Read skipper O’Connor is building for the future

Kyle O'Connor in action for Read
Kyle O'Connor in action for Read

Kyle O’Connor has carpeted the future at Read Cricket Club by investing and entrusting in youth.

The Whalley Road skipper has endured a frustrating and unpredictable campaign to date, but recent transformations and performances among the starting XI have illuminated the potential that the club fosters.

After Mohammed Zafran confirmed his ability to progress from the second string, O’Connor provided Kieran Grimshaw, Jack Wood and Omar Hussain with similar opportunity.

And the trio responded well in the five-wicket win against Baxenden at Back Lane, with the latter making a serious impression with figures of 5-13 from 7.1 overs on his league debut.

O’Connor, whose side loiters just outside the LCB Knockout Cup qualification spots, said: “Our aim is the top four so we’ll keep working towards that. It was good to see the club’s youth players coming through so the future is bright for us. I believe we are good enough to gain a top four finish.

“It’s not the season we expected but we’ve got to keep building to achieve what’s available to us. There’s definitely room for improvement but we will keep developing and nurturing a stronger side for the future.”

Read will be hopeful of intensifying the pressure on rivals Settle at the weekend when they host struggling Brooksbottom who boast just two wins this term.

“Brooksbottom don’t seem to have picked up any momentum at any point this season so hopefully that will give us an opportunity to enhance our own form and build on our consistency,” O’Connor said.

Meanwhile, Padiham captain Callum Clarke still carries dreams of promotion despite the possibility of falling further behind the bottom tier’s frontrunners this weekend.

With the Arbories outfit absent from tomorrow’s schedule, Earby and Salesbury have he opportunity to polish their advantage when they take on Brinscall and Euxton respectively.

But the heartening performance in defeat to leaders Clitheroe has bred optimism. “It was good for the team and good for me to see that we can compete against the top teams,” Clarke said. “There were plenty of positives to take from the performance against Clitheroe.

“The team is starting to play well and we’ve got a settled squad now. The lads are playing with more confidence so it’s all starting to come together. It’s good to see.

“We’ve played everyone in the top tier now. There’s 10 games left and we’ve got all the teams in the bottom tier to play twice. If we can put a run together then promotion is still a possibility. The top two have got the big teams to play still so there’s everything to play for. It’s not over yet so we won’t be giving up.”