READ’S defeat to Whalley has put them 18 points adrift of Ribblesdale Cricket League leaders Barnoldswick.
Richard Nicholls’s side scraped a narrow victory over third-place Baxenden at Victory Park to widen the gulf and picked up the neccessary bonus points in the process as they wiped Bash’s batsmen out. On the other hand, Warren Eastham’s men have struggled to extinguish their opposition in the bowling ranks and have ultimately suffered as a consequence. Barnoldswick have picked up 19 extra points for their efforts, while Read have accumulated just nine.
“We’ve lost ground on Barnoldswick but what will be, will be,” said Eastham. “We’ve just got to keep plugging away. We’ve given them a bit of breathing space now but there’s still twists and turns to come. We’ve only lost two games but the bonus points have hit us hard now and they are the difference.”
Eastham criticised the playing surface at Station Road on Saturday, citing the conditions as the reason behind his side’s downfall. “It was the tale of the pitch really,” he said. “People say it was the same for both sides but we weren’t expecting to turn up and play on a track that wet. The wicket was a shocker, very unpredictable, and was flying over head height from the spinners.”
Mark Fallon top-scored for the hosts with a well-taken half century while Richard Lamb added 26 to Whalley’s 149-run tally. Eastham took the initiative scooping five wickets while paid man Stuart Hornby added two.
Eastham said: “Their total of 149 was always going to be a tough target to chase because the wicket was just doing all sorts. Mark Fallon did well for them with 50 and showed that you could score runs on that surface. I managed to take five wickets, aided by the wicket, and Stuart Hornby grabbed a couple as well.”
In reply, Read capitulated and were 48-7 before Eastham and Andrew Laycock could put together their best partnership of the afternnon. The duo put on 39 but eventually Read fell 34 runs short. Whalley professional Kamran Younas took a staggering 8-47 from a spell spanning 20.2 overs.
“Myself and Andrew Laycock put on a partnership of just under 40 at the end but it was a poor performance and seemed as though we just surrendered,” said Eastham. “We really did sacrifice ourselves. We got a couple of points on the board when we stuck in and batted away. The conditions suited their pro (Kamran Younas) and he was unplayable at times.”