The Unsworth Dragons reached their second Twenty20 finals day in successive years when they clinched a convincing seven-wicket victory against last year’s winners Rochdale, at the Den on Friday.
Captain Chris Williams won the toss and put Rochdale into bat, on a night that saw Unsworth dominate from start to finish.
Jack O’Brien took the important wicket of the visiting professional Lansdale for nine in the fourth over, leaving Butterworth with the pressure of posting a sizeable target.
The Rochdale number three manoeuvred the field well and with some lusty blows in-between, looked as if he would take Rochdale to a competitive score.
However, it was the returning O’Brien who saw the end of the Rochdale danger man for 36 from 27 balls, caught in the deep.
Only two other Rochdale batters made it into double figures as the Unsworth attack turned the screw and Rochdale closed on 95-9 from their 20 overs.
O’ Brien, Williams and Alex Blake took two wickets apiece, with O’Brien returning impressive figures of 2-8 from his four overs.
In reply, Unsworth pinch hitter Jengahir began in usual fashion, scoring a quickfire 18 from nine balls. Rochdale did apply some pressure through the bowling of Butterworth and Highton, but it was the home professional and captain Williams (32 not out) and his vice-captain Christopher Long (17no) who saw the Dragons home in an impressive team display.
The T20 finals day will be held at Unsworth Cricket Club on Sunday.