Clarke looking to take a “big step forward”

Cricket action from Read v Brinscall.'Read batsman Kyle O'Connor launches a boundary.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'17-5-2014
Cricket action from Read v Brinscall.'Read batsman Kyle O'Connor launches a boundary. PIC BY ROB LOCK'17-5-2014
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Padiham captain Callum Clarke is hoping to take another “big step forward” this weekend.

Having won six games from eight in all competitions, and triumphing in six successive outings at the Arbories, the Section B leaders will be looking to take further strides towards promotion.

Padiham host league champions Clitheroe in the Twenty20 competition tonight, they then travel to Back Lane to tackle Baxenden tomorrow before returning to home soil to entertain Great Harwood on Sunday.

“There’s a long way to go and we’ve got a big weekend ahead with three games against teams in the top tier,” said Clarke. “It’s going to be tough but we’ll look to keep going. We are doing superb.

“I’ve always believed and the club has always believed. This weekend is a chance for us to take a big step forward. We will be underdogs again.”

Former Lowerhouse pair Phil Haggerty and Ben Heap were acquired for the term, and Clarke has acknowledged the impact that they’ve had.

With the average age of the XI being 24 - though the inclusion of Jimmy Gray and Toby Muldoon drops that figure even further - the skipper said:

“They’ve come from a winning club and they’ve grown up around it.

“They’ve brought that mentality here which is helping us out. We are a young side and Phil has brought in some experience.

“Everyone is excelling at the minute and we are keen to keep winning because we want to be successful.

“We’ve taken a gamble in promoting some of the younger players and it’s paying off. The sky is the limit if we keep improving.”

Meanwhile, Read skipper Kyle O’Connor faces a three-match ban following an altercation with the umpire (Jack Schofield) in the Twenty20 tie against Settle.

He’ll now observe from the sidelines for tonight’s clash with Ribblesdale Wanderers at Church Meadow and for Sunday’s game against Edenfield on home soil.

With Warren Eastham, Andrew Rushton and Andy Bennett unavailable, O’Connor said: “I’ll be at both the games. I’ll be able to observe and see where we’re going wrong.

“It gives a few of the lads in the seconds a chance to step up. We need them to take their chance.

“We need to be on the ball and get back to winning ways because nobody likes losing.”