GREAT Harwood were thwarted by Clitheroe for a second time in two weeks in their quest to lift a trophy.
Harwood has missed out to the Ribblesdale League leaders in the 20/20 final two weeks ago.
And they were gutted when Clitheroe's Naeem Ashraf smashed an unbeaten 122 to get his side out of trouble in the Ramsbottom Cup final which started on Sunday and finished on Monday night because of the weather.
Harwood had looked in charge after chalking up 270-5 thanks to 63 from skipper Allan Armer - who smashed his 50 off 50 balls and hit several rooves, cars and scattered the crowd with his five sixes and three fours - at Baxenden CC on Sunday.
Professional Gyan Pandey made 72 and Russell Whalley chipped in with 44.
Then Harwood couldn't believe their luck when, with the second ball of Clitheroe's innings, Stuart Maher took the wicket of their prolific paid man Shahid Nawaz for zero. It was a great catch by Mohsin Ahmed and the large crowd couldn't believe it.
More wickets fell and Harwood looked in control. However, the rain came down and with Ashraf still there, Clitheroe were always in with a shout.
The match had to be called off with 10 overs remaining on Sunday night with Clitheroe still needing 82 and Ashraf on 65.
However when the game restarted on Monday, he hit the ball all over the Back Lane ground and the game swung back in Clitheroe's favour.
Man of the Match Ashraf smashed the winning four off Whalley's bowling with just two overs left and Clitheroe could start celebrating what looks like a treble. For Harwood it was gutting as they lost the cup final two years ago at Settle and had to accept defeat again.
"I am disappointed as of course it would have been great to win something in my first year as captain," said Armer who took over from Whalley as skipper in mid-season. "But there is always next year and hopefully we will come back stronger.
"Clitheroe are on for the treble but we play them in the last game of the season so maybe someone can catch them and there is everything to play for then, just to make the league more interesting.
"But Clitheroe are a good side. They have a number of decent batsmen and I never thought it was over. We got 270 at Padiham in 2003 in the cup final against Read and lost so I knew it wasn't over on Sunday night.
"I couldn't sleep thinking about who to bowl and fielding positions and was really nervous all day on Monday.
"But Naeem is a good batsman. He was a pro for ten or 15 years and was pro at Cherry Tree for seven or eight years. We got their professional Nawaz out but then we knew they had Naeem, who is good enough to be a pro, coming in and it was always going to be difficult.
"No matter what you bowl at him, it is tricky. It is a small ground and he was always likely to get a decent score and we just couldn't get him out."
But Armer was pleased with his own side's performance.
"We did do well. I have done okay batting-wise since I became captain, maybe it is the concentration or the responsibility.
"We had a good start from Mohsin Ahmed (43) and Gyan and everyone chipped in.
"I accepted we had to go off on Sunday night as it was getting slippy for the batsmen but also for the fielders who were struggling to see. I was wicket keeper and I missed a stumping and the umpire asked if I could see and I couldn't. Both teams were happy about coming back - it is though just a shame we couldn't finish it off."
Harwood, however, were pleased to improve their league form after making 220-6 against Barnoldswick on Saturday. Pro Pandey made 86 and Whalley 68.
Paul Newton then took 5-13 as Barlick fell 86 runs short.
Baxenden lost pace in the title chase after Cherry Tree beat them by five wickets.
Bash made 145-9 with wicket keeper Andrew Caunce top scoring with 43.
Zahoor Elahi proved unmovable in reply as he made an unbeaten 82 and Cherry Tree passed the total with seven overs to spare.
Oswaldtwistle put up a good fight against leaders Clitheroe - but couldn't stop their charge. Pro Ahmer Saeed, who has re-signed for next season, top scored with 48 of their 121. They got Nawaz and Ashraf out cheaply with Saeed finishing with figures of 5-33 but the league leaders scraped home with two wickets to spare.