The Lancashire League season has rarely been given a more dramatic start.
And the Colne Trophy annual pipe-opener between League champions Accrington and Worsley Cup winners Ramsbottom turned out to be a minor classic.
At the end of an entertaining afternoon both sides had scored 233 runs but Ramsbottom came out on top by losing two fewer wickets.
The Acre Bottom hosts looked to be in the box seat after batting first and putting a respectable total on the board.
Their score was built on the back of a third-wicket partnership of 152 between sub pro Clinton Perren and talented amateur David Bell.
They came together on 48 after Ramsbottom had lost both openers with Keith Webb departing for five and new recruit from Walshaw Jamie Pilling notching 14.
Perren built his innings patiently and struck eight fours and one six on his way to 109 from 145 balls.
The sub pro was well supported by Bell, who started the season with a good knock of 64 runs from 78 balls.
Alex Bell (11) and new skipper Jon Fielding (13 not out) put the gloss on the hosts’ total.
The reliable David Ormerod bowled an economical 10 overs for 32 runs and one wicket. And Accrington’s new paid-man Will Driver took 2-48 from his 10 overs, while James Hayhurst (1-50) and Paul Carroll (0-53) took the bulk of the tap.
In reply, Accrington suffered an early reverse when opener James Ormerod only made one.
But Simon Hanson and Driver lifted Accrington past the half-century before the amateur departed for 27.
Stuart Crabtree (15) came and went and Driver was then joined by former Lancashire man Graham Lloyd and the pair set about seizing the initiative for the Hyndburn side.
They forged a fourth-wicket partnership of 119 that took Accrington to the brink of victory before Fielding got the vital breakthrough.
He took the key wicket of Driver (83) to leave Accrington on 194-4. Driver’s knock came off 97 balls and included 11 fours. The pro’s dismissal tempered the chase and Fielding struck another blow for the hosts when he trapped Matt Wilson.
And that set up an exciting final over with Accrington needing 10 for victory. But that was substantially reduced when Fielding’s first delivery went for four byes.
However the pendulum swung back when Lloyd was run out for 71. And it came down to Accrington needing two from the final ball and Graeme Sneddon and Carroll could only manage one with Sneddon run out going for the game-winning second.