TWO more victories over the weekend saw Clitheroe climb to third in the Houldsworth Solicitors Ribblesdale Cricket League.
Paul Gaskell’s men beat Earby and derby rivals Ribblesdale Wanderers to move above champions Baxenden, who are the only side to beat the Chatburn Road side in their last nine completed games.
Clitheroe are the in-form side in the league, ending the season with a bang, and they are the only team all season to beat Barnoldswick - who clinched the title on Saturday with victory over Salesbury.
On Saturday, at the Applegarth against bottom side Earby, professional Kashif Siddique (pictured) took 8-52 off 18 overs as the hosts were all out for 143, in reply to Clitheroe’s 241-8.
Despite the usual wet conditions, a full day’s play was on the cards as Earby won the toss and invited Clitheroe to bat.
Chris Walton bowled a very tight opening spell against Siddique and Stuart Lemon, though it was Martin Kegg who trapped Lemon lbw.
Josh McDowell (7), Jack Dewhurst (1) and Peter Dibb (0) all fell cheaply, and at 51-4 Earby were on top.
Thomas Lord joined the professional and set about the attack, and Siddique joined the party - and with a partnership of 115 turned the innings around entirely.
Siddique was caught by Danny Kegg for 88, but it was a further 47 runs before Lord was adjudged lbw off Ali Azmat for 77 off 77 deliveries.
Simon Coulter (19) and Andrew Pearce (14) turned the screw, and a total of 241-8 was posted, professional Ali Azmat the pick of the bowling with 3-46.
The Earby reply was a case of the top order getting in and then getting out, as everyone struggled against Siddique’s tight bowling.
Walton made 35, Azmat 30 and Windle 12, but the lower order couldn’t handle Siddique.
Danny Kegg, batting five, kept plugging away for 36 not out, but wickets kept tumbling at the other end, the last five wickets only adding 10 runs as Clitheroe eased to victory.
The following day, Clitheroe beat Wanderers by 35 runs, with Lord the hero.
Clitheroe posted 147-6 - with Lord top-scoring with 39 off just 16 balls, while Dewhurst made 34 off 24, and Dibb 27.
David Howard took 3-54 and Brannon Varley 3-87.
And Lord then took 5-61 off 10 overs to help restrict Ribblesdale to 112-8, while Siddique chipped in with 3-50.
Varley top-scored with 27 for Wanderers.
Read rubber-stamped runners-up spot behind Barnoldswick with a 91-run win over Padiham on Sunday - on the back of a similarly convincing victory on Saturday, as Jon Harvey took 6-22 in a 179-run cruise against Edenfield.
Salesbury’s home game with Settle on Saturday was abandoned, following their 49-run defeat at Barnoldswick the previous day, as Barlick sealed the title.
Whalley, meanwhile, beat Cherry Tree by eight wickets, having lost to Baxenden the day before by nine wickets, as Kamran Younas hit 50 for the victors.
Ribblesdale Wanderers’ Saturday fixture saw a six-wicket win at Cherry Tree, who were all out for 109 before Wanderers comfortably knocked off the runs.
Howard took 5-44 off 21 overs, and Varley 3-44 off 13.4, and in reply, opener John Rain made 54, and Howard (18 not out) and skipper Alistair Marsh (27 not out) saw them home.
The curtain comes down on the season on Saturday with the final league games.
Read host Earby, Salesbury entertain Oswaldtwistle Immanuel, Ribblesdale Wanderers are at Settle and Whalley host Clitheroe in a derby, wickets pitched at 1 p.m.
The Ramsbottom Cup between Barnoldswick and Baxenden is the following day at Oswaldtwistle Immanuel.
Roll of Honour: Senior League - Champions: Barnoldswick; Runners-up: Read; Division One - Champions: Read; Runners-up Brinscall; Division Two - Champions: Padiham; Runners-up: Settle; Division Three - Champions: Feniscowles.