THE spotlight is firmly fixed on Horwich RMI’s Recreation Ground this weekend as the Bolton League’s showpiece final in the Hamer Cup takes place between Bradshaw and Walkden.

The two sides will make a second attempt at playing out the final after rain washed out the original date a fortnight ago.

And with no league fixtures scheduled this weekend, the two teams will have full focus on their bids to pick up silverware as they meet in the final for the first time since 1952, when Walkden won by 74 runs at Green Lane.

While league leaders and reigning champions Walkden are looking for a second Hamer Cup win in four seasons, Bradshaw are hoping to end 20 years without success and pick up the cup in their final year as a Bolton League member.

Skipper of The Rigbys outfit, Brett Ernst, has already spoken of how his side are determined to bow out of the league in style with one final cup triumph.

And after taking up the captain’s reins on his arrival from Edgworth last year, Ernst says it will also be just rewards for the work done on developing Bradshaw’s young side with the help of everyone at the club.

He said: ““I think it would be the icing on the cake and reward for hard work.

“If I’m being honest and measuring myself as the captain of a club – probably the one thing that I’m proud of at the moment is our ability to develop younger players.

“When I came to the club, there were a lot of second-team regulars verging on the firsts. Now they’re serious cricketers.

“In the last 18 months, Jordan Mason has taken his cricket to a new level and Jordan Evans’ emergence this year has been phenomenal.

“Elliot Dargan is only 19 and has really contributed at stages, and Jack Shovelton is developing quickly, Ross Dickinson too.

“The ability to stick with our youngsters and resist bringing in proven amateurs has been satisfying.

“To achieve success while doing that would be a proud moment for myself and reward for everyone at the club.”

As well as his pride in the club’s progress, the batsman from Down Under is also keen to add some English silverware to the honours he won in his native Australia.

After leading the team to Stafford Trophy glory – with victory over Atherton – in his first season in 2018, he has two more chances this year with both the Hamer cup and Stafford Trophy again.

Last year’s Trophy win was his first in the English game.

He added: ““In terms of success in Australia, I was quite lucky.

“My home club was Bentleigh in Melbourne, and I was part of a very successful era when we won a lot of trophies.

“When I came to England, not so much. Last year’s Stafford was the first trophy I’d ever won in England.

“Part of my move to Bradshaw, which was down to Doc Liversedge and Steve Dickinson, was because of their desire to bring success and trophies.

“We managed to tick that box last year and win a trophy.

“Now, we have two more opportunities.”

Ernst says the young players are excited for the final, having not played since a win at Horwich in the league three weeks ago.

And he also believes the form of professional, Ian Dev Singh Chauhan, could be key after his knock of 121 in that seven-run triumph at Horwich on August 3.

Ernst added: “Other clubs like Horwich have Brett Pelser and Farnworth Kamran Younas – for us, even contributors will be our key.

“But our pro has found some form, most definitely.

“I think he’s enjoying his time at the club, and the lads love him.

“We’ve had to challenge him a bit because he’s been batting well, but getting to 40 and getting out. Forties aren’t going to win you games of cricket.

“A player of his calibre has to be kicking on, and he did that at Horwich. Credit to him.”

Weekend fixtures

(All 12.30pm start)



Premier Division: Prestwich v Egerton.

Division 1B: Edgworth v Bury, Greenmount v Astley and Tyldesley.


Bolton League

Hamer Cup final

(at Horwich RMI)

Walkden v Bradshaw.