DISHEARTENED Read skipper Warren Eastham has conceded his side face another season without silverware.
The 2011 campaign has been identical to last year in many respects with the Whalley Road side falling short when they enter the business end.
Last season culminated with Chris Holt’s men surrendering the Ribblesdale League title to Clitheroe. And they pressed the self-destruct button as they lost to Whalley in the Twenty20 final.
Similarly Eastham’s outfit have already lost out to Ribblesdale Wanderers in the Ramsbottom Cup final and now, following defeat to third place Barnoldswick at the weekend, it seems as though they have gifted Baxenden the championship trophy.
“We are strong second favourites because 16 points is a big gap,” said Eastham. “It’s Baxenden’s to lose now. They’ve still got some tough games remaining but that game against Barnoldswick was a ‘must win’ for us. We needed to stay within a win but now it looks like it’s not going to be our year.”
Read’s performance was pedestrian and professional Stuart Hornby’s exit for just three runs suggested a tough afternoon was ahead. Andrew Laycock lifted the hosts with a superb unbeaten knock of 76, which included seven fours and four sixes, while William Driver and Joe Marshall added 29 apiece to their side’s 198 total.
“We were poor,” Eastham said. “We didn’t bowl well and our fielding was atrocious. We climbed to 57-5 after a slow start but Andrew Laycock produced a fantastic effort alongside Joe Marshall and in the end that helped us to 198. We were tremendously pleased with that total on a wicket which suited the bowlers.”
Umar Saddique did the damage for Richard Nichols’ side as he fired 83 not out as the away side crept over the line with less than three overs to spare.