New boys worth their weight in gold says skipper

Ali Ross top-scored with 36 for Clitheroe against Accrington''Picture: Keith Driver
Ali Ross top-scored with 36 for Clitheroe against Accrington''Picture: Keith Driver
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Paul Gaskell has recognised the input of the club’s winter signings as Clitheroe stretched their unbeaten start to the season.

The Ribblesdale League champions drafted in Nelson duo Sam Halstead and Harrison Phelan ahead of the new term and the Chatburn Road skipper believes that their knowledge of the Lancashire League is proving invaluable.

The pair’s contribution helped Clitheroe to a third league win of the campaign with a 24-run triumph over Accrington moving them to within three points of leaders Todmorden.

Phelan inspired with an all-round display that brought a knock of 23 midway through the home side’s innings and three wickets in the defence.

Ali Ross had top-scored for the hosts with 36 in a 152-9 total after 50 innings before Phelan (3-32), Halstead (3-26) and Jack Dewhurst (3-16) did the damage after the break.

“It was a good day,” said Gaskell. “The close games are always the best ones to win. We’re really happy after last weekend because we bowled a lot better and it was nice to get over the line.

“We might have been about 20 runs short with the bat but it wasn’t the easiest of tracks and I thought we had a good chance.

“Harrison batted really well in difficult conditions and then he was superb with the ball. He’s a talented and exciting youngster and he’s certainly one to watch in the future.

“They all bowled well afterwards and I was happy for Sam inparticular because he had struggled a bit in recent weeks. It was nice to see him do well and get in on the wickets.

“It’s a massive thing for us to have their experience. Tom Lord knows the Lancashire League too.

“It’s good to be able to call on them because their experience and knowledge of the Lancashire League is invaluable.

“They’ll play a big part in our season. They all will. We’ve got a nice blend of youth with the older heads here. It’s pleasing that we are competing.”

Clitheroe entertain the leaders on Saturday and have the luxury of home advantage again the following day when they host Kearsley in the LCB Knockout Cup.

“We’ve got a massive game at the weekend which will show how far we’ve come,” said Gaskell.

“Nothing will be won or lost this weekend but it’s another challenge. We’re being tested every week which is what we wanted.”

He added: “The Lancashire Cup has been a good competition for us and we’ve reached the semi-finals. We’re out of the Worsley Cup so it would be nice to have a run in this cup.”