It seemed a South African XI proved the inspiration as Read clung on to the coat-tails of their rivals at the weekend.
Whalley Road hosted a unique Twenty20 fixture on Friday evening when a strong side of franchise and first class players - headed by the club’s pro Brandon Scullard - challenged the amateurs.
Scullard was joined by five Lancashire League paid men in Brett Pelser, Daryn Smit, Werner Coetsee, Ockert Erasmus and Cobus Pienaar, three other Ribblesdale Cricket League professionals in Ryan Sadler, Louis Delport and Darryl Losper and two Central League pros in Rudi Second and Christiaan Jonker.
And it was the tourists that registered a 35-run win with Accrington CC’s Erasmus top-scoring with 62 in a 208-run total.
“The Twenty20 night was brilliant,” said Read skipper Kyle O’Connor. “There was so much talent on show. We bowled South Africa out for 208 with four overs remaining in their innings but the quality of their running between wickets, how well they timed the ball and their general batting skills was exhibition stuff.
“We were bowled out in the last over for 173 but we played really well. Watching the first class fielding and bowling of the South Africa boys was brilliant and great to see at Read Cricket Club. So many people enjoyed the game including the South Africa boys. As a club we’d like to thank everybody who supported the evening and the players for their efforts.”
That experience paid dividends for Read who remained in close proximity of the Lancashire Knockout Cup qualification spots with a six-wicket win against Ramsbottom Cup holders Ribblesdale Wanderers.
Brannon Varley struck an undefeated 96 out of the home team’s 195 all out with Scullard bagging a seven-wicket haul at the expense of 67 runs. O’Connor led by example in the reply and fired a commanding knock of 92 to leave Wanderers occupying bottom spot. Conor Lowes contributed to the innings with an unbeaten 21, Joey Marshall added 21 while Scullard added an unbeaten 20.
Meanwhile, Cherry Tree head the bottom section by four points after Padiham subjected in-form Earby to a 58-run defeat at the Applegarth. Nasser Mahmood top-scored with 99 as the visitors made 236-9.