CLITHEROE continued their recent good form in the Houldsworth Ribblesdale Cricket League, producing the result of the weekend by inflicting league leaders Barnoldswick’s first defeat of the season.
A superb unbeaten knock of 94 from young batsman Josh McDowell helped steer the Chatburn Road side to a hard earned victory which sent a clear message to their rivals that they mean business this year.
The margin of victory couldn’t have been tighter as it was left to the home side to knock the remaining runs off in the final over of the game to keep pace in the hunt for a top four finish and a Lancashire Cup berth.
The visitors won the toss and elected to bat making a strong start with opener Abdul Saddique reaching a half century while being ably supported by Liam Bedford (38) and Barnoldswick pro Imran Khalid (31).
Despite the early runs the leaders were never able to dominate the Clitheroe attack, continually being hampered by the fall of key wickets throughout their middle order.
The tight bowling unit was led by Thomas Lord (3-74) and Kashif Siddique (3-48) who were the men most responsible for restricting the visitors to just 175-7 from their allotted overs.
Clitheroe’s reply couldn’t have got off to a worse start with their top three batsman amassing a poultry two runs between them as the Barlick opening bowlers reduced the home side to 4/3.
However, the loss of wickets only meant an introduction to the crease for McDowell who wasted no time in chasing down the 175 target. Supported by Peter Dibb (30) the pair looked to be cruising towards victory until a series of quick breakthroughs reduced Paul Gaskell’s side to their final wicket.
Continued pressure from the leaders and stubborn resistance from number 11, Joshua Marquet, meant it all came down to the final over of the game. Up stepped star man McDowell to hit the winning runs with just three balls to spare and earn his a side a well deserved fourth victory on the bounce and close the gap on the teams above them.
After the game proud Clitheroe captain Gaskell was quick to heap the praise on the middle order batsman, he said: “We’re all delighted for Josh.
“The ability has always been there for all to see but unfortunately up until now he hasn’t been able to build upon his starts.
“Luckily this time round when we were struggling he has managed to step up and help us to a great victory.”Clitheroe head into games against Edenfield away and Cherry Tree at home in a double header this weekend and the Clitheroe skipper is confident the team can finish the season strongly.
“Previously we have let ourselves down at vital moments throughout the season but we seemed to have stopped that now and we are confident of extending our good form.
“Realistically the title is out of reach and Barnoldswick will probably win the league, but we want to continue this current form and finish as high as possible.
“We’re only 11 points behind second place so we are hopeful of catching them but we will see.”
Chasers Read took full advantage, though Barnoldswick still lead by 26 points with five games remaining.
Read won in a canter at Ribblesdale Wanderers after restricting the home side to 152-9.
Joey Marshall (65 not out) and Jordan Clark (60 not out) made batting look easy as the visitors won by nine wickets.
Callum Waddington top scored with 64 for Baxenden as they batted first at Salesbury.
And their total of 200-6 was 40 too many for the home side despite Susantha Pradeep’s 77.
Champions Baxenden are one point behind Read and 10 clear of fourth placed Clitheroe.
Whalley beat Edenfield by 46 runs.
The locals totalled 230-9, as Richard Lamb top-scored with 77.
In reply, Edenfield were all out for 184, despite 60 from Paul Gallagher, as Simon Gorton took 5-38.
• THE Clitheroe Cricket League title race took another twist this week when the lead changed hands with just 1 week remaining.
Low Moor easily defeated Chipping ‘A’ after bowling them out for 63 , Danny Turner retired with 30 in the victorious run chase.
Last weeks leaders Calderstones came a cropper against Sabden. Calderstones made 101 for 8 off their 18 overs with Ibby Hussain
making 30 retired. In reply Sabden sneaked home in the last over with 3 wickets to spare. Dave Flounders held the innings together with 27.
In the other game St James beat Chipping Ramblers
The league are on the lookout for new teams for next summer, so if there are any teams who fancy entering or would like more information.
please contact John Hargreaves on 07921 740255