And so Church’s long wait for a trophy goes on . . . but they had plenty of positives to take from Sunday’s Worsley Cup final.
The label of not having won a major piece of silverware since 1974 continues to hang around their necks after a six-wicket loss to Ramsbottom.
But, for Church Cricket Club, they did themselves proud on an afternoon when everything seemed set to deny them their day in the spotlight.
The club deserve a lot of praise for getting the game on. At 12.30, when the final was due to begin, the rain was bouncing off the pavements around the West End ground.
That it actually got underway, at 2.15pm and then was finished, means a lot of credit has to go to those who worked behind the scenes from the early hours to make it the spectacle it was.
Then there was the money gained from the encounter. Phil Sykes and co had put a lot of effort into selling sponsorship and he assessed that those alone would have netted the club around £4,000 – without the bar and food takings, the raffle and so on.
Then the highlight of the Church innings was the performance of teenage opener Levi Wolfenden.
It’s not often a player on the losing side picks up a man-of-the-match award but the 18-year-old deserved it for his 74 which made sure Ramsbottom had plenty to do on a slow wicket. Wolfenden was a bit shell-shocked when presented with his award for his knock, in which he hit nine fours in the 132 balls.
"I didn’t even know there was a man-of-the-match award," he said.
"It’s obviously good to win it but being on the losing side has taken the shine off it.
"But I am only 18 and to be picked as man-of-the-match against an established Ramsbottom side who have been there and done it means a lot. Hopefully I will get other chances. 1974 was a long time ago and we have been in two finals in two years and we want to change that and make sure we win the next one."
Wolfenden was eventually out to a superb catch by Rob Read on the boundary going for a six and Wolfenden admitted, if that hadn’t been caught, he would have expected to get a century as Church were on 131-5 and looked to have a go in the final five overs
"I thought for all the world it was a six and I think, if it had gone over, I would have gone on to get 100.
"I cannot fault Rob though, it was a brilliant catch. If I had got out any other way I would have been mad with myself but I can’t be too hard after that."
Read admitted "I thought it was going for a six but I just had to have a go at it and I was thinking about catching it but also not going over the boundary. Levi had batted really well and I suppose it was a turning point to get him out."
Wolfenden was the hero of a Church innings which was steady on a slow, wet track but with a lively atmosphere around the ground thanks to two sets of vocal fans.
It was never going to be a big score with Wolfenden and skipper Craig Fergusson putting on 49 before the skipper was caught, having made 12.
Wicketkeeper Sam Tucker, who had flown over from Dubai for the final and survived a thumb injury and a swollen foot on the plane which put his appearance in doubt, had said that one inspirational show could decide the final.
And so all eyes were on pro Saeed Anwar Junior to turn on the style and come up with a big hit and up the Church run-rate.
Instead it was his Rams counterpart Shanan Stewart who was soon smiling as he caught and bowled the Pakinstani with just five on the board – a major blow to the West Enders.
Nasser Hussain was the hero of Church’s semi-final and, with him in, the threat remained but he had made just eight when he was caught by keeper Tom Parton, off Stewart, with the score on 71 – another scalp for the New Zealander.
Adam Greenwood (2) and Phil Gilrane (5) were soon back in the pavilion and then came Wolfenden’s dismissal with the score on 131-6.
Muhammed Jamil upped the pace with two fours and a six, which was needed with overs running out, but he was out for 31 with Church on 148-7 and 11 balls left.
Stewart pulled off a superb catch to dismiss Mark Gilrane and it was left for Manzaner Mehmood and Andy Bentley to make a big push in the final over with the score on 158-8.
Mehmood hit a big six in the fourth ball of the over before he went for another one and was superbly caught on the boundary by Jamie Pilling to finish on 168-9.
The score was respectable on what was a slow wicket but Church needed early wickets while Ramsbottom needed to hold firm.
The light would also be a factor as time ticked on.
Keith Webb (13) and Pilling (28) made a good start, taking the score to 49 before their two wickets fell in quick succession, to Anwar and Jamil, and it was suddenly 49-2 after 12 overs.
This lifted Church who were keeping it tight around the batsmen and they were vocal as they tried to urge their side onto glory.
With 31 overs left it was a similar story with Ramsbottom on 66-2 as Church had been 55-2.
While Ramsbottom had their pro Stewart in, though, it was always going to be difficult and, although Jamil removed David Bell for just four and then Rams skipper Jon Fielding ran himself out for just one, it got increasingly frustrating for Church as Rams held firm against their bowling attack.
In came Alex Bell and with Stewart they broke Church’s hearts, the New Zealander finished on an unbeaten 69 and Bell (27) hitting the winning four at 8.15pm.
For Ramsbottom, it was another trophy to add to their cabinet for the season as they have completed the treble with the Colne Trophy and the Twenty20 win – as they are defending league champions they currently hold all four trophies.
For Church, their wait to put a major trophy on show goes on. After losing out in the Twenty20 final last year and the Worsley Cup this year they will be hoping it’s third time lucky next summer.