Padiham’s Clarke hoping to cling on to top spot

PADIHAM CC V CLITHEROE CC: Padiham's Callum Clarke faces the bowling of Josh Marquet.'Photo Ben Parsons
PADIHAM CC V CLITHEROE CC: Padiham's Callum Clarke faces the bowling of Josh Marquet.'Photo Ben Parsons

The Ribblesdale Cricket League’s A Section is forbidden territory for the likes of Padiham at present.

But the new leaders of the second tier have started banging down the door to force an entry.

Callum Clarke’s side, relegated in the culmination to the 2013 campaign, moved two points clear of Salesbury at the summit after registering their fifth win from seven in all competitions against Oswaldtwistle Immanuel.

“It doesn’t matter who we are playing because we’re performing with confidence and we feel we can beat anyone on our day. We’ve definitely brought our ‘A-game’ in to play recently.

“We want to get promoted and return to the top division. It’s taken us some time to click but we’ve done it now. We are top of the league and it’s our position to defend now. We won’t be taking our foot off the gas.”

Padiham welcome Whalley to the Arbories tomorrow, with Richard Lamb’s side flying high in the top flight.

But Clarke is relishing another tough test: “Whalley are doing well; they’re fourth in the top tier.

“It will be another tough game and we’ll be the underdogs but we’re back at home and we’ve got a good chance. Our recent displays have illustrated what we’re capable of.”

Meanwhile, Read skipper Kyle O’Connor is looking for a response after a disappointing defeat to Euxton left his side adrift of defending champions Clitheroe.

“It was embarrassing,” said O’Connor. “From the first ball to the last we were rubbish. It was just horrible.

“We spoke about consistency and avoiding complacency before the game - but that went out of the window.

“We’re just so unpredictable and we’re maybe slightly too relaxed in games at times. “

Read host Settle in Group Two of the Twenty20 competition tonight, before taking to the road to tackle Brooksbottom in the league tomorrow.

“We’ve proved we are good enough by beating Clitheroe and Settle but then we’re showing that we’re not quite good enough to win the league a week or so later,” O’Connor said.

“We go from putting in the perfect performance against the top teams to making errors and doing everything wrong against teams below us.”

O’Connor added: “We need to find some form and keep producing the same levels week in week out. We need to turn up and bounce back.”