Clitheroe claim the title

CHAMPIONS: Clitheroe's Josh Marquet bowls Ribblesdale Wanderers' Mark Thompson on the way to sealing the title on Sunday
CHAMPIONS: Clitheroe's Josh Marquet bowls Ribblesdale Wanderers' Mark Thompson on the way to sealing the title on Sunday

Clitheroe wrapped up the Houldsworth Ribblesdale Cricket League Senior Division title with three games to spare on Sunday.

The new champions can’t be caught after their weekend successes at Baxenden and derby rivals Ribblesdale Wanderers.

A five-wicket win at Back Lane was followed by Sunday’s eight-wicket stroll against the Ramsbottom Cup holders.

Josh Marquet returned figures of 7-27 as Wanderers were dismissed for just 83, before Clitheroe reached their target for the loss of only two wickets.

It’s been a superb effort by the Chatburn Road outfit, who have lost only two of their 27 league games to date.

“To finish it off early is a massive bonus,” said skipper Paul Gaskell.

“But we’d like to go on now and win the final three games as well. It was always our aim to win the title because we started to put together a good side last season. We knew we had a talented group of players and a tight dressing room.

“So, we have been able to win games we shouldn’t have done because of the team spirit and quality of our squad,” said Gaskell, a one-club man and vice captain to Peter Dibb in the Championship-winning team of three years ago.

“With the bowling unit we have we knew we could defend any total. And we knew how much talent we had among our batsmen.”

Read claimed the local derby honours on Sunday as they stayed on course for a third-place finish.

Seven-wicket winners against Edenfield on Saturday, Kyle O’Connor’s men enjoyed a five-wicket success at the Arbories the following day to leave bottom side Padiham 21 points adrift of safety.

Padiham made 185-9, with Jon Harvey the destroyer in chief, taking 7-67.

And in reply, Read passed the target for the loss of five wickets, with Mohammed Jamal unbeaten on 88 as he carried his side over the line.

The previous day, Read restricted Edenfield to 158-9, before skipper O’Connor’s 73 helped secure a comfortable victory.

Whalley beat Great Harwood by 59 runs, after the evergreen Mark Fallon hit 53 in a total of 150, before Harwood were dismissed for 91.

The following day, Wanderers Whalley were bowled out for 99, as Ribblesdale’s Ian Britcliffe took 5-34, defending Wanderers’ 128.