READ’S trophy cabinet looks set to go another year without silverware following a weekend to forget for the Whalley Road outfit.
The misery of defeat to Settle in the Houldsworth Solicitors Ribblesdale Cricket League was compounded by a Twenty20 semi-final loss against Great Harwood, both of which were suffered on home soil.
Settle’s Pakistani professional Mansoor Amjad, Tiarnan Hammill and Tom Davidson practically sealed Read’s fate on Saturday, each helping themselves to a half-century as the visitors closed the innings on 245-4.
Amjad then inflicted further heartache on the home side, scooping 5-67 as Read fell 117 runs short of their target.
That result, coupled with Barnoldswick’s victory over Oswaldtwistle Immanuel, means the league leaders stretched their cushion at the top to 29 points.
Kyle O’Connor’s men and Baxenden now seem certain of a battle for the runner-up spot.
“I’d say we’re fighting for second place now,” conceded O’Connor.
“That’s what we’ll be battling for. Barnoldswick have had an incredible season and haven’t given us much of a chance. If we can grab second, then we’ll look to build on that again next year.
“Nothing went to plan against Settle. We started off really well with the ball but failed to capitalise on that and we got a little bit complacent.
“But credit to Settle who batted really well. Mohammed Jamal and Warren Eastham were the only ones to dig in with the bat for us but we didn’t really apply ourselves properly.
“We are a lot better than that.”
Elsewhere, Great Harwood effectively ended Read’s campaign with a six-wicket win in the last four of the Twenty20 competition.
Jamal hit 89 for the hosts in their total of 164-7 but visiting pro Syed Shahabuddin responded by firing an unbeaten 86 to take Great Harwood to the final, and eventual glory.
“It was an entertaining game,” said O’Connor. “Both sides batted really well but 160 isn’t enough in any form of the game on our ground.
“We knew we needed to oust their pro but he smashed it all over the place. We took two catches on the edge but players stepped over the boundary, that’s the kind of luck we’ve been having this weekend.
“Getting so close and then falling seems to be our thing. We put everything in at the start but ended up back at square one. We’ve all got to mature as a team and want it that bit more. We will just look to push on until the end of the season now.”
Meanwhile, Padiham failed to surrender their charge for fourth spot after beating Earby at the Arbories.
Padiham paid man Chris Holt claimed 4-77 as the away side climbed to 184-8 but Callum Clarke and Anthony Hall forged a match-winning partnership to win in the final over.
Clarke fired an unbeaten 53, including four fours and three sixes from 55 deliveries, while Hall added an unbeaten 26 to secure a six-wicket win and keep the pressure on both Clitheroe and Settle.
Holt said: “Earby’s total of 184 was a respectable score on what looked like a challenging wicket, but with steady performances from John Bushell and Lee Anderson we got off to a reasonable start. But in the end the win was down to Callum Clarke and Eddie Hall to put a brilliant partnership of around 100 to see us over the line.”
And Padiham’s second string sealed promotion to Division One after maintaining their unbeaten run in the league with victory over Baxenden.
Jimmy Grey took 4-42 and Kevin Hitchon added 3-10 to restrict the visitors to 116. Lee Anderson (41 not out) and Peter Shirtcliffe (39) then put together a stand to seal promotion.