Lightning strikes twice for Read professional Walker

Read professional Matt Walker. Picture: Peter Naylor
Read professional Matt Walker. Picture: Peter Naylor
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For the second time in as many seasons, Read professional Matthew Walker has hit 200 runs in a single match.

The all-rounder finished up with 210 against Cherry Tree last term, but inflicted even more damage on Feniscowles in the penultimate fixture of the campaign, closing the innings unbeaten on 251.

Incredibly, the former Lowerhouse amateur still doesn’t hold the Ribblesdale Cricket League record – Salesbury’s former pro Amal Athulathmudali owns that, with the Sri Lankan batsman posting 275 against Brinscall in 2014.

However, it is the best figure on record for an unbroken knock, beating Baxenden’s Babaar Naeem’s 226 not out.

Walker hit 30 fours and 11 sixes from 141 balls, adding 172 for the second wicket with William Wrathall (71) and 112 for the fourth wicket with Sam Marshall as the hosts closed on 375-5.

“I started off picking up runs here and there, but a couple zipped past me and then I thought I was in trouble,” he said. “I was dropped a couple of times as well so I was lucky to still be in. I never stopped from that point and I just kept going.

“Everything that could have gone right did go right. I rode my luck at times.

“I got 200 last year but I think the record is 275. Stuff like that doesn’t really bother me. It’s nice though.

“My 210 against Cherry Tree last year was the highest score for a first team player at Read in the league.

“I never dreamed I’d reach 200 again. I thought that was a freak accident so I can’t believe I’ve done it twice.”

Read also breezed past Settle 24 hours earlier to put themselves in to pole position for a runners-up finish.

Bailey Richards (3-37) and skipper Andrew Rushton (3-20) did their bit with the ball as the visitors closed on 136.

Wrathall (56), Michael Whalley (55 not out) and Walker (11 not out) then took helped secure a nine wicket win.

“It was good to beat Settle and climb up to second,” said Walker. “Settle are nine points behind us so if we avoid defeat we’ll finish second.

“With the way our season has gone we can all be proud of that achievement. I think everybody had accepted that Oswaldtwistle were going to win the league when they saw how their professional was performing.”