Clarke’s men suffer shock loss in league

Read victory: Mohammed Zafran in action for Read in their win over Earby on Saturday
Read victory: Mohammed Zafran in action for Read in their win over Earby on Saturday

Callum Clarke’s Padiham were the victims as Brooksbottom opened their Houldsworth Ribblesdale League senior division account at the 10th time of asking.

Former Enfield wicketkeeper Ash Gowers proved the hero in aiding the basement club’s plight, firing an unbeaten 95 as the hosts posted 205-7 after 45 overs at Rowlands Road.

In the reverse, Ramsbottom Cup semi-finalists Padiham culminated the innings 26 runs short with captain Clarke top-scoring with 54 before being halted by the combination of bowler Steven Filkins (5-63) and Gowers.

Despite their win Brooksbottom remain bottom, 11 points behind second bottom Edenfield who suffered a five wicket defeat against visitors Oswaldtwistle Immanuel.

“We were cruising but then a couple of questionable decisions proved costly,” said Clarke. “After the run out, Anthony Hall and Lee Anderson were adjudged LBW despite hitting the ball. It affected us and we failed to rebuild. It happens in cricket but it left a sour taste. The decisions broke up some key partnerships and we couldn’t recover.

“Many players didn’t bat to their potential but we bowled well. It’s a tough place to go and it’s quite difficult to field in. We let a few runs slip that wouldn’t have happened at other grounds. Apart from the opening partnerships the batting let us down.”

On his individual contribution, Clarke added: “I’m batting well at the moment and I’ve hit some decent form but it’s frustrating when it’s all in vain. I’d rather get nothing and the team go on to win. But that’s another plus point at the moment because there’s been some promising individual performances.”

Elsewhere, Kyle O’Connor’s Read plugged the gap on the Lancashire Cup qualification spots by beating rivals Earby at Whalley Road.

The hosts posted an insurmountable total of 256-7 before the visitors, who top the league’s bottom tier, culminated the clash 65 runs shy.

At the top, Clitheroe made it eight wins from nine with a crushing eight wicket success over Euxton while nearest rivals Whalley edged past the challenge of Salesbury to keep the pressure on.

Meanwhile, Great Harwood maintained their title challenge with victory over Barnoldswick, Settle overcame Baxenden and Brinscall thrashed Ribblesdale Wanderers.