RUSSELL Whalley has plenty of accolades and trophies in his long cricket career - but the Ramsbottom Cup has continued to elude him.
The batsman was looking forward to leading Great Harwood to success in the final on Sunday at Ribblesdale League leaders Settle.
But to say it all went wrong is an understatement, as Harwood's normally prolific batsmen just collapsed.
Pro Andy Crook had also been determined to lead his side to this piece of silverware as he may not be at Great Harwood next season if he impresses enough to win a Lancashire contract.
But it just wasn't to be as Harwood became the losing semi-finalists for the second year running with a nine wicket loss to the North Yorkshire side.
"We are all just gutted," said skipper Russell Whalley after the loss.
"We just weren't good enough on the day. We batted badly all the way down. We have five or six good batsmen here and we all under achieved. They just got us on a bad day."
It didn't look good when Crook was first out with just three runs to his name and the Cliffe Parkers were 12-1 without their paid man.
Crook had been the saviour in the semi-final against Read with a ton but it was suddenly down to everyone else. Mark Verden took a brilliant catch at second slip to see off the Australian.
Still, Harwood wouldn't have been too worried with the prolific Whalley - aiming for over 1000 league runs this season - and Paul Houldsworth still to come.
But Harwood just crumbled in front of a packed Marshfield and with plenty of Harwood support including former Blackburn midfielder David Dunn.
Opener Liam Deasey was quickly back in the pavilion for 14 as Harwood were 22-2. It was 28-3 with Whalley heading back after he attempted to blast one - and was again caught by the impressive Verden for five.
Alan Armer (0) was next out as Harwood struggled to 29-4 although there was a brief revival between Houldsworth (20) and Matt Howarth (19) as they took the score along to 62-5.
But man of the match John Hughes saw off the middle order - doing well to dismiss Chris Ramsker (15) after the batsman tried to strike it past him - but the bowler got his revenge with a good catch.
The rest were out quickly as Harwood set Settle a target of just 96 and Settle skipper Andy Davidson - a teacher at Rhyddings High School - must have known it was to be their day.
Harwood did make an early breakthrough when they got rid of opener Paul Stafford with just seven on the board but that only made way for their Indian big-hitting pro Robin Morris.
And he did punish the Harwood bowlers. He made 63 off just 43 balls with five boundaries and four sixes while Keith Hornby stuck around to help him (28). In one Paul Newton over, Morris went beserk and effectively ended the game, scoring 30 with three sixes and three boundaries.
"Paul Newton feels so low. I feel so sorry for him," said the Harwood captain. "Morris is a good batsman and it could have happened to anyone of our bowlers. Paul is gutted.
"We have no one to blame but ourselves though. If you only set a decent batting team like Settle 95, you can't expect to win.
"Andy Crook is so disappointed but it is one of those things. It was a bad shot and he was punished. He has been a good professional for us and I hope, if he is not with us next year, he will go on and do well somewhere else.
"I feel sorry for him though as he was desperate to win."
Harwood had set themselves up nicely for a good day out after an easy win over Padiham in the league on Saturday which keeps them in third place.
Stuart Maher took 5-5 as Padiham were all out for 47 and then Crook's unbeaten 29 helped them have a relaxing warm-up for the final.
Oswaldtwistle Immanuel skipper Gerald Metcalf will be impressed with his side after their comfortable 54 run win over Whalley. Pro Raja Ali top scored with 45 and opener Chris Burton chipped in with 40 in their 152-7.
Gerald Metcalf then took 5-29, Ali 3-21 and Gerald's son Andy 2-19 as the bottom club struggled.
But Dave Usher couldn't guide his Baxenden side to a win after Blackburn Northern pro Gareth Flusk made 73 in their 223-8. Despite 53 from Simon Payne, Baxenden were 111 runs short of the target.
It is a tough game for Baxenden tomorrow when they welcome leaders Settle to Back Lane, Harwood travel to bottom club Whalley and Oswaldtwistle make the trip to Cherry Tree.