AMBITIOUS Padiham professional Chris Holt has targeted a top four finish following the weekend win against Earby.
The Arbories paid man inspired his side to a 59-run triumph at the Applegarth after posting 47 in Padiham’s 190 total which was followed up with a sensational eight wicket haul to topple the hosts.
And with the fixture being only one of two to go ahead in the Houldsworth Solicitors Ribblesdale Cricket League - Settle versus Read being the other - John Bushell’s men were able to close the gap on the teams above. And they edged closer to fourth spot though Settle’s victory at Marshfields denied them that luxury.
But they’ve moved to within four points of their target as Anthony Hall and Nesir Mehmood, hitting 31 and an unbeaten 55 respectively, aided their pro. And once Holt did the damage with the ball, it was game over.
“I was surprised it went ahead really, but we’re grateful that it did,” beamed Holt. “I really wasn’t expecting it to be on, none of the lads did, but when we arrived in Earby it was hardly raining.
“With there only being two games in the league that finished it was important for us to win. We needed to get the points on the board to close the gap. We’ve missed out recently with some bad results but that was a big performance, a big result for us.”
Holt added: “We’ve got a pretty strong side of lads in now and we’ve settled. We know who is batting when, who is bowling, we know our strengths. We’ve all bonded well and the return of Anthony Hall, who once captained the club, has been massive for us.
“There’s a fantastic spirit in the dressing room and everyone is enjoying it. I’m definitely aiming for a top four finish. We are capable of matching some of the bigger teams in this league so the top four is our aim.”
It’s been a fruitful season to date from a personal perspective for Holt. He’s added an unwavering confidence with the bat to his arsenal, though it’s his heroics with the ball that stands him out from the rest. His weekend heroics moved his tally to 47, the best in the league with Barnoldswick pro Imran Khalid two behind. Now his ambition is to reach 100 wickets for the season.
“I’ve got a bit lucky I think but I’m doing alright so I can’t complain,” he said. “I have surprised myself a bit but I have been helped by my team-mates, especially Kurt Robinson the wicket keeper. It’s going well.
“I would like to get 100 wickets for the campaign, that’s always something I’ve strived for. So far it’s looking good but I need the weather to behave. It’s all coming together for me now; earlier in the season I struggled to post runs but in the last three or four games I’ve got going. The lads have obviously helped to take the pressure of me as well with their efforts.”
Elsewhere, Read missed a chance to close the gap on league leaders Barnoldswick after featuring in the only other senior fixture to survive the bad weather.
Barlick’s game at Oswaldtwistle Immanuel and second placed Baxenden’s home match with Clitheroe were abandoned without a ball being bowled.
However, at Marshfields, they managed to complete a 27-over game and a thrilling contest eventually took place despite difficult conditions.
Eddie Read top scored with 30 for the home side as wickets tumbled around him. Settle found themselves 12-4 and 35-7 before reaching 68-8 at the end of their innings.
Read appeared to master the wet track with greater ease and at one stage were 55-5, well within sight of their target.
However, they struggled for runs in the closing overs. Needing seven off the final six deliveries they managed just a single and Settle had their victory. Read finished with four wickets from 14 overs while professional Mansoor Amjad claimed 4-34.
Barnoldswick head the table with 119 points from Baxenden’s 101. Read are third with 97.