Read remain on course to defend the Twenty20 trophy

Brannon Varley hit 64 for Padiham in win against Earby
Brannon Varley hit 64 for Padiham in win against Earby

Read skipper Kyle O’Connor is delighted that their voyage to defend their Twenty20 title is still alive.

The Whalley Road outfit made it to Finals Day of the competition to be held at the Cliffe, home to Great Harwood, on Monday, August 31st, after beating Oswaldtwistle Immanuel by 24 runs at New Lane.

The club won the trophy for the first time ever last term when toppling Brooksbottom in the semi-final at Preston Old Road before sweeping aside hosts Cherry Tree in the finale.

And it was the captain who led by example to set his side on their path to glory on this occasion. O’Connor when top-scoring with 37.

Michael Whalley added 24 runs to the equation and Joe Marshall contributed with 31 as the visitors made 148-9.

In the turnaround, Elliot Lowes claimed figures of 3-21, Richard Sharples 2-21 and Petersen added 2-7 from 1.2 overs as Read claimed victory, despite a half-century from the home side’s Australian professional Daniel Sartori.

“It was a very good weekend for us as a team and as a club,” said O’Connor. “Making the finals is what we set out to do at the start of the season. Now we can start thinking about winning it.

“It was a great performance. We batted well and kept wickets in hand. The pro batted well alongside me and others chipped in. We bowled and fielded really well too and that’s been our strength in the competition this term.”

He added: “Everybody was jumping around after we won on Friday night because we had made the finals. Everybody wants to keep that cup and their reaction showed just how important it is to them.”

Unfortunately, it wasn’t good news for Callum Clarke and Padiham as they suffered a heavy 10-wicket loss against Cherry Tree in their quarter-final.

The Arbories captain was one of only four players to make double figures with the bat in a knock of 17. Nathan Whitehead (13), Phil Haggerty (10) and Owen Deakin-Pickard (23 not out) were the other contributors in a measly 80-run total.

Mark Hadfield and Amar Ullah hit respective unbeaten totals of 32 and 42 to see the hosts through with just 14.4 overs gone.

Elsewhere, Read maintained their fight for a top four finish with a six-wicket win over Ribblesdale Wanderers at Church Meadow.

The home side’s professional Ryan Canning hit 105 not out, but Frank Barden’s 5-37, which accounted for the first five wickets, ensured the hosts were restricted to 184.

O’Connor made 49 for the visitors and Michael Whalley added an unbeaten 67 to help Read in to third spot in the Ribblesdale Cricket League table.

“Frank bowled really well and took a chunk out of Ribblesdale’s armour,” said O’Connor. “Ryan Canning, as always, was class for them but we were able to chip away at the others. It was another very good performance from us.”

Padiham moved some way to extinguishing their Twenty20 woes by beating Earby by 135 runs to maintain their promotion push.

Whitehead top-scored with an unbeaten 73, Brannon Varley added 64, Jordan Baczkiewicz made 59 and Clarke 33 in a whopping 277-7 tally.

Four wickets apiece from Whitehead (4-34) and Curtis Meehan (4-26) then chopped Earby down to size as Padiham claimed another Section A scalp.