Read hoping to be among leading pack

Read professional Matt Walker. Picture: Peter Naylor
Read professional Matt Walker. Picture: Peter Naylor
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Read captain Andrew Rushton is aiming to be among the challengers this season in the Ribblesdale Cricket League, which gets underway on Saturday.

And with the Whalley Road club hosting the Ramsbottom Cup Final, he hopes Read can make it to the showpiece and enjoy home advantage.

Read have again engaged Matthew Walker as professional, with Australian Bailey Richards signing as overseas amateur.

The club have lost Ben Gorton to Bury, but former Lancashire pace man Oliver Newby returns from Westhoughton, and they have also signed Lowerhouse pair Ben Woodall and Shaun Heaton.

Rushton said: “My hopes for the season are to try and match, if not better what we did last year, especially in the cup.

“With the final being at Read this year, there is an added incentive for us to get to the final again.

“With regards to the league, I think the same teams as last year will be up there again all challenging for top spot.”

Read open the season at derby rivals Ribblesdale Wanderers.

Elsewhere, Whalley will travel to face Euxton at Balshaw Park, while Salesbury host Settle at Ribchester Road.

Salesbury have brought in Adam Bolton from East Lancashire and Sachin Rawson from Highgate, with Chris Riley leaving for Orrell Red Triangle.

Sri Lankan Hasten Ramanayake will be the professional, and skipper Steve Brown said: “It was a disappointing finish last year after relegation, but with a young side a year older, our new pro Hashen is looking forward to working with the lads on the training ground and improving us as a team and individually. We started slowly in the league last year and were always on catch up, so we are looking for a better start this time around.

“We played some good cricket in the T20 competition last season so we will be hoping to take that into the league and cup competitions this year.”

Jordan Britcliffe will be the new Ribblesdale Wanderers skipper.

The Church Meadow club have signed Sri Lankan Primosh Perera as professional, as well as Andrew Needham from Perth as their overseas amateur for the season.

Whalley will hope to challenge at the top end again, and have signed Sam Sweeney as professional.

They will again be captained by Richard Lamb, and will draw on the experience of the likes of Simon Gorton, Mark Fallon, Richard Palmer and Lee Kearsley again.

In the Lancashire League, Clitheroe will hope to start the defence of their title this Sunday after the opening day trip to Haslingden was rained off – indeed, all games were postponed.

The Chatburn Road side will entertain Rawtenstall this Sunday.