Ian Austin believes unpredictable Padiham could hold the key to Baxenden’s bid for another Houldsworth Ribblesdale League and PM and M Ramsbottom Cup double.
Former Lancashire and England star Austin guided the holders to a semi-final show down with their Arbories rivals with an unbeaten half-century in a five-wicket win over Oswaldtwistle Immanuel.
Victory compensated for defeat at Settle 24 hours earlier that leaves the senior division champions just two points clear of Read at the top.
And after Saturday’s home game with Whalley, it’s Padiham all the way for ‘Bash’.
"We’ve got them three times in succession," says skipper Austin.
"Firstly in the league at home, the following day in the cup and then the next weekend at Padiham.
"And you never know what you are going to get with Padiham.
"One weekend they can look brilliant and the next very ordinary.
"They’re certainly very capable of beating us if we are not on top of our game."
Smarting from a five-wicket loss at Settle last Saturday, Austin was pleased with the response against ‘Ossie’.
"We knew they were up for the game and were probably buzzing from beating Clitheroe.
"But we got some early wickets, including their pro in the first over, and did a good job keeping them down to 149.
"It wasn’t the easiest of wickets to get runs on. But we got there and it was pleasing for me to see it through for once."
Ossie’s Mark Groom admitted it had been a mixed weekend for the New Lane side.
"It’s a measure of how we have improved that we can go to Clitheroe and win," said Groom.
"But it was a disappointing result in the cup because we fancied our chances.
"Unfortunately, we lost Chris Cook-Martin and Olly Clare, who shared a partnership of more than 150 against Clitheroe, in the first few overs.
"At one stage we were 5-3 and the match looked like it might be over by four o’clock.
"In the past we might easily have folded.
"However, we managed to make a half decent score though ‘Oscar’ was just too good for us in the end.
"However, we’ve got a great team spirit in the dressing room this season.
"And we’re definitely looking for a top five finish this season," says Groom.
‘Ossie’ host Earby this weekend, heartened by their 87-run success at Clitheroe. Cook-Martin made 84 and Clare 64 in a final total of 249.
Kiwi professional Harry Boam was Baxenden’s nemesis at Marshfield.
He made the most of several fielding errors to contribute an unbeaten 70 in Settle’s winning total after helping to dismiss Baxenden for 142 with figures of 5-24.
Great Harwood are only one point off bottom position after suffering their sixth defeat in 11 games.
Raouf Akbar made 73 out of Harwood’s total of 115 all out against fellow strugglers Whalley.
Kamran Younas replied with 92 not out as Whalley won by eight wickets.