Colne may have secured promotion to the Lancashire League’s top flight, but captain Matthew Walker would be considerably underwhelmed if the title somehow eluded them now.
Conceding the Division Two championship trophy to rivals Middleton, who ran out winners at Towncroft on Sunday, would be a huge blow to a club that has claimed just two pieces of silverware in the last couple of decades.
Colne, who were last crowned kings 60 years ago when pipping neighbours Nelson to the post, were winners of the Worsley Cup in 1999 and 2010.
They could have wrapped things up over the Bank Holiday, but allowed Dale Highton’s side to close the gap to 11 points with two games remaining.
Professional Chris Williams hit nine fours in an unbeaten knock of 98 as the hosts closed on 182-5. The former Cumberland all-rounder added 77 for the third wicket with Grant Jones (42).
Andy Hakin top scored with 27 in the chase, Kenton Rhodes had opened with 23 and David Wallbank finished 23 not out, but their finish was 43 runs short.
“It was quite bitter-sweet,” said Walker. “To get promoted after suffering defeat was a strange scenario, especially when we could have clinched the title.
“However, we’ve got to look at the positives because we’ll be playing top flight cricket next season.
“As the season has gone on, and we’ve been at the top, that realisation that we could be picking up some silverware has grown. It would be hugely disappointing if it was to get taken away from us at the last hurdle.
“Results could have gone better for us at the weekend, we could have performed better to beat Middleton, but it’s still there to be won.
“It’s still in our hands. We’ll still be taking it one game at a time, we’ve never looked too far ahead, and we’ll be hoping to get over the line against Bacup.”
Colne, who had paid man James Price to thank after the South African scored 81 in victory over East Lancs at The Horsfield, could seal the title at home to Bacup on Sunday.
Walker said: “If we can get it over the line it would be a fantastic achievement. It won’t be an easy game against Bacup, though. We’re going in to it with an open mind because they turned us over at their place.
“Trophies don’t come around that often at Colne, compared to other clubs in the Lancashire League.
“Our last piece of silverware was a decade ago in the Worsley Cup and the one prior to that was about 11 years earlier. It would be very pleasing for everyone involved or anybody who has a connection.
“It would be fantastic to create a little piece of history as captain. It’s a brand new trophy, our name will be on it first, we’ll be the inaugural winners.”