craig Walton and Terry Little coming back - they will have a strong side."
Read had been using sub-pros and it remains to be seen if Danny Law will play tomorrow. But one man who will miss out is former Rishton paid man Peter Sleep who is struggling with a back injury.
And Harwood are without batsman Paul Houldsworth while bowler Gordon Simpson is battling to be fit - and will only play if he is 100 per cent as otherwise Whalley will let him recover for the cup final.
But Australian paid man Andy Crook is still in top form for Harwood as he continues to also compete for Lancashire seconds.
He hit 115 in their win over Blackburn Northern on Sunday and then took 6-18 in their 116-run rout.
Crook has now scored more than 900 runs for the Cliffe Park side.
While Harwood had a mixed weekend, Oswaldtwistle captain Gerald Metcalf couldn't stop taking wickets.
The skipper saw off Blackburn Northern with 7-43 on Saturday and they then celebrated a surprise win over fourth placed Barnoldswick on Sunday.
Opener Chris Burton top scored with 43 for Ossie in their 139.
Then Gerald Metcalf struck again with the ball taking 4-48 as they won by just four runs in a tight finale and now sit nicely in a mid-table spot.
They have a tough game tomorrow though when they make the trip to title challengers Settle.
And, after it was announced he will be released from his pro contract at the end of the season, Baxenden paid man Jon Harvey turned on the style. He hit 51 in their morale-boosting victory over Clitheroe and took 3-45 with the ball on Saturday.
Then Harvey hit 86 against leaders Read - including nine boundaries and four sixes - and again took three wickets but this time the league leaders proved too strong. His side have a tricky task at home to Barnoldswick tomorrow.