Read eagerly anticipating huge top of the table clash

Read batsman Joe Marshall faces the bowling of Barnoldswick bowler Saj Aktar

Read batsman Joe Marshall faces the bowling of Barnoldswick bowler Saj Aktar

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Read skipper Kyle O’Connor hailed his side’s performance against Barnoldswick as the best he’s witnessed at the club.

The Whalley Road outfit dismantled last year’s Ribblesdale Cricket League champions with a 57-run triumph following a glittering display on home soil.

Joe Marshall was the stand out performer in Read’s tally of 283 as he fired 88 while Jon Harvey contributed 66 to the total. And Andrew Rushton ensured the home side defended their impressive innings toppling five of the away side’s batsmen at the expense of 47 runs.

“It was a massive win for us,” beamed O’Connor. “It was a great display. That was our best performance as a side that I’ve witnessed at Read. Every amateur performed unbelievably.”

The victory sets up a tantalising weekend of cricket as Read take on leaders Clitheroe, with just two points separating the sides at the summit.

O’Connor admits the prospect of overtaking Paul Gaskell’s men this weekend is mouth-watering with the rivallry between the two growing in ferocity.

“I haven’t seen confidence as high as this in years,” he said. “It definitely makes my life easier as captain. Everyone is playing to their strengths and it’s paying off. Everybody is contributing and we are feeling very good as a side.

“It would be nice to get one over on Clitheroe. We’re always clashing with them because there’s a big rivalry that’s been there for a while. There’s a bit of jealousy between the two clubs. There’s always something in the water.”

He added: “This will be the biggest game we’ve had during my captaincy. It would be nice to win and lead the group so they’ll be chasing us rather than the reverse. On current form I’m backing us to beat them.”

Clitheroe remained top of the pile, obliterating Edenfield by eight wickets at Gincroft Lane. Professional Kashif Siddique claimed 5-11 as the hosts opened with 102 before Jack Dewhurst’s unbeaten 54 comfortably eased his side past that mark.

Meanwhile, Ribblesdale Wanderers continued their remarkable start to the campaign by climbing to third with a 70-run win over Cherry Tree. Brannon Varley was in spectacular form at Preston Old Road, contributing 102 to Wanderers’ 239-7 finish. Martin Briggs also contributed a half-century for the visitors.

Salesbury climbed clear of the division’s danger zone as they defended a 181 total doggedly to overcome new boys Brooksbottom by 29 runs.

Finally, Whalley recorded an exhilarating triumph over Padiham to send the Arbories outfit crashing to the basement of the table. Paid man Saurabh Bandekar (70 not out), Martin Davies (66), and Richard Lamb (55) led the line expertly in a formidable total of 240-3. In reply Dave Howard’s impressive takings of 6-34 secured a 137-run win.