THE title is Haslingden’s to throw away - and Accrington are ready to pounce.
It’s the final weekend of the Lancashire League season and it had looked like Graham Knowles’ side would run away with the league at one point.
However with their game in hand off on Saturday and a defeat at Nelson on Sunday, it leaves Haslingden needing nine points for the title in this weekend’s final two games.
And, if they do slip up, Accrington are the only team who can catch them to reclaim the title they won last season.
Thorneyholme Road captain David Ormerod knows it is a big ask as his side need maximum points in both games and Haslingden to slip up twice but still harbours hopes of making a last ditch rush to win the league.
"They could be getting twitchy," said the Accrington skipper. "We have just got to keep going. We heard they had slipped up at Nelson on Sunday as it swung one way and then another and we wanted to take it to the last weekend of the season and we are chuffed we have.
"Don’t get me wrong, Haslingden are a good side and they have had a fantastic season.
"But we are proud of our efforts. It is no secret that Roy Silva, our pro, has had a bad season and that means our amateurs have done really well.
"Stuart Crabtree passed 500 runs for the season for the first time on Sunday and it’s a huge achievement for him.
"Haslingden have some good players but it’s like they have three professionals in their side with Graham Knowles, Steve Dearden and Phil Hayes who are all really good players.
"But we have hung onto their coat tails and it shows how well our amateurs have done to keep in there.
"We didn’t want to give our title up without a fight and we feel like we have pressed them all the way. It’s just a shame our game against Haslingden was off the other week or else it could have been really interesting."
With all the hype, though, Haslingden could clinch the title tomorrow and then it’s all over.
"We can’t look much beyond tomorrow at the moment and we won’t take our game at Church for granted as they are a good side," said Ormerod.
"It will be nervy as I am sure there will be a buzz at both grounds as the scores go round but it adds to the end of the season. But it will certainly make it interesting if it goes to the final game of the season on Sunday."
Accrington have battled all the way and pulled off a win against Bacup on Sunday after it looked like the Valley side were in charge. Bacup made 217-9 with Ormerod, who has taken 60 wickets this season, struggling to bowl having torn a quad muscle. Bacup pro Ryan Broad and Paul Gallagher put on 90 for the first wicket to help build a formidable target.
Accrington were 15-3 and in trouble before rain brought a revised target of 141 from 26 overs.
And that brought a revitalised Stuart Crabtree to the crease and his fourth wicket partnership of 95 with pro Roy Silva sealed the win. Crabtree hit an unbeaten 55 while Silva got his highest score of the season with 48 - a disappointing campaign for the Sri Lankan.
"It was a great win and I am going to try and have an injection so I can bowl over the weekend. I will do whatever it takes," added Ormerod.
ENFIELD pro Gary Brent took seven wickets as bottom club Rawtenstall were all out for a low-scoring 82. The Dill Hall Laners did lose six wickets in reply to make sure it wasn’t too comfortable but they got their 12 points to move up to seventh in the league. Brent top-scored with 26.
CHURCH remain in fifth place despite losing to East Lancs in another low-scoring affair on a damp wicket. Levi Wolfenden top scored with 14 as they made just 70 all out. East Lancs, though, didn’t have it all their own way with their wickets tumbling but they held on for a four wicket victory.
RISHTON were looking for their fourth win on the trot but faced an uphill battle when Burney made 247-5. The rain stopped the game with Rishton on 42-2.