Whalley are Clitheroe’s cloest challengers, trailing by just eight points, but they almost came unstuck at Salesbury.
Youngster James Galling batted through the innings, hitting an invaluable 64 not out as Whalley were restricted to 140-6.
Aneeq Hassan led Salesbury’s victory charge and was still there undefeated on 75 when he ran out of partners with Salesbury three runs short.
Dave Howard took 6-63 for Whalley.
Skipper Richard Lamb enjoyed a tight game, especially having edged it: “It was a good contest, often the sort of score we posted makes for games like that.
“It was the tightes game we’ve had this season, and both teams played well, but often teams who have that confidence from going well win those sort of games, and we hung in there, kept the pressure on and just managed to squeeze home.”
Galling opened for Whalley, and made an invaluable contribution, earning praise from his captain: “James has been given an opportunity to open the batting over the last couple of weeks, and he has shown his potential.
“He batted for time and got us to a competitive score, put us in the game and set it up for the bowlers.
“He will be better for that innings.”
The bowlers took things on and managed to just stave off Salesbury, with the evergreen Howard’s superb figures standing out, and Lamb added: “Dave gave a stellar performance.
“He bowled through from one end and looked dangerous throughout, while keeping it tight.
“Wilkin (Mota) also bowled really well without much reward, and Simon Gorton chipped in with a couple of wickets while keeping it tight.
“We took wickets regularly, and just squeezed Salesbury.”
The Ribble Valley side host Edenfield on Saturday as they look to maintain an excellent start to the campaign.
But Lamb refuses to look too far ahead: “It remains one game at a time, we just want to keep going.
“There is a long way to go - we’re not halfway yet - and we have a tough July coming up - including a game at Clitheroe.
“We’ve just given ourselves a springboard and a nice cushion now.”