Despite their fourth final in three years, the Church players were once again picking up runners-up medals on Sunday after their Worsley Cup loss to Lowerhouse.
It’s the second year running the West End side have had to watch a team pick up a cup at Blackburn Road while they have had to accept being the losers.
Captain Craig Fergusson admitted: "Jack (Houldsworth) will be reminding us again that we last won a cup in 1974!
"But we can’t complain as it is a great achievement to get to these finals but we just can’t seem to get over the line."
It was final which swung first one way and then another with Lowerhouse’s man of the match Ben Heap scoring 77 in their 192-9.
But then, despite wickets falling at the other end, Church pro Saeed Anwar had just started to hit it around the ground and was looking like he could get the 23 needed off 14 balls when he fell to Jonathan Finch and Church were quickly all out.
It was enthralling for the large contigent from both parties camped out to watch the game – with thankfully the weather holding out except for one small spell.
Lloyd Aspin took 3-20 and Andy Bentley 2-31, while Mark Gilrane and Sam Holt took a wicket each as Lowerhouse were struggling on 162-7 but managed to put on another 30 runs to set what was an achievable target – if Church could get a partnership going.
But it wasn’t to be as last season’s Worsley Cup man of the match Levi Wolfenden fell early and then Holt quickly followed to make it 20-2.
Aspin (17) was not too happy to be quickly back in the pavilion when going for a quick double with Anwar and ending up being run out much to his frustration.
Fergusson (19) and Mohammed Jamil (2) were also out in quick succession but, with Anwar there, Church remained a threat.
This was especially as he and Adam Greenwood took the score from 77-5 to 132-5 – as the game swung back in Church’s favour with the Pakistan all-rounder still at the crease.
It was 133-6 with 10 overs left after Greenwood fell for 27 and Church still had the players left to do it – wicketkeeper Sam Tucker came in as seventh man and he had won the game for Church the day before at East Lancs.
They needed 53 off seven overs with Tucker and Anwar in as Church looked like they were going to do it.
It got down to 34 off four overs with Anwar stroking two quickfire fours to take the score along.
But Jonathan Finch came on in the 47th over and got rid of Anwar for a magnificent 70 – with six fours and a six.
Andy Bentley fell next ball, caught by Heap and Finch could have had a hat-trick but for a dropped catch.
Church needed 20 with two overs left but Lowerhouse pro Francois Haasbroek removed Mark Gilrane and then last man Tucker (14) and the Lowerhouse fans ran onto the pitch to being their celebrations while it was same again for the long-suffering Church army.
"It was hard walking off as the Lowerhouse fans charged on," admitted wicketkeeper Tucker who postponed a job in Hong Kong to try and win a trophy with Church this season.
"It’s awful when you are coming off trying to avoid the fans and so different to when you are walking off cheering a win.
"Obviously we are disappointed but we are proud we pushed it right to the end.
"I think we were always behind them, I don’t think we ever quite got into a position when we were in control although, if Saeed wasn’t out, who knows?
"I was promoted as I had done okay against East Lancs and, when I went in, Saeed was confident and my job was just to get him on strike.
"It is hard when you go in as you know you can be the hero but you haven’t to let that get in the way and have got to concentrate.
"Saeed and I worked for a while and he had two big hits just before he was out and then it was always going to be hard.
"In the end, we left ourselves too much to do. We let them get probably 20 more than we should have and have paid the price.
"But we can take the positives in that we ran them close, it was a fantastic game and there was a big crowd who I think enjoyed it.
"I have six runners-up medals now – three Worsley Cup, two Twenty20 and one league – but, rather than look at it that way, I have got to look on it that I have had the chance to play in five finals and they have been good days and I have good memories from them, no matter what."
Opener Wolfenden questioned whether he wants to get to another final immediately after the defeat as the youngster has suffered two Worsley Cup heartaches in two years.
But captain Fergusson hopes their time will come, especially as he felt his team had made a big improvement after losing to Ramsbottom in last season’s showpiece.
"We came so close and were always in the game, whereas I don’t think we were ever in it last year," said the skipper.
"Saeed could have won the game single-handedly for us if he had stayed in but, to be fair to Lowerhouse, they bowled well.
"It is hard to get to four finals in three years and have no winners medals.
"It’s a bit of deja vu from last year but we can take heart from being so close.
"We were more relaxed than last year, with another year’s experience but Ben Heap played really well for them.
"We felt we should have had a run-out that didn’t happen and then they went onto make another 20.
"We were okay with 190 as, at one stage they looked like they could go over 200, but we bowled superbly.
"We did well in the field as well and it was only me that dropped a catch and I am to blame for that.
"We didn’t start our innings well but got ourselves back into the game and I went in to try and consolidate with Saeed and, after I was out, Adam Greenwood came in and struck up a good partnership with the pro.
"But we were always a score away and so it proved.
"We can’t be too down though. We have reached two finals this year and there are six league games left of the season.
"We are not a million miles away from the top but we have slipped up in a couple of league games and now we have got to make sure we finish the season strongly. We have just got to keep going."