BAXENDEN may have missed out on this year’s Ribblesdale League title - but preparations are in full swing for the next year’s assault on the top spot.
Bash have signed Edenfield’s pro Baber Naeem - who has taken 83 wickets and scored a stunning 1535 runs this season - for 2009.
"He has proven in the last few years what a good player he is for Edenfield and he keeps getting better and better," said skipper Mark Rishton.
"He has done a great job at Edenfield and we are hoping he can do the same for us.
"We have come close to winning the title in the last two years and we want to win it.
"I have been lucky enough to win it and know what a good feeling it is but you have got to work hard for it and we have fallen short this season."
While the plans are there, the are not giving in yet in the penultimate weekend in the Ribblesdale League season with three games left to play.
But their title hopes all but disappeared with a hard-to-take loss to league leaders and local rivals Great Harwood on Saturday.
Bash were skittled out for just 37 in what was one of their biggest matches of the season - they now trail the leaders by 28 points with 36 to play for.
"There is a lot of banter between the sides and respect but we were disappointed on Saturday," said the skipper.
"We limited them to 40-5 then Russell Whalley came in and put on a good knock and they got 124.
"Our pro Will Purser did well - he got seven wickets - and I can’t fault his attitude or commitment as, even though he knows he is being released, he has got some great figures and we wish him well.
"The conditions weren’t great but we thought we could do it if we got off to a good start. We didn’t and that set the tone for the match.
"But saying that, their pro and Stuart Maher bowled really well and we couldn’t deal with them.
"To be honest, the title was lost the week before when we lost to Whalley and Saturday was just one of those weird games."
Skipper Rishton, though, insists they will carry on fighting as they want to at least finish in the runners-up spot they did last season.
"It has been an up an down season. We started off badly and were always playing catch-up. Then we recovered and got up there but lost a few games we shouldn’t have. Then we fell short again at the end.
"We have a big weekend against Read who are fourth and Padiham who are second so we want to concentrate on these."
Harwood, 14 points clear, could win their first title in 108 years this weekend but have another huge game against main title threat Padiham tomorrow then Barnoldswick on Sunday.
"I hope Harwood win it if we can’t," said Rishton.
"I have played against a lot of their lads for years and it will finally get rid of the millstone from around their neck.
"They got off to a good start, went to the top and have held onto the lead and done well.
"Hats off to them - although I didn’t appreciate Russell Whalley letting me know all about his knock after the game on Saturday!"
Harwood’s pro Syed Shabauddin has certainly been the star with 92 wickets this season - four against Bash - while Maher took six.
Meawhile OSWALDTWISTLE IMMANUEL moved off the bottom spot with their win over Edenfield. Mitch Taylor top scored with 39 while Andrew Metcalf took five wickets. They face Whalley and Read this weekend.