Read have reached the summit of the Ribblesdale Cricket League.
Two victories over double-header weekend, where they picked up maximum points, took them to the summit, and they now sit a solitary point ahead of Barnoldswick.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said skipper Warren Eastham. “Every time we got points on the board every body else seemed to be doing exactly the same so it’s nice to finally be up there. We chased Baxenden in the first half of the season, then Barnoldswick took over.
“It feels good; it’s only a point but it’s the first time this season that we’ve been there. We won’t get carried away though because the top three are playing very well. We’ve pulled 18 points back on Barnoldswick in the last couple of weeks.”
Read have played with exuberance and invention throughout the season, though to date their efforts haven’t been rewarded with the necessary bonus points. Batting has been their strength, though they’ve craved more accuracy from their bowlers. They now have 13 bonus points after the weekend, though that remains the lowest in the league.
“It’s just been nice to accumulate some bonus points at last,” Eastham said. “We managed to get maximum points in both games. It shows the strength in our batting, which is where we are winning games, but those bonus points have been vital because they’ve taken us top.”
Will Driver’s (pictured) 87 was the highlight of Read’s 210-run total against Cherry Tree while Andrew Laycock added 32. Then Jon Harvey picked up 5-38 from 13 overs to secure a 67-run win.
Eastham said: “We played exceptionally well in all areas. We’ve been trying hard all season to improve our fielding and we’ve put that right. Batting-wise we didn’t get off to the greatest start but we batted down and Will Driver allowed us to accelerate. Our total was always going to be too much for them, especially when their pro Paul Turner was out early.”
But victories don’t come much more comfortable than Sunday’s clash at The Cliffe. Professional Stuart Hornby’s 6-11 from 15 overs reduced Great Harwood to a total of 47 and it was left to Hornby and Kyle O’Connor, who hit an unbeaten 20 apiece to finish proceedings.
“Great Harwood had one of the weakest sides I’ve seen by their standard,” Eastham said. “I noticed a few third team lads in there. But We just bowled line and length and the wickets came.”