MISSION completed is the buzzword emanating from Shap Road after skipper Stu Parkin led his Kendal team to victory over holders Blackpool in the Readers Cup quarter-final.
The tight and tense two-wicket victory at Stanley Park owed much to a rear-guard action as Kendal’s lower order, led by resilient Adam Cowperthwaite, saw the visitors home with two overs to spare.
Kendal will now host the Lancashire Colts in the semi-final in August with the winners coming up against the victors of the other last four clash between Netherfield and St Annes.
Parkin believes his side once again showcased their resilience when star performers such as Jamie How and Terry Hunte didn’t reach their usual heady heights.
“To be honest we knew it was going to be a tough game,” said Parkin.
“Blackpool are top of the league and are playing some good cricket at the moment but so are we.
“I honestly do believe we are a match for any team in the league on our day. We’ve shown over the last four performances that we do have strength in character.
“Sometimes people say we are a one man or two man team and if Jamie or Terry don’t get any runs we struggle but we showed real character in the lower order on Sunday which is really pleasing from a team point of view and carries on the good little run we are on at the moment.
“The cup means a lot to anyone. Cricket clubs need games at home, especially Sunday games to get the money over the bar so from a club point of view it’s a fantastic chance for us.
“The Lancashire Colts are likely to bring a few supporters but we are confident we can beat them in the semi-final but you never know.”
Another important Readers Cup contribution came from teenager Darren Nightingale who made a crucial 14 runs in trying circumstances while also bowling a spell of 3-25.
But this was nothing compared to his heroics 24 hours earlier when the 19-year-old was thrown the ball by his skipper and subsequently bowled a triple wicket maiden to salvage a winning draw for Kendal.
“He’s been in and out of the game for cup games but he deserves his chance in the first team and he has taken that with both hands,” said Parkin.
“It was a fantastic effort on Saturday and getting the pro out against Blackpool on Sunday.
“He is really coming of age. He has put the hard work in and is reaping the rewards now.
“He was already bowling at the time. I thought he was bowling well and offered a different slant with him being a left arm seamer.
“I like to put trust into people and I think a lesser player might have crumbled.
“I’ve known Darren since he was 14 and I know what he is capable so I was obviously really pleased with the outcome.
“Although it was a winning draw it was the best possible outcome.
“We were stitched up by the rain because we were off two or three times but when Morecambe batted they knew the total and weren’t interrupted by the rain.
“The victory showed a strength of character in the team and a togetherness that we will to keep on going even when it looks lost.”
This week, Kendal host Darwen on Saturday before Furness travel to Shap Road for the Cumbria Cup semi-final on Sunday.