Gunar blasts into record books

Janaka Gunaratne blasted his way into the Houldsworth Ribblesdale League history books
Janaka Gunaratne blasted his way into the Houldsworth Ribblesdale League history books

Janaka Gunaratne blasted his way into the Houldsworth Ribblesdale League history books as Clitheroe went run crazy in cementing their place as senior division leaders.

The Sri Lankan all-rounder and his team mates blitzed Cherry Tree’s bowlers to all parts of Preston Old Road in reaching 314-3.

Clitheroe’s top ‘Gunar’ struck a sensational 133-ball, undefeated 210 not out including 18 sixes and 15 boundaries.

The 33-year-old’s total was the fourth highest in league history.

Australian Jake Brown holds the record, making 237 on debut for Ribblesdale Wanderers against Blackburn Northern in 2009, Kashif Siddique compiled 233 for Padiham against Wanderers in 2007, while Baber Naeem hit an unbeaten 226 not out for Baxenden when Wanderers were again on the receiving end three years ago.

Russell Whalley also scored 214 for Great Harwood in a Ramsbottom Cup tie against Ribblesdale in 2003.

Gunaratne’s unbroken fourth-wicket partnership of 285 with Peter Dibb (67*) was an all-time league best.

It topped last season’s 214 between Dibb and Craig Thyssen and is the second highest total for any wicket.

It has been bettered only by a 294 first wicket partnership in 1991 for Ribblesdale between Peter Sleep and the late Dave Cottam who died from cancer last year.

Tom Lord then took 7-42 as Cherry Tree were bowled out for 190 to complete a double winning weekend for the Chatburn Road side.

It followed their big win 24 hours earlier against Brinscall.

Gunaratne made 70 and Naeem Ashraf 66 not out of the home team’s 280-6.

Jack Dewhurst returned figures of 5-7 to help dismiss Brinscall for 102.

Clitheroe now hold a 13-point lead at the top of the table over Earby with a magnificent seven wins from seven.

Clitheroe are at near neighbours Read on Saturday, with wickets pitched at 1-30 p.m.