NEW Padiham professional Chris Holt is clearly enjoying life at the Arbories.
With 27 league wickets he has become the fifth most prolific bowler in the Ribblesdale Cricket League Senior Division while adding 299 runs with the bat to his account. Now he hopes he can influence the team to turn near misses in to hard fought victories.
“It’s brilliant at the moment and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve had a decent start since joining Padiham but I just wish we could win a few more games. We’ve been involved right through to the end of every game we’ve played so we’ve had chances to win them. We’re getting close and hopefully things will turn our way soon.”
Holt captained rivals Read to a second place finish last season but he feels he carries a completely different responsibility this time round as Padiham’s paid man. He added: “Strangely enough there was more pressure on me as a captain because as a professional you can concentrate more on your own performance rather than that of the team. But it’s great here, there’s a great set of lads and a great team.”
The weekend started off well for John Bushell’s outfit as they crushed Great Harwood. The captain led by example as he fired a half-century to help Padiham overcome a 142 run target while Callum Clarke added 40 at the bottom end of the order. And earlier, after taking five wickets against the same opponents in the Ramsbottom Cup at the start of the campaign, Holt added insult to injury as he added another six wickets to his already impressive arsenal.
Holt said: “It just shows how much strength in depth we have in our batting line up. We bat all the way down because we’ve got some exceptional young batters in a good, strong team. Callum’s come in at number nine and fired 20 to help us to victory.”
But Sunday proved to be another day of near misses as Cherry Tree snatched victory from the jaws of defeat on an afternoon which saw Nesir Mehmood fall a solitary run short of a Padiham record.
Mehmood’s unbeaten 159 wasn’t enough to knock Australian amateur Earl Eddings’ total out of the record books but it did seem as though it would be enough for victory. Holt chipped in with 68 while Clarke and Tom Mustoe both made contributions of 20 in an impressive 278-5 total. But it wasn’t to be as the visitors managed to accumulate 210 in a revised total from 28 overs after rain had temporarily halted play.
“I’ve never played in a game like it,” Holt said. “Nesir Mehmood batted like a God and from there we didn’t think we could lose the game. But credit to Cherry Tree because their players came out and did exactly the same thing. It was a horrible game to lose from the position we had got ourselves in to.
“We could’ve gone fourth with a win on Sunday, that’s how tight the margins are. But now we’re eighth and 12 points behind fourth place. It’s all to play for and if we put a couple of wins together then we will climb back up the table.”