NEW Ribblesdale Wanderers skipper Alistair Marsh believes his side aren’t far off from being competitors in thein the Houldsworth Solicitors Ribblesdale League.
Despite winning just six games this term, loitering eighth in the table as a consequence, Marsh believes the difference between his Church Meadow outfit and the league’s elite is marginal.
Wanderers have accumulated the most bonus points in the division with 33, clear reward for their performances during the campaign. But the aim is to ultimately collect more victories.
“We’ve won six this year and lost 11 but we’ve got the highest number of bonus points which suggests we are doing things right,” he said. “We are not getting hammered every week, we’ve gone very close on most occasions. We just need to pick up more wins.”
And on his new role at the club, Marsh added: “I’m really enjoying it. Fortunately other people are chipping in as well with off-field matters. We are sharing duties among us. It’s a different task; you have to be switched on all the time.
“You’re constantly having to think about the order and different scenarios. I feel like I can take the club forward. We want to consolidate our current position at least but we can hopefully improve on it a little bit.”
Wanderers registered a 44-run triumph over Salesbury at the weekend. Marsh’s side set the hosts a target of 182 at Ribchester Road, professional Michael Erlank starring with the bat in a knock of 89.
“We performed very well,” said Marsh. “We had a mini collapse with the bat once our openers went, falling from 50 without a breakthrough to 70-4. But we consolidated for a while and rallied at the end. Everyone chipped in with knocks of 15 and 20, batting around the pro, to see us through to the end. We showed great character to bounce back.
“Our pro batted really well and was unfortunate not to get his century. He eventually got caught on the edge going for a big shot. But it was a great knock and paved our way to victory.”
And then the away side backed up their batting display with a resilient performance in the field. Dave Howard claimed 7-60 while the paid man added three wickets to his arsenal.
“The difference on the day was our catching,” Marsh said. “We didn’t drop any catches and picked up regularly wickets throughout their innings. We were really positive in the field. We were confident of going on to win the game. It was a key win for us now that we’re approaching the end of the season.”
Whalley were involved in a last-ball drama against Earby on Saturday.
Earby, looking to avoid the wooden spoon, won the toss and chose to field, and Whalley’s openers Mark Fallon and Richard Lamb set off steadily, putting on 30 in the first 10 overs.
Lamb went caught and bowled by Martin Kegg for 15, but skipper Richard Palmer came and supported Fallon in a partnership of 91, until Fallon was caught in the deep by Gary Martindale for 61.
Professional Wilkin Mota scored at better than a run-a-ball, as Palmer went for 33, and when Mota was again caught on the edge by Martindale for another 33, the score was 186-5 with two overs left.
The tail certainly wagged, adding a further 24 for three wickets.
Martin Windle picked up 5-66 off 10 overs, and and Ali Azmat 2-55 off 15.
Earby’s reply got off to a decent start, scoring 33 off eight overs, until Chris Walton chased a wide one from Matthew Howarth and was caught behind by Martin Davies, and Rory Robinson was adjudged lbw for nine to former Earby pro Simon Gorton.
Azmat hit a four and was caught behind, and suddenly 211 looked a mile away at 34-3.
Windle hung around for a while after Aron Pollard had added to the visitors’ woes, falling for two, and once Windle went, Danny Kegg and skipper Pete Baistow joined forces and batted sensibly as Whalley swapped bowlers around trying to unsettle them, taking the score from 82-4 to within touching distance of the 211 winning post.
Having reached 68, Baistow stepped down the wicket and was stumped by Davies off Gorton with four required and four balls remaining.
Gorton then bowled a wide, Ryan Sumner got a single, Danny Kegg followed suit, and the scores were tied with one ball to come.
Gorton bowled at Sumner’s legs, off the pad, and a scampered leg bye won the game for Earby - aided by a superb 125 partnership by Baistow and Kegg, who scored 68 each.
Meanwhile, Read did their best to maintain the pressure on leaders Barnoldswick, beating Oswaldtwistle Immanuel.
But they remain 26 points adrift, with Barnoldswick knowing they can take a giant stride towards their first championship since 1992 in this weekend’s Bank Holiday double header.
Wins, at home to Cherry Tree on Saturday and away to Earby 24 hours later, will take them to the brink of an historic triumph.
However, with five games and a maximum 60 points still up for grabs, Barlick’s name isn’t on the trophy just yet.
Read kept up the chase on Saturday against Oswaldtwistle, with Mohammed Jamal (102) and Kyle O’Connor (84) largely responsible for the home side’s massive 300-8.
The pair smashed 12 sixes between them despite Gerard Metcalf’s (5-74) best efforts to apply the brake.
When Ossie started their reply, professional Jordan Clark was soon among the wickets, finishing with 8-53 as the visitors stumbled to 104 all out.
Champions Baxenden are now down to fourth place, overtaken by in-form Clitheroe, who were 26-run winners at Edenfield.
Jack Dewhurst took a remarkable 6-16 as Edenfield were all out for 139.
Opener Farouk Butt made 47 in Clitheroe’s 165 all out, while Josh McDowell added 33.
All teams were left frustrated 24 hours later as Senior League and Division One fixtures, initially washed out on June 16th, again fell victim to the weather.
Only two Senior League games started, with Ribblesdale Wanderers getting to 52-0 against Barnoldswick.
This weekend, Clitheroe host Whalley on Saturday, while Read travel to Earby.
Oswaldtwistle host Salesbury, and Ribblesdale Wanderers entertain Settle.
On Sunday, Whalley are at Cherry Tree, Read host Padiham, Wanderers take on Clitheroe in the derby, and Salesbury make the trip to Settle.
• SALESBURY host a President’s XI v Sri Lankan Superstars T20 match tomorrow night at the club from 5-30 p.m., featuring the club’s professional Susantha Pradeep and a host of stars.
The event is sponsored by The Surface Print Co. Ltd, and entrance is £3 for adults and £1 for under 16s.