Read condemn Clitheroe to first league loss in over nine months!

Peter Dibb in action for Clitheroe
Peter Dibb in action for Clitheroe
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Clitheroe captain Paul Gaskell will utilise the lessons learned from last season’s title-winning campaign to ensure his champions bounce back.

The Ribblesdale Cricket League supremos failed to win at the weekend, having tied with Settle at the Marshfield Ground before sinking to their first league defeat in over nine months with an 88-run loss to Read on home soil.

Clitheroe, who have still only lost five games in 54 outings, suffered a similar ‘blip’ last term when losing successive games against Settle and Ribblesdale Wanderers in the Twenty20 competition as well as Padiham in the Ramsbottom Cup.

Ali Ross and paid man Janaka Guneratne hit 55 and 65 respectively as the visitors made 211-6 before the home side’s professional Imran Khalid struck 132 to move the hosts in to the driving seat.

However, Guneratne struck with the first ball of the final over to oust the Pakistan international and snatch seven points from the jaws of defeat.

“It was a strange and underwhelming weekend,” said Gaskell. “On Saturday Settle’s professional was unreal. He’s a very good player and he’s been very clinical so far this season.

“At the end a draw wasn’t the worst thing for us because I think most people in the ground thought we had lost.”

Frank Barden was the man to condemn Clitheroe to a rare defeat just 24 hours later when his six-wicket haul extinguished the hosts for 80. Stephen Booth top-scored with 20 at Chatburn Road at the home side’s tail end.

“There’s certainly no doom and gloom,” Gaskell said. “Read were just better in every department. They batted, bowled and fielded better than us.

“We went through something similar at this stage last season. But I’m sure the lads will show that same character as they did to bounce back last season and embark on another run.”

Clitheroe host Earby on home soil on Saturday before tackling Leigh in the second round of the LCB Knockout Cup on Sunday.