High-fliers Read extend unbeaten start
The Whalley Road side proved too strong for Padiham in an enthralling encounter which did threaten to go down to the wire.
Batting first, Read made 202-5 before bowling out Padiham for 144.
Will Driver scored an impressive 92 and captain Warren Eastham, who finished the game with figures of 5-60, admitted they were both must win games and were glad his side game out on top in both.
“We knew they were both important games going into them and they were vital wins.
“The Padiham game is always a good one because obviously they are our local rivals but it was a good game of cricket as well. At one point they were 117-2 chasing down our score, were within the run rate and were giving us a bit of a scare. Unfortunately for them, when they lost Chris Holt they fell away a bit. They’re a developing side with a lot of young players and really play for each other but our strength in depth is there for everyone to see.”
That win and victory against table-topping Baxenden on Saturday means they are only five points adrift of the Back lane team and Eastham said it was important that they did not let them get too far ahead.
“If Baxenden had beaten us they could have been 25 points clear and that’s a big gap even at this stage of the season.”
Read won the game by four wickets in what Eastham called a brilliant game of cricket.
“It ebbed and flowed all the way and really was a brilliant game of cricket,” he said. “We needed 35 off the last three overs but Jamal was inspirational. He said he wanted to win it in the penultimate over and went and smashed three sixes and one four to make sure we did. He scored 40 off just 15 balls and it was great effort.”
Read can look forward to another double header this weekend as they take on Ribblesdale Wanderers at home on Saturday before a trip to Oswaldtwistle Immanuel on Sunday.
Eastham said: “We just want to carry on this winning momentum really. I really do think it is three horse between us, Barnoldswick and Baxenden and it’s going to be close. We’re the only unbeaten team in the league now though and we want that to continue for as long as possible.
“Hopefully if we can win these two then we can get to the top of the league and carry on from there.”