READ’S fearless factor in victory over Ribblesdale Wanderers showed that fortune does favour the brave.
Warren Eastham’s side clawed a crucial win from the gaping jaws of defeat at Church Meadow to keep the pressure on league leaders Baxenden. Six points separate the top two while the gulf between Read and third place Barnoldswick has opened to 15 points after Jaffar Nazir’s men lost out to Clitheroe.
Read were always wary of the challenge ahead after Ian Britcliffe guided his side to Ramsbottom Cup success at the end of July and it looked as though history would be repeated. However, Wanderers handed their title-chasing opponents 12 points on a big platter.
“It was always going to be a tough game and we knew that from our cup final experience,” said Eastham. “To be honest they gave us the game after being in control for a majority of the afternoon. With 10 overs remaining they needed 30 runs; granted they were six wickets down but they batted like they needed 70.”
Professional Stuart Hornby (pictured) fired 43 of Read’s 144-run tally while Will Driver added 32. The hosts batted competitively and looked to be closing in on victory but an impressive spell by Eastham who took 5-30, two wickets apiece for Hornby and Andrew Rushton and a wicket for Driver did the damage and earned a 25-run triumph.
“We put 144 on the board,” Eastham said. “We got off to a slow but reasonable start, but we fell behind on the run rate and lost a few unfortunate wickets trying to make up for it. But we rallied and managed to post a score that we knew would be competitive on that wicket if we bowled well.”
He added: “We got rid of their opening batsman and pro (Muhammed Wajihuddin) quite early but they batted well and it looked as though we weren’t going to have enough. But the wicket was ideal for slow bowlers; the bounce was unpredictable and it paid off. It was a good, close game but the 12 points were important for us.”