Read and Padiham chasing silverware!

Clarke is confident of bridging the 27-point gulf

Clarke is confident of bridging the 27-point gulf

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Progression is key for Padiham Cricket Club now according to captain Callum Clarke.

After a relatively mediocre campaign to date, the Arbories outfit showcased their capabilities with a trio of triumphs at the weekend as Salesbury, Edenfield and previously unbeaten Clitheroe fell victim in separate competitions.

Ahead of tomorrow night’s Twenty20 clash with Great Harwood at the Cliffe, Clarke said: “Qualifying for the semi-finals of the Twenty20 will be difficult after losing to Read. We need Salesbury to beat them tonight and we need to beat Great Harwood. It’s out of our hands. We’re still in with a chance but we’re more hopeful in the league and Ramsbottom Cup.”

Padiham would need to pick up the pace if they’re to usurp Earby or Cherry Tree at the summit, but Clarke is confident of bridging the 27-point gulf over the latter ahead of tomorrow’s fixture away at Brooksbottom.

“The league is wide open and we’ve proved with recent results that we’re capable of finishing in the top two,” he said. “There’s everything to play for. We’ve played a lot of teams from the top tier.

“We’re building momentum and we want that to continue against Brooksbottom. They haven’t won a game yet but we won’t be taking them for granted.”

And on the club’s semi-final clash with Ramsbottom Cup holders Ribblesdale Wanderers at Church Meadow on Sunday, July 29th, Clarke added: “We’ve got the holders so it’ll be a tough game. The Clitheroe result in the last round has given us the confidence to push on though. If we play to our best we can beat anybody.

“We’re one game away from the final so it’s massive. We’re determined to reach the final and then finish the season with some silverware. We haven’t won it since 2008 so we’re hoping this is our year.”

Meanwhile, Read skipper Kyle O’Connor has no option but to put all his eggs in one basket.

The Whalley Road side still harbour the ambition of cementing a Lancashire Cup place in the league, but the Twenty20 trophy is the club’s only hope of securing any silverware this term.

Read top Group Two and only a disaster will deny them a place at Finals Day on July 20th due to a favourable net run rate. “Our Twenty20 form is good so I’m backing us to get to finals day,” he said. “If we continue performing like we have been in that competition then the opposition won’t be able to stop us.”

Ahead of the game with Section B leaders Earby at the weekend, O’Connor added: “There’s too many people not applying themselves in the league. As a team it’s not acceptable. We had a big talk in the dressing room at the weekend and there will be change.

“We’re hoping that momentum from the Twenty20 will help our league form so we can book a Lancashire Cup slot. Earby are playing well at the moment and are pushing to get in to the top division. They are doing a great job. They’ve lost just once so it will be a tough game.”