Another inconsistent weekend of cricket for Padiham effectively dampened any hopes of returning to the Ribblesdale Cricket League’s top tier.
The Arbories outfit carried the momentum from victory at the Applegarth against Earby to dismantle Euxton on home soil on Saturday by 75 runs. However, Callum Clarke’s men, captained by Kevin Hitchon in the skipper’s absence, fell to a heavy seven-wicket loss to Salesbury 24 hours later.
Hitchon led by example throughout both fixtures, opening with 65 and putting on 98 for the second wicket with paid man Darryl Losper against Euxton, before hammering nine fours on his way to 78 at Ribchester Road.
Despite the remainder of the batting order failing to reach double figures, Padiham still managed to fire a 171-run total. In the reply, Nathan Whitehead claimed 3-41 from 13 overs, teenager Toby Burrows took 4-21 from a 12.2 over spell while Losper took two scalps at the expense of 31 runs.
“In tough conditions their pro (Preston White) bowled brilliantly and picked up eight wickets,” said Peter Shirtcliffe. “Fortunately the pairing of stand-in skipper Kevin Hitchon and professional Darryl Losper batted well and were the only ones to hit double figures. We had a collapse at the end of the innings but we responded and did the business with the ball.
“Nathan Whitehead took three wickets and Toby Burrows - a young left arm spinner - bowled exceptionally well to claim four wickets. You could see in the performance how much we all wanted to win. We got their pro with the third ball thanks to a superb catch from Shahbaz Rashid and went on to bowl Euxton out for 96 which was a fantastic result.”
Hitchon was the star man again on Sunday, but his heroics failed to inspire as Padiham slipped. Following a downpour, Salesbury were required to chase a revised target of 91 which they achieved in the 13th over.
“On Sunday Kevin Hitchon batted really well again in a rain affected game. It wasn’t enough this time though and we lost by seven wickets. With four games left now I don’t think we can do enough to gain promotion.”