Whalley captain Richard Lamb was left cooing over Joel Blain’s debut for the club as a fine all round display from the Australian cricketer helped to secure maximum points in the opener against Euxton.
The Geelong Cricket Club representative took to life in the Ribblesdale League like a duck to water, as his contribution provided the foundations for an 85-run win at Balshaw Park.
Blain finished unbeaten on 33 midway through the order in the away side’s 170-9 finish, with professional Sam Sweeney (47) and former Lowerhouse man Declan Bailey (51), who has returned from a spell with Enfield, putting on 82 for the fourth wicket.
The overseas amateur then took 5-19 with the ball, adding to his paid man’s 3-13, as the hosts were extinguished for 85 inside 29 overs.
“It was the best possible start,” said the skipper.
“It was important to get back in to the routine of winning games and picking up points.
“We didn’t start to well with the bat but the middle order dug us out of a whole.
“Others then knuckled down and batted well to put the finishing touches to the innings.
“Then, with the ball, we were in control throughout and they never looked like chasing us down.”
Lamb added: “I was really impressed with Joel.
“He fitted in really well, he was keen and enthusiastic, and carries plenty of potential.
“He’s a leg spinner which gives us an advantage and he looks handy with the bat.
“Confidence will be high after that.
“He’s hit the ground running and he’ll only get better as the season goes on.
“We want to be competitive again, like we were last season.
“We finished runners-up to Settle in the league and won the cup so we want to be up there again.
“We’ve just got to try and build on last season.”
Whalley welcome Ribble Valley neighbours Ribblesdale Wanderers to Station Road on Saturday in a Group Three tie of the Ramsbottom Cup.
They return to league action a week on Saturday when they make the trip to the Arbories to face Padiham.