RUTHLESS Clitheroe are ready to leave their recent past behind in a bid to focus on the future.
Naeem Ashraff’s men have identified their weaknesses in recent weeks after losing their opening four league games of the campaign and are now determined to bring their strengths to the fore.
Six consecutive wins at Chatburn Road in all competitions, and five wins from six in the Ribblesdale Cricket League, has seen Clitheroe’s fortunes transformed and club spokesman Farouk Hussain believes it’s down to the opening batting partnership.
Joshua McDowell and Andrew Pearce didn’t feature in the devastating 10-wicket triumph over neighbours Ribblesdale Wanderers in the 20/20 competition, but they provided the platform for victory against Barnoldswick and Edenfield.
The pair put on a 48-run stand against Barnoldswick in a game which McDowell went on to fire an unbeaten 68 and they repeated that performance against Edenfield as McDowell hit 35 and Pearce added 26.
“Joshua McDowell has had a very good weekend and has scored runs in every game and that has contributed to our recent success,” said Farouk. “He’s formed a strong opening partnership with Andrew Pearce and they’ve put on a 50-run stand for the opening wicket in both league games.
“That gives everyone a solid platform to build on.
“It was a real struggle at the start of the season because we lost six first team players including the likes of captain Peter Dibb who was a main source of our opening runs.”
And that form has paid dividends for skipper Ashraff who was forced to tailor his batting style to suit his faultering side early in the season.
“However, the skipper knows the best form of defence is to attack.
Farouk added: “More responsibility was mounted on the batsmen lower down in the order.
“Last year Andrew would have come in at number seven or eight and Joshua struggled to make an impact but they’ve both been very encouraging.
“It’s important that runs are scored at the top. Early in the season, when we were losing early wickets, Naeem (Ashraff) had to come in and rebuild rather than playing his normal attacking game, but now he can play to his strengths.
“There’s less pressure now.”