DARWEN chairman Graham Ainslie believes this Darwen side is as good as any he has seen at the club in his 40 years.

The Towers reached the Lancashire Knockout final last weekend with a superb victory over Ormskirk and will compete in the Lancashire League T20 finals day on Monday.

Darwen also remain in with a chance of claiming the league title, sitting fourth, 27 points behind leaders Walsden who they still have to play.

And Ainslie, who played in Darwen’s first Lancashire Knockout final appearance when they were beaten by Rochdale, has been hugely impressed with Mark Friend’s side this term.

“We have had a number of good amateur players down the years but as a team I think this is as good as I have seen,” he said.

“Collectively we are very strong, all our players I think have had first XI half centuries and a number of them can contribute with the ball as well.”

Darwen will be hoping it is third time lucky when they face Clifton in the showpiece on Sunday, September 2 having lost on their previous two final appearances.

Both of those games took place at Old Trafford but it will be a return trip to Ormskirk for Darwen this time around with the county ground unable to stage the showpiece due to pitch renovations.

But Ainslie isn’t sure returning to the ground where they won the semi-final will play too much into Darwen’s hands.

He said: “It is good that we have played there and we can go back with confidence but I don’t think it will make much difference.

“It will be a tough game as you would expect in a final but we have beaten a number of good sides in the competition this season.

“It is a fantastic achievement to reach the final, we had a good following and it was nerve wracking but enjoyable.

“We are all looking forward to the final now.”

Darwen will be without professional Calvin Savage for the rest of the season and competition rules mean they are unable to bring in a sub pro for the final so the Towers will take to the field with 11 amateurs.

The Towers will have Lancashire batsman Dane Vilas as sub professional for today's game with Lowerhouse while Daryn Smit stands in on Sunday against Milnrow as well as for T20 Finals Day on Monday and the trip to Walsden next weekend.