Read out to defend their Twenty20 title

Read CC v Earby CC in the second round of the Ramsbottom Cup. Earby bowler Jake Hargreaves, centre, is congratulated by team mates after taking the wicket of Read pro Keegan Petersen. Picture by Paul Heyes, Saturday May 09, 2015.

Read CC v Earby CC in the second round of the Ramsbottom Cup. Earby bowler Jake Hargreaves, centre, is congratulated by team mates after taking the wicket of Read pro Keegan Petersen. Picture by Paul Heyes, Saturday May 09, 2015.

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Read continue the defence of their Twenty20 crown tonight when they travel to Chatburn Road to face Clitheroe.

Kyle O’Connor’s side are second in Group Two of the competition, with Settle favourites to qualify in top spot due to a superior points total and net run rate.

With several permutations affecting the qualification process, O’Connor, who helped Read overcome Cherry Tree in last year’s final at Preston Old Road, said: “They’re all “must win” games, but in this instance we’ll qualify if we do win.”

“We really want to get through to finals day again and experience that occasion. The boys are switched on because they want to qualify. We’ve beaten them once this year and we want to repeat that.”

He added: “Everybody says that this is the competition they enjoy and want to win. All the lads want it and any silverware is always great to win.

“We’re not really feeling any pressure as defending champions, it just makes us more determined to do well so we can defend our crown.

“We want to have a cup on that bar come the end of the season.”

Arbories skipper Clarke, who has stewarded his side to eight wins in 11 outings in all competitions, leads his side out against the group leaders at the Marshfield Ground.

“It’s going to be tight with one game remaining. We’ve just got to focus on winning our game though. We’ll just do our job.”

Ahead of a break from league action this weekend, Clarke added: “We’ve got our final game tonight in the Twenty20 and then we’ve got a break and an opportunity to refresh ourselves.

“We’ll look to go again and embark on another run now. We want to go in to the break on the back of qualification.

“We’re playing with confidence and ambition now and everybody knows their roles.

“Everybody is playing to win the game. There’s been a noticeable change in mentality because winning is becoming a habit.”

Tomorrow, Read will host Baxenden at Whalley Road. “In the league we’re just looking to put some consistency together,” O’Connor said. “That’s been lacking this year.

“If we play like we did at the weekend then we’ll win the game. We’ve stuck together as a side, team morale is great, and we’ve got a good unit.”