Read and Padiham suffer heavy losses

Double defeat: Read skipper Kyle O'Connor feels his side's title hopes are hanging by a thread
Double defeat: Read skipper Kyle O'Connor feels his side's title hopes are hanging by a thread

Read skipper Kyle O’Connor conceded that his side’s challenge for the Ribblesdale Cricket League title frayed at the weekend following back-to-back defeats.

An eight-wicket loss to Barnoldswick at Victory Park on Saturday was succeeded by a harrowing 116-run reverse against bogey team Settle at Whalley Road.

Paid man Imran Khalid did the damage in Sunday’s fixture for the visitors, smashing 10 fours and six sixes in his 112 ball innings of 123 out of Settle’s 248 while overcoming an early scare when dropped on 18. South African Brandon Scullard claimed seven batsmen for 76 for the hosts who are now 32 points behind leaders Clitheroe.

“On Saturday we were far from good enough and then on Sunday we let ourselves down in the field,” said O’Connor. “Against Settle we dropped their pro on 18 so he went on to get another 105 runs he shouldn’t have been afforded. That was the game changer.

“We had them at 80-4 and they were worrying. We were in the driving seat until we dropped that catch and their pro has punished our mistake. Our heads dropped straight after that.

“We’ve gone off the boil a bit. Nobody is spending enough time in the middle and they’re not valuing the wicket.

“The pro (Brendan Scullard) spent some time there though which was good to see. We need to start proving ourselves or else it might be time to give others an opportunity.”

O’Connor added: “At this moment in time it doesn’t look like it’s going to be our year. Our recent performances suggest that we are not strong enough.

“We need to start improving and playing with pride. We need to pick our heads up and go again. We need to take some responsibility.”

Elsewhere, Padiham also endured a double dose of defeat as Callum Clarke’s men endured a serious bout of travel sickness.

Euxton inflicted a punishing 125-run loss at Balshaw Park on Saturday before Great Harwood took maximum points in an eight-wicket win at The Cliffe 24 hours later.

Stuart Maher was the match-winner in the latter when accumulating figures of 7-17 from 11.2 overs to restrict the away side to a 75-run total. Padiham subsequently dropped to second from bottom in Section B.