Padiham win twice but Read lose ground in Lancashire Cup chase

Padiham captain Calum Clarke hit 30 on Sunday against Cherry Tree
Padiham captain Calum Clarke hit 30 on Sunday against Cherry Tree

They’ve left it too late to challenge for promotion, but Padiham have finished the season in prolific form.

A couple of victories at the weekend made it four wins from the last five outings for Callum Clarke’s side, who still languish sixth in Section B.

While they broke the 100-point barrier, the club’s ambition of bouncing back to the top tier has eroded with Cherry Tree’s and Earby’s total impossible to overhaul with just two games remaining.

“We’ve moved up a couple of places, it’s still a tight league, and it will be interesting to see how it develops,” said Clarke. “But promotion is off the cards with only two games left. We’ve just kicked on a bit too late. We want top finish as high as we can and build towards next season.”

Padiham started with a 79-run triumph against Edenfield at Gincroft Lane. Nesir Mahmood top scored with 55, Nathan Whitehead added 53 while professional Darryl Losper contributed a knock of 41 in a total of 228-9. In the reply, teenager Curtis Meehan and Losper picked up three wickets apiece.

“We won both games,” Clarke beamed. “It’s been a great weekend for us. We picked up 24 points which is brilliant. That takes us to four wins from five games now. We’re picking up that consistency that I’ve been talking about. It was very pleasing, particularly beating top-of-the-league Cherry Tree who needed a win for promotion.

“It was a comfortable win against Edenfield on what was a tricky wicket but we batted really well. It was a great all-round performance and it was good to see the youth players get the wickets.”

Against the league leaders, Padiham posted 248-7 at the Arbories before toppling Cherry Tree for 195 in a 53-run victory. Kevin Hitchon starred with the bat in a knock of 63, Mahmood added 47, while Clarke and Peter Shirtcliffe fired 30 runs apiece. Toby Burrows took three wickets in the reverse.

“Against Cherry Tree we posted 248-7 with another exceptional batting display. The lads are starting to believe in themselves again. Performances and results like that gives your confidence a significant boost.”

However, Read’s push for a top four finish took an almighty knock at the weekend as they lost to both Clitheroe and Settle.

Kyle O’Connor’s men suffered severe travel sickness on their travels - losing by 77 runs at Chatburn Road before enduring a 58-run defeat at the Marshfield Ground.

Read slipped to sixth in the top tier and are 18 points behind fourth place Whalley with a game in hand.

“We lost both games and only picked up two bonus points over the weekend,” O’Connor said. “We bowled well both days but haven’t been able to chase down the totals. It was disappointing.

“We’ve got five games to go so we’ve got to finish strong. Fourth place is still in our sights but we’ll have to beat Whalley when we play them. We’ve got to qualify for the LCB Knockout Cup next year.”