WHEN Burnley announced the signing of Anthony Botha as their professional, the rest of the Lancashire League were asking 'Anthony who?'.
But the modest South African left arm spinner announced his arrival with a confident half century and a six wicket haul in only his second match in the competition.
By anyone's standards it was a matchwinning performance but his team missed out on the chance of victory when the heavens opened with four overs left.
At that point Enfield were reeling on 139-9 after Botha had turned the game on it's head with a spell of 4-8.
But with the home side their for the taking, the rain came down and the umpires decided to head for the pavillion.
``I think the umpires did a good job because the rain was coming down. It's frustrating but that's cricket,'' said Botha.
``If we were in their situation as a batting side I think we would have felt aggrieved if they'd stayed on.
``It's one of those things.
``We were playing for 10 points which seems a bit disappointing when there were only four overs left because maybe we could have pushed the situation.
``But that's the umpires job.''
With a little help from the weather Botha had masterminded an amazing turnaround in fortunes earlier in the innings.
Enfield at one stage appeared to be cruising to victory as professional Otis Gibson took apart the Burnley attack in a fourth wicket partnership with skipper Andy Barker.
The West indian's first five scoring strokes went for four fours and a six as he looked capable of winning the match single-handedly. But a quick stoppage for rain broke their momentum and, on the resumption, Botha bowled with new vigour and snapped up both wickets in consecutive overs.
The 21-year-old South African suddenly had a spring in his step and started to generate a bit of turn.
He proved too good for the Enfield tail picking up two more victims as the home side slipped from 109-3 to 136-9 before the weather intervened.
Earlier in the day Botha had guided the visitors to a respectable 190-8 before skipper Andy McLeod declared when his pro was finally out in the 51st over.
Their innings had been based around a third wicket partnership of 80 between Botha and McLeod (39) after Michael Brown had laid the foundations with a confident 25 before being trapped lbw by Gibson.
Botha went on to make 61 off 109 balls as the rest of the Burnley side found life difficult on a track where the ball was not really coming on.
Bernard Reidy was the pick of the bowlers taking 4-39 from 14 overs.
It was always going to be a daunting target but Enfield got off to a steady start as Barker and Russell Edmonds put on 30 for the second wicket after the early loss of Liam Jackson.
Gibson arrived at the wicket with the score at 56-3 and immediately upped the tempo with some powerful strokeplay including a six over midwicket off Botha. But Botha trapped Barker lbw three balls after the break for rain. And in his next over tempted Gibson down the track and the West Indian was bowled without really offering a stroke.
That dismissal knocked the stuffing out of Enfield and the game swung back in Burnley's favour as Botha started to look unplayable.
But with Burnley on the brink of victory down came the rain before he could complete the job and his side had to settle for four points and Enfield two.
``The first spell off for rain helped me because it helped me get my rhythm. Before then it wasn't really there at all,'' said Botha.
``Otis is a dangerous player in that situation because he is a strong man and often it's not bad balls he's hitting for four but good balls.
``As soon as a guy starts dominating you like that you cannot let him get the better of you mentally. You've got to stay focused and try and be as positive as you can.
``I just kept saying to myself if we do get him out then we can win this game.
``Subsequently I got four wickets for eight runs in that period and it could have been a winning performance had it not been for the rain.''
Unbeaten century for Arthurton Lancashire League
A MAGNIFICENT unbeaten century from West Indian Keith Arthurton helped Rawtenstall pile up the runs against Church at Blackburn Road.
Arthurton scored a stylish 103 as the visitors made 214-4 from 55 overs after winning the toss and deciding to bat.
In reply, Church got off to a disastrous start losing openers Alex Holt (4) and Phil Sykes (0) early on and soon decided to settle for a draw.
Only Mark Aspin (38) and professional Neil McGarrell (21) made any real headway as the home side crawled to 86-5 with Keith Roscoe snapping up 3-18.
Substitute professional Peter Sleep took six wickets and finished unbeaten on 56 but it was not enough to earn Ramsbottom more than a share of the points in their rain-affected game at Lowerhouse.
Sleep returned figures of 6-46 as Lowerhouse were restricted to 130-9 on a difficult batting surface with only former Enfield player Mark Whelan able to dictate.
Whelan hit three sixes before becoming one of Sleep's victims one short of a half-century.
Ramsbottom found scoring equally difficult against the accurate attack of Jez Hope and Matthew Mott and when rain ended the game with just four overs to go they were still 29 runs short of victory.
The win may have been beyond them but the visitors were frustrated at not getting the bonus point available to them at 117.
Brad Young had Colne in a spin on Saturday, but poor batting prevented East Lancs from making it count.
The South Australian took six wickets after an opening stand of 74 had got Colne off to a cracking start.
Young was ably assisted by the brilliance of wicket-keeper David Pearson who picked up a hat-trick of catches and threw in a couple of expert stumpings for good measure. Colne's all-out score of 161 was never within reach as East Lancs stumbled to 68-7 from 40 overs.
Joe Scuderi bowled 20 miserly overs for 28 runs and claimed four wickets into the bargain showing his experience of slow, soggy early-season Lancashire wickets.
Todmorden had only themselves to blame for not winning at Rishton, where they bowled the home side out for 150, professional Vaspart Drakes (4-36) looking a useful performer.
Skipper Russell Whalley (46) led the way for Rishton, with good support from Stuart Roberts (31) and Neil Wells (30), but the innings folded disappointingly from a good position of 114-3.
Brian Heywood, who earlier picked up three wickets, took an age to reach 41 and when both he and Drakes (28) were suicidally run out, Todmorden's victory cruise was under threat.
Sure enough, the rain bucketed down with Todmorden still six short of victory and nine balls left.
To add insult to injury, Todmorden were docked a point for their slow over rate.
Roger Harper made an emotional return to Bacup - only to fall foul of his former manager's son!
David Ormerod got the prize wicket of the legendary West Indian all-rounder who was applauded out onto the pitch by the home side at the start of play.
Harper bowled tightly to help Nelson restrict his old side to 125-6 from 55 overs, but the visitors were unable to sustain a run chase as rain brought 78 minutes of lost time. After a steady start from Accrington's opening batsmen, only professional Ryan Campbell could halt the slide as Haslingden's bowlers took the upper hand at Bent Gate. The Western Australian seemed to be torn between batting out the overs or getting quick runs before falling foul to an intelligent delivery from Mick Tracey.
Haslingden professional Hamish Anthony proved the most threatening of all the bowlers as Accrington never really looked strong enough to get runs on a tricky surface.
Haslingden's innings started disastrously, with Jack Simpson notching up his third consecutive golden duck against the visiting side thanks to a superb catch by Stefan Heins at short leg.
Despite wickets falling steadily, a gritty knock from Mike Ingham provided a platform for the lower middle order to secure victory as the rain closed in.