THE dream died for Chorley on Sunday, but only after a brave fight in a richly entertaining game.
Andy Holdsworth’s side had hoped to emulate the 1990s side which reached three National Knockout finals and won two of them, and they came so close as a fantastic run which has lit up the summer at Windsor Park ended at the last hurdle.
And if there was any consolation for the home side as they trudged dejectedly off the field to warm applause from a huge crowd, it was in the fact that they were beaten by a Sandiacre Town side of tremendous all round quality.
The Derbyshire side had the edge for most of the game, but the period when they took control with a century second wicket stand after being put in by Chorley eventually proved decisive.
The home side’s tried and tested tactic in this competition has been to bowl first and then pin the opposition down with vibrant, accurate bowling and fielding so they are unable to post a decent total.
And that strategy appeared to be working again as Billy Smith sent back experienced opener John Trueman and then tied James Chapman and Ollie Swann down on a damp pitch under overcast skies.
But gradually the Sandiacre pair hauled their side back into the game, Chapman taking the lead with some crisp drives.
And as conditions improved, they took the score past the hundred mark to build a platform for a big score.
The home side continued to battle, Gaurav Dhar’s outstanding effort bringing him a five wicket haul, but the visitors’ final total of 194 looked a daunting one.
To Chorley’s credit, they gave it a real go, with Holdsworth and the determined Ian Dickinson keeping them in the hunt. But they fell as the run rate began to rise, and though pro Mohammed Jamal struck four sweet sixes in a fiery knock which kept up the hopes of a crowd now basking in bright evening sunshine, his departure signalled the end of any realistic hopes.
Chorley eventually fell 35 runs short, but this largely home grown side can be proud of their efforts in a memorable cup campaign.
Andy Holdsworth’s first XI, whose home league game against Netherfield on Saturday was frustratingly washed out when the visitors were reeling at 16 for 3 in reply to the home side’s 187 for 5, wrap up their season with a league double header next weekend.