GREAT Harwood are hoping their blip is over after two defeats saw them toppled off the top spot in the Ribblesdale League.
The pressure was on the Cliffe Park side to bounce back after defeats to Read and Settle had seen them throw away a ten point lead at the top of the table.
But they held their nerve to see off Ribblesdale Wanderers in a high scoring clash last Saturday and keep the pressure on new pacesetters Settle.
Captain Russell Whalley, who has amassed 673 league runs so far this season, made 64 and pro Martin Nurse, who needed a big score, made an entertaining 91 with four fours and seven sixes. Paul Houldsworth also chipped in with an unbeaten 49 as they set Wanderers a target of 283.
Ribblesdale, though, did battle back bravely and threatened to upset Harwood but Houldsworth got in the wickets with 5-54 to celebrate a 31 run win.
And Harwood know they may need to make an equally big target tomorrow on their trip to Padiham as the Arbories side top scored with 307 last week.
Bowler Stuart Maher, who missed the start of the season after a ligament injury, admitted it was a relief to get the win after his side had stuttered.
"It was a solid performance after the disappointing ones of the last couple of games," said Maher. "Russell chipped in with his now customary contribution and it was good for Martin (Nurse) to be in the runs as he had been struggling lately.
"It was vital to win and, in the end, we let ourselves down in the field as we should have taken the bonus points which would have seen us go level at the top."
But he had praise for team-mate Houldsworth who has been a star with the ball this season.
"It was good for Paul to get a few runs as he has not been up to his usual high standards so far but he has bowled exceptionally well and has been a revelation having not bowled for a number of years."
And now Maher knows Harwood need to stop any more jitters as they enter a crucial period in the season.
He said: "We have an important run of games coming up now and we need to maintain our form with the bat which is what has let us down so far this season.
"Padiham have an exceptional pro on his home ground but if we can get him out early then we have an excellent chance of taking all seven points. Then we have a big double header next week where nothing but two wins will do."
BAXENDEN captain Dave Usher admits he is not a good watcher - and it must have been painful in more ways than one for him over the last two weeks.
The skipper has torn his hamstring and is hobbling around the grounds in the Ribblesdale League watching his side.
But, despite making more that 200 in both their last games, his side have suffered two defeats. "I am a horrendous watcher - I am more critical when I watch than when I play," said the captain. "I have to walk around the grounds to keep calm but I must do about 20 laps!
"Unfortunately, over the last two games, even though we have got knocks of 200, we have come up against two pros who have done well. Ayub for Earby got over 100 last week and Settle's Haseef's knock was 127 this week.
"We are getting the runs through Francois Herbst, Mark Rishton and the pro Gally (Indika Gallage) but we said at the start of the season we would struggle with the ball. I think Gally has 35 and Pete (Usher) 33 wickets but there is no one supporting them.
"There is nothing we can do though but soldier on. We would be happy with a top six finish and it is a funny league at the moment with teams beating each other. Anyone who can string a run of wins together can move up the league.
"But I still think Settle are the strongest side as they have four or five ex-pros in their team and can pick up the bonus bowling points."
But Bash were unlucky to lose to the league leaders after setting a target of 200.
Opener Herbst has been doing well for Baxenden and he got them going with 40 and an unbeaten 88 from Gallage looked to put Bash in the driving seat.
However Settle pro Mohammed Hafees did the damage with the bat making an unbeaten 127 - with 18 fours and one six - to seal a four wicket win in a hard fought game.
It's Ribblesdale Wanderers for Baxenden tomorrow and Dave Usher is hoping for a more relaxing time on the sidelines.
But it has been a bleak weekend for Oswaldtwistle ImmanueL. After hopes of a Ramsbottom Cup final spot, Edenfield ended up running away with the semi-final with a 122 run win on Sunday.
Gerard Metcalf's side again failed with the bat as they made just 85, with Kurt Smithson top scoring on 18, chasing 207-7. Edenfield will play holders Settle in the final.
The day before Immanuel had hoped to halt Barnoldswick's title charge and start to make inroads at the bottom of the table but Barlick enjoyed a seven wicket win.