WARREN Eastham’s ambition to have Read battling on all fronts has started admirably.
The Whalley Road side’s 100% record continued in the Ribblesdale Cricket League as they beat champions Clitheroe on Saturday before advancing to the next round of the Ramsbottom Cup with a comfortable win over Cherry Tree on Sunday.
Naeem Ashraf’s men compiled a total of 158 as Clitheroe looked to get off the mark for the campaign. And they had a chance to cause a shock as Read professional Stuart Hornby (4), Jon Harvey (2), Ben Law (7) and Gareth Halley all out as the away side struggling at 18-4.
But Eastham has often spoke about strength in depth at Read and that showed. Kyle O’Connor hit an unbeaten 48 in a spell glittered with patience and maturity; Mohammed Jamal added 38, Joe Marshall 16 and Andrew Rushton accompanied O’Connor through to the end with 25 to secure a four-wicket win.
“We stared defeat in the face,” Eastham said. “At one point we were 18-4, struggling and chasing a total of 195. Clitheroe put up a good fight but the manner of the victory is testament to our strength in depth.
“Kyle was phenomenal and he batted like his life depended on it. He was the instigator of our victory and he allowed people to bat around him. He took the responsibility on his shoulders.”
Read were then without the leadership of Eastham, who will now be missing for several weeks after tearing a bicep, against Cherry Tree as well as Harvey and Jack Jones. However, Hornby who fired a stunning 105 in the 102-run triumph. Marshall hit 78, Halley 38 and Jamal 30 as they stormed into the next round, ending on 291-5.
Elsewhere, Padiham recorded their first win of the season, beating Whalley by 59 runs. Nesir Mehmood smashed an unbeaten 65 in Padiham’s total of 159 before Arbories paid man Chris Holt scooped a sensational 6-17 off 10.1 overs.
However, their Ramsbottom Cup journey was brought to an end against Great Harwood who crawled into the next round with a three-run victory in a tight finish at Blackburn Old Road.
• Ribblesdale League scorecards will appear in Friday’s Express Sport.