‘There will never be another day like it in the history of Great Harwood’ claimed secretary and player Stuart Maher.
From a devastating low – when the Twenty20 finals day was called off at Cliffe Park on Sunday at 11am – there was a massive high as Harwood clinched the cup on Sunday night in Read.
Harwood have spent £20,000 draining their ground during the winter, with Maher overseeing the project.
But as the start of the season they were unable to play on it due to the rainy conditions and have played just two first team games at home. Saturday’s clash with Cherry Tree the latest to be abandoned due to the weather.
The club had the prestige of hosting the Twenty20 semi-finals and finals day on Sunday and Maher admitted a lot of hard work went into trying to get it on.
"Once our league game was called off on Saturday we spent from 8.30am until 7pm trying to dry the field to get it ready for Sunday," said the bowler who doubles up as the club secretary.
"We were up again early Sunday morning and it was due to go ahead at Harwood.
"But at 11am, just as the food was arriving, the umpires had a look at it and said the games couldn’t be played on the ground.
"We were devastated, due to all the hard work and the financial implications of losing the finals day.
"To be fair to the league, they decided not to call it off for another day– ¿with the only free date in August – and Oswaldtwistle went to play their semi-final against Settle at Ossy while we moved to Read for our semi-final, with the final at Read at 5.30pm.
"It was utter devastation for us and we were deflated but somehow we galvanised ourselves and I think that’s what helped us win the trophy."
He admitted: "We weren’t given a chance as our best Twenty20 batsman Russell Whalley was on holiday and both teams – Read and Settle – were above us in the league.
"Then in the warm-up Ian Howarth got injured and John Swanney, who at 55 was on the sidelines with his dog watching his son Patrick play for us, was called in at the last minute.
"I guess you couldn’t write it!
"We restricted Read to 164 in the semi-final which we felt was a decent score and our pro Shobby (Syed Shahabuddin)’s unbeaten 86 helped us through.
"Then in the final, we were pleased again that Settle, who won it last year, only got 140 as Read is a small ground.
"However when our pro was out for 14 we thought we were in trouble.
"But Ben Dowling’s 30 got us back on the front foot and Zuber Desai (26) and Phil Allen (eight) saw us through.
"I think if you had seen us in the bar after you would have thought we had lost as we were so exhausted by the entire day.
"It was a completely draining day, especially the financial implications of losing the finals, but then it was fantastic at the end.
"It was the most down and up day in the history of the club."
Harwood now go through to the national T20 semi-finals where they take on a Middlesbrough side from the North Yorkshire and South Durham League at Wakefield the weekend after next.
Then it’s a side from Leeds or Chester-le-Street in the final if they get through – although they can’t use their pro, as it’s English qualified players only.
Now Harwood hope to get a few more games at Cliffe Park before the end of what has been largely a season to forget – except for winning the trophy.
Maher added: "I think we are on a 15 game unbeaten run – but we have only played around five of them the rest have been abandoned!
"But it was a great win for us and gave us something to smile about in an otherwise tricky season."