BOTTOM CLUB Oswaldtwistle Immanuel will be hoping sub pro Ahmer Saeed will be their season's saviour after they lost pro Raja Ali.
The Indian returned home to look after his sick mother - originally just temporarily but it has been confirmed he won't be coming back.
And, although skipper Gerard Metcalf is disappointed, Saeed, from Pakistan, will step in this weekend for the double header in the hope to reignite Immanuel's season.
They face Edenfield on Saturday in the league before they tackle another of the season's strugglers Earby in the Ramsbottom Cup in a game which was called off last weekend because of the weather.
"We are disappointed to lose Raja but it is better to know where we stand so we can get on with finding a new pro and are not in limbo," said the captain.
"Ahmer is sub pro-ing for us at the moment and is around for the rest of the season so we are having a look at him.
"He is staying with some friends in Stoke and has been looking for sub-professional contracts.
"He played for us against Baxenden on Tuesday in the 20/20 competition and got 51 and took four wickets. But he is still just sub-proing and we will have to see how it goes this weekend."
Saeed is mainly a batsman - like Ali - but bowls off-spin.
Metcalf is looking forward to the weekend but was gutted his side's second round cup clash with Earby fell victim to the weather last Sunday.
"They were struggling," continued the captain. "It was the 37th over, we had got their pro out cheaply and they were 100-4. For me it was called off prematurely at 6.45pm as 30 minutes later it was fine again. But now we have to do it all again."
And Immanuel were disappointed on Saturday in the league despite 91 from sub pro Ruven Peiris, from Church.
The Sri Lankan hit 13 boundaries but he was only supported by Paul Dignan (23) in their 157-7.
It did look good for Ossie with Padiham on 63-5 thanks to four early wickets from Andrew Metcalf but a late rally gave the Arbories side a four wicket win.
Great Harwood strengthened their grip at the top of the table after a stunning show from skipper Russell Whalley, who has been in the runs this season.
The captain must have thought his pacesetting side were in trouble when Zahoor Elahi hit an unbeaten 135 for fellow title chasers Cherry Tree in their 213-6.
But Harwood showed their title credentials by holding their nerve with sub pro Kumar Dharmasena, from Rishton - in for the injured Martin Nurse - hitting an unbeaten 52 and Whalley a stunning 122 in their nine-wicket win.
The captain helped himself to ten sixes and 12 boundaries in his 91 ball knock.
Harwood will be looking to continue their stunning start when they take on Blackburn Northern at Cliffe Park on Saturday.
Baxenden slipped to an eight wicket loss to Whalley with their batsmen, for once, failing to find the big scores.
Pro Indika Gallage top scored with just 18 in their 92-9.
Baxenden are at Barnoldswick twice this weekend - on Saturday in the league and on Sunday in their postponed Ramsbottom Cup second round game.
- GREAT Harwood legend Geoff Allen this week played for Lancashire over 50s against Cumberland at Kendal.