Great Harwood are hoping they have found that killer instinct to propel them into a top four place in the Ribblesdale League.
It’s been an up and down season for Stuart Maher’s men but they have their fingers crossed that they have finally found the winning formula.
Harwood have won six out of the last seven in all competitions and now want to seal a Lancashire Cup place as well as clinch the Twenty20 trophy – they have a semi-final showdown with Whalley at a date still to be arranged.
"It is frustrating as we played three league games in May-early June where we let teams get away," said Maher.
"We had Baxenden, Padiham and Ribblesdale Wanderers all at around 70-7 but then let them all get to around 140 which proved too much for us on the day.
"We let those games slip away and if we hadn’t, we would have still been looking at the top spots.
"But now we seem to have found a killer instinct and an extra spark. We have changed things around a little bit with the bowlers and it seems to have worked.
"We got Oswaldtwistle out for 70, Clitheroe for 90 and Earby for 170 on a flat wicket which we were happy with.
"The only game we have been soundly beaten in reccently is against leaders Barnoldswick and I think most teams have suffered against them.
"So now we want to keep our run going and get into the top four – that’s our target.
"And of course to win the Twenty20 final."
Since the Twenty20 competition started seven years ago, Harwood have won three of the titles and so fancy their chances this season too.
They do first have to get past holders Whalley at home in the semi-final and then could face rivals Baxenden in the final, also at home.
"We go into this competition with all guns blazing," continued the skipper. "Both games are at home so it’s a good money-spinner for the club. It’s just a case of finding a date now when there is not a function on at the club."
And Maher is confident that pro Syed Shahabbudin will continue with his impressive form.
"Syed’s batting has improved fantastically since he was here three years ago," said the captain.
"I guess that’s what comes with playing with the best cricketers in the world in the Indian Premier League for six weeks.
"He has 950 runs in all competitions – 665 in the league – which is superb considering he is a bowling professional. He also has 46 wickets.
"He is on target to get 1000 runs and 80 wickets and that’s what you want from a professional. We are looking upwards now and hopefully his form will continue."
While Harwood are looking up, Baxenden’s title hopes took a real knock as they lost to leaders Barnoldswick at the weekend.
And two significant results on Saturday means the title is now in Barlick’s hands.
The Victory Park outfit beat out of form Bash and received a major boost when Whalley defeated second-placed Read.
In a match reduced to 28 overs per side, Barnoldswick limped to 105-9 against the unchanged bowling of Lewis McIntosh and Babar Naeem.
Liam Bedford top-scored and remained unbeaten on 24 with only three other batsman reaching double figures.
McIntosh finished with 5-66 from his 14 overs while Naeem claimed the other four wickets for 35.
In reply, Baxenden, beaten in the Ramsbottom Cup the previous weekend and struggling in the league, made 29 before Naeem became the first wicket to fall.
The visitors then slumped to 38-5 despite Mark Rishton's attempts to anchor the innings. Andrew Caunce (20) helped Rishton add 28 for the sixth wicket before Caunce fell leg before to Jaffar Nazir.
Rishton offered dogged resistance but, when he was finally out for 27, the innings closed six runs short.
Barlick now lead the table by 18 points from Read, beaten by 34 runs at Station Road.
Bottom of the table Settle gained only their third win of the campaign thanks to a superb bowling performance from Andrew Booth but unfortunately Oswaldtwistle were their victims.
Settle were dismissed for 156 at fellow strugglers Immanuel but won by 50 runs. Booth finished with 6-14, claiming the last four wickets in four balls.
Stephen Sipocz took 5-36 for Ossie while pro Chris Cook-Martin top scored with 32,