Erlank and Howard inspire Ribblesdale Wanderers to last eight berth

DEFENCE: Ribblesdale Wanderers started well as they look to retain the Ramsbottom Cup
DEFENCE: Ribblesdale Wanderers started well as they look to retain the Ramsbottom Cup

SKIPPER Ian Britcliffe hailed his players after Ribblesdale Wanderers began the defence of their Ramsbottom Cup crown with victory over Padiham.

In their first round tie at the Arbories, a composed knock of 83 from South African Michael Erlank, added to Dave Howard’s 52-run contribution helped the away side to a formidable 281 total. Britcliffe’s side performed all the way down their order with Stephen Kerr and Charlie Collinge adding 17 apiece, both unbeaten, at the lower end.

In reply, Padiham were bowled out for 194 to give the holders an 87 run triumph. Four wickets apiece for Howard and Britcliffe limited their opponents, though Padiham captain John Bushell crept in to the 80s.

“It’s a great start to our defence and we played really well,” smiled Britcliffe. “Alastair Marsh got us off to a good start and then the pro has gone in and played a careful and cautious innings to build the platform.

“They dropped him once but he and Dave Howard went on to bat really well. We were on target for setting a competitive total but then 60 runs in the final six overs put us out of sight.”

The Church Meadow side had warmed up for success in the knockout competitions with a five-wicket win in the league over Oswaldtwistle Immanuel at New Lane.

The home side raced towards the 60 mark without conceding a wicket with paid man Chris Cook-Martin accumulating 41. But once opener Oliver Jones (16) went, his professional followed in the next breath which prompted Oswaldtwistle’s capitulation. Howard again was in splendid form, tearing through the hosts’ batting line-up and figures of 7/40, limiting Oswaldtwistle to 119, was a deserving reward. Erlank added three wickets to proceedings.

“Dave Howard bowled exceptionally well,” beamed Britcliffe. “On a green track he seamed it round and 7/40 speaks for itself really. Every time you ask him the question he performs. He bowled a great line all afternoon, frustrated them and got his just rewards. He was incredible. He’s a solid performer and every side would love to have a player like him. I’m just glad he plays for us.”

In reply John Rain fired 63 to build the foundations for a Wanderers victory before his team-mates batted steadily away to secure victory.

“It was a very good weekend,” added Britcliffe. “We made a bit of a slow start when Oswaldtwistle raced to 60 without a breakthrough but we gave our pro his first ball and good grief he looks a good player. He doesn’t half turn the ball on the off-spin.”

Wanderers’ cup win was merited with a trip to Victory Park to face league leaders Barnoldswick in the quarter-final on June 17th.

Elsewhere, while Britcliffe’s side recorded the highest cup total of the afternoon, Salesbury’s meagre 64 against Barnoldswick at Ribchester Road was the lowest.

Saj Akhtar did the damage with 7-27 as the visitors lost only one wicket in booking their place in the next round. Salesbury opened the weekend with an eight-wicket defeat to Great Harwood.

And it was a weekend to forget for Read CC.

The Station Road club lost ground on Barnoldswick at the Ribblesdale Cricket League summit after suffering a 19-run defeat to Cherry Tree before crashing out of the Ramsbottom Cup at the hands of Settle.

Saturday’s hosts set a competitive target at Preston Old Road, posting 187 runs and denying Read any bonus points after conceding nine wickets. And in reply Kyle O’Connor’s title contenders mustered 168 runs before being wiped out.

O’Connor, intent on making an impression in the cup competitions this year, demanded a reaction at the Marshfield Ground the following day, but he would be left disappointed with the outcome.

After being bowled out for 172 in the first round of the Ramsbottom Cup, the competition they reached the final of last term, Read failed to keep Settle at bay as the home side crawled past that total to register a two-wicket triumph.

Meanwhile, Richard Palmer’s Whalley responded to a 10-wicket thrashing to Barnoldswick by recording an eight-run triumph over Earby in the Ramsbottom Cup at Station Road. Lee Kearsley top-scored with 39 while paid man Wilkin Mota stood out with the ball, taking 3-10 off 10 overs.

Clitheroe were beaten by five wickets against Settle in the league, meaning Wanderers were the only Ribble Valley side to find success in the Senior Division.