GREAT Harwood pro Andy Crook is looking forward to testing himself against the old master, Peter Sleep, in Sunday's Ramsbottom Cup final.
The young Aussie knows all about the former Australian Test ace and, since he came to East Lancashire this summer, Crook has been spending a lot of time with him.
But they will be battling against each other when Crook takes on Sleep's Read at Padiham (Wickets pitched 1pm).
"Do I know him well? I was with him about an hour ago," laughed the paid-man who hit a century in last Saturday's league win over Barnoldswick.
"I only met him when I came over here but we are from the same neck of the woods back home in Adelaide. He has had a fantastic career - in Australia and over here. He has done so much.
"It is a big game for us - they are top of the league and, even though we are second, they are 14 points ahead of us and we are waiting for them to slip up. All we can do is keep winning ourselves and see what happens.
"Our hopes were set pretty high on the league title but that might be beyond us now, although you never know. But his cup would be some kind of consolation for us."
However he knows that the main man to remove is the former Rishton big-hitter Sleep.
"We have got to get Sleepy out - he is the key for them. He can bat through the innings and has been getting 50s or 100s week in week out, I think he averages around 150. We need to get him out early but, saying that, they have plenty of good batsmen like Terry Little and then they have the bowlers like Oliver Newby. They are a solid side."
Read do seem to be unstoppable at the top of the Ribblesdale League table with just two losses all season. Harwood have kept up the pressure and Crook has paid a huge part in that.
His ton was a boost for him heading into the weekend's game's which start with a trip to Edenfield tomorrow in the league.
"I was so pleased with the century as Barnoldswick had got about 200 and it was dicey situation for a while. I had to stick at it. At the moment, I think I have around 750 league runs so the aim is to get over 1000.
"In recent weeks, I have adapted more to the conditions and hopefully, with the games left, I can get there. But, for this weekend, we are focused on winning the cup."
- Mark Rishton was the star batsman for Baxenden with an unbeaten 67 in their 157-4 but then Pete Usher upstaged him with 6-14 as Whalley were dismissed for 113. They face Blackburn Northern at home tomorrow.
Oswaldtwistle suffered an eight wicket loss to title chasers Clitheroe, despite 68 from paid man Wes Morrick.
They welcome Ribblesdale Wanderers to New Lane tomorrow.