PETER Sleep's big hitting weekend will send a shiver down the spines of Church as the two sides gear up for their Worsley Cup first round clash
The two local rivals meet on Sunday with former Australian Test star Sleep amassing nearly 200 runs over this weekend - including a superb unbeaten 151 in their victory over local rivals Accrington in the league.
Church, meanwhile, are stuttering after another double loss weekend and Rishton believe they might be able to upset last season's league runners-up in the cup.
"It is a massive game," said 48-year-old Sleep whose 151 took a 10 year record off friend Russell Whalley for the highest individual amateur score at Rishton. "We have targeted the cup competitions and Church haven't played that well of late. And it is a local derby and if we can win, it will be a huge boost.
"In the cups, you are looking for some teams to have an off-day as the likes of Haslingden, Nelson and Lowerhouse are strong and you need that little bit of luck. But if we beat Church who knows?"
Rishton were on a high after the edge of the seat clash with neighbours Accrington.
Sleep has been threatening to hit a high score this season and unfortunately for Accrington, they were on the end of it. He made no mistakes with 19 boundaries and one six off 149 balls to celebrate his first league century in almost 10 years.
"I think the last time I got a century was in 1996 against Church. I've been at Read in the Ribblesdale League the last three years and I have got 90s but never a century so it is always nice to get one," Sleep said.
He reached 150 with the only six of his innings and a nice touch was that he completed his batting show with step-son Richard Rostron at the crease - who persuaded him to have a season at Rishton this summer - as the visitors made 231-4.
But they certainly didn't have it there own way with Accrington openers Mohsin Ahmed (54) and Zahir Afzal (70) making their mark.
It was a good weekend for Afzal as he got a half-century the day before as Accrington celebrated their first win of the season in the Inter League Challenge Trophy against Central Lancashire League side Walsden.
They beat them by three wickets - and now take on Werneth - and a stand of 170 between Canning and Afzal did the damage.
And Afzal threatened to do the same to Rishton with his 70 coming off 73 balls with nine fours and a six.
The Accrington pair looked in control at 139-0 but spin bowler Sleep and Sri Lankan professional Kumar Dharmasena then spear-headed an Accrington mini collapse although the home side were always in it with pro Tama Canning out there.
A quick-fire 18 from skipper Matt Wilson looked to have put Accrington back in the driving seat before his dismissal left Canning as the main man.
But the New Zealander's controversial run-out on 35 - where wicketkeeper Mark Young needed two attempts to knock off the bails - had many observers, even the Rishton ones, shaking their heads.
And this gave the visitors the edge with Accrington on 299-6 with four overs left and the big hitters gone.
"That was a key wicket, a major wicket," admitted Sleep. "I couldn't see it but the umpires are usually in the best position."
Frustrated Canning, however, couldn't hide his disappointment as he walked off the pitch.
Wicket keeper David Barnes did hit a four to give Accrington some late hope but two good catches by the Rishton fielders secured maximum points for them.
"It got a bit nerve racking at the end," said Sleep. "Not so much for me but for the younger ones who started to panic a little bit. But they are learning all the time and held their nerve to take two good catches.
"But it was an enjoyable game, on a good wicket with two even sides."
Veteran Sleep admitted he is still keen to continue playing cricket.
"I am enjoying it here and while I am still enjoying it, I will keep playing. Scott Greaves, the captain, is doing a great job and Kumar has been a revelation.
"There are a couple of older heads in the teams with a lot of youngsters but we have picked up a bit lately and now we have got to keep learning."
- RISHTON lost to Royton in the Inter League Trophy by just 19 runs despite 65 from Dharmasena and 42 from veteran Sleep.