Exciting times ahead for Read as they close in on treble dream
Clitheroe remain the only side to have owned all three trophies at the same time, winning the Senior League title, Ramsbottom Cup and the Twenty20 in both 2006 and 2016.
Matt Walker’s side are on the charge. Eight wins in succession across the board has put the Whalley Roaders in contention for everything on offer.
They’re 12 points beneath leaders Settle in Section A after 12 games, they’ve qualified for T20 Finals Day, an event they’ll host on August 26th, and they’ll face Brinscall in the final of the Ramsbottom Cup at School Lane a week on Sunday.
Read scooped both pieces of silverware in 2003, under the leadership of Warren Eastham, as the limited overs competition was introduced the following term.
For Walker, eclipsing that previous success would give him a hold over his team-mate. “I don’t think many have won all three trophies,” he said.
“Read did the double back in 2003, but this would be unprecedented for the club. Warren Eastham captained the team back then and he’s always reminding me what he achieved as captain. I want to respond by bettering him!
“It would be something that people will talk about for a while and we’re capable of doing it. We have a good structure and we’re so well balanced.
“The cup runs have been nice. We haven’t looked like losing a game in the Twenty20 since the start of the competition and we’re in the Ramsbottom Cup final.
“Everything just seems to be going right at the moment and there’s no reason why the wheels will come off. There’s excitement around the cricket club again, which is nice.
“That helps massively. I’m trying to down play things, but people are starting to whisper about the treble.”
Read climbed above rivals Padiham, who they host on Saturday, with a commanding win away at fellow title-seekers Salesbury.
William Wrathall made 88 from 114 balls, which included five fours and three sixes, in the away side’s 217-7 finish at Ribchester Road.
Jamie Woodall then preserved that tally when taking 4-40 off 12 overs in their defence as Salesbury were bowled out for 128 in 37 overs.
“We started the season a bit slowly, which was frustrating,” said the skipper. “We lost our first game so we started the season off on the back foot.
“However, we’ve shown that we can handle those kind of situations well and we’ve kicked on.
“People had already started to discount us, but now we haven’t lost in eight games in all competitions. We’ve been winning games really comfortably as well.
“We bowled Euxton out for 42, Feniscowles for 73 and we beat Cherry Tree by 169 runs. Then at the weekend we batted really well on a wicket that was awful to play on. I didn’t think anybody would reach 50 on that track, but William Wrathall got 88.”
The forthcoming cluster of fixtures will be pivotal to the outcome of the campaign, according to Walker.
After Padiham, they take on Whalley and Settle, with a couple of finals thrown in either side for good measure.
“These next four weeks are going to be really big,” he said. “We’ve got Padiham then Whalley and Settle. We have to win those games. I think whoever is top come the end of the month will go on to take the title. We haven’t won any of the main trophies since 2004 so it would be nice to land one this time. It would break that cycle and show that we can do it. There are exciting times ahead.”
Elsewhere, Clitheroe remain in the bottom half of the Lancashire League table after losing out by five wickets to defending champions Walsden at Scott Street.
The home side returned to the top of Division One at Burnley’s expense when they were the beneficiaries of the Duckworth/Lewis method in a rain-affected fixture.
Clitheroe professional Suraj Randiv hit a league best unbeaten 56 from 74 balls, with five fours and a six, while his opposite number Umesh Karunaratne took 5-49 as the visitors were out for 189.
Harry Lang had opened with 48 for the 2017 champions, finding the boundary seven times, while captain Peter Dibb was next best with 13.
Joe Gale added 3-36 to Karunaratne’s haul.
Chasing a revised target of 146, Cameron Hanson hit 35 from 33 balls, skipper Nick Barker an unbeaten 32, Umesh 28 and Jake Hooson 21 to see Walsden home in the 30th over.
Elsewhere, in the Ribblesdale Cricket League, Whalley closed in on Padiham and Salesbury - beaten by 89 runs at home to in-form Read – in Section A.
The Station Road side triumphed in their battle against Fensicowles at the War Memorial Ground.
The visitors went out all guns blazing in the chase, having limited Mark McGovern’s men to a 165-9 finish.
Fergus Bailey took 3-37 for Whalley, while Jack Edgar, who has committed himself to the club for the 2020 season, added a couple of wickets alongside Richard Palmer and Sam Jackson.
Charlie Jackson hit eight boundaries in the reply when top-scoring with a knock of 77, Sam Jackson was run out one short of his half century and Declan Bailey closed unbeaten on 25 to seal a seven wicket win.
Finally, Ribblesdale Wanderers missed out on the chance to climb in to the promotion places in Section B with Barnoldswick after losing out to Cherry Tree.
Victory would have seen them usurp Earby in the top two, but they were beaten by nine wickets at Church Meadow.
Michael English (34), Mack Spencer (25) and opener John Rain (11) were the only batsmen to make double figures as the hosts were wiped out for 121 in the 33rd over.
Mark Hadfield inflicted the damage for the visitors with the ball in taking 6-19 off 10 overs.
And Wanderers could do nothing to stop the partnership between Jack Woolridge and Timycen Maruma from flourishing, as the pair got Cherry Tree over the finish line.
Woolridge was unbeaten on 30 while Zimbabwean international Maruma ended the innings on 68 not out, after hitting 10 fours and a six having faced 55 deliveries.