Consistency is crucial for Padiham Cricket Club captain Callum Clarke in his quest to achieve a more respectable league position.
The Arbories outfit had been determined to bounce back to the Ribblesdale Cricket League’s top tier following relegation last term.
But just four wins in 17 fixtures has all but extinguished that ambition as the club hovers precariously above basement side Brooksbottom.
After beating promotion hopefuls Earby by 58 runs at the Applegarth last weekend, Clarke said: “The Earby result on Saturday once again showed how good a team we can be but consistency is the key and we have been well short of that this season. Nathan Whitehead performed exceptionally with the ball, taking five wickets, and Nasser Mahmood showed why he is the leading amateur batsman in the league (off averages) with a superb 99 from just 67 balls. We now have six games left and hope we can perform more consistently between now and then.”
The weekend double-header now provides the opportunity for Padiham to build on that platform. With 24 points at stake in games against Euxton on home soil and Salesbury at Ribchester Road they could climb the table considerably.
“Euxton and Salesbury at the weekend and they are both games we can win if we perform as we can,” he said. “A good start has been the key at the top of the order and stand in captain Kevin Hitchon will be looking to continue this.
“League wise there isn’t a huge gap between ourselves and the top three so we will look to win as many games as we can and just try and build on the great win at the weekend.”
While Clarke basks in the Tenerife heat, Hitchon will look to extend the philosophy of embedding the club’s youth in to the senior set-up. So far this term Clarke has stabilised the foundations for the future at the Arbories by entrusting in the club’s talented pool of teenage proteges.
“We have introduced a lot of youth players into the first XI this season with a view to always looking to the future,” Clarke said. “Toby Burrows has come in earlier in the season and taken vital wickets, including many professionals, and now we are integrating 16-year-old Curtis Meehan and 14-year-old Liam Simm into the squad. It’s great for the future of the club and I hope they can learn from the experience and improve as cricketers as Toby has done.”
Meanwhile, Read’s charge for the LCB Knockout Cup spots will be put on hold as their proposed fixture with Great Harwood on Sunday has been pushed back to the end of the month. Instead the club will host the regional Twenty20 stage which will include Great Ayton CC, Methley Cricket Club and South Northumberland CC.