Read and Padiham ready for start of cricket season

PADIHAM CC V WHALLEY CC: Pro Chris Holt bats for Padiham.'Photo Ben Parsons
PADIHAM CC V WHALLEY CC: Pro Chris Holt bats for Padiham.'Photo Ben Parsons

Read captain Kyle O’Connor feels his side will be pushing for honours again this term after finishing runners up to Barnoldswick, Baxenden and Clitheroe in successive seasons in the Ribblesdale Cricket League.

The Whalley Road club registered a hat-trick of league titles from 2002 but their dominance fizzled out and they’ve been without a major trophy since. The closest they came recently to lifting the championship trophy was when they finished just six points behind Andrew Caunce’s Baxenden in 2011.

Read, who kickstart their season against Settle at home, have appointed Mohammed Jamal as professional while departing Lancashire county star Jordan Clark is the only change.

“We’ve finished runner-up for the last three seasons so it would be nice to push on and finally get there,” said O’Connor. “It would also be good to embark on a good cup run after last season’s disappointment. We want to be playing as much cricket as possible so we’re looking to do well in all competitions.

“Clitheroe look like being the strongest side this season but Barnoldswick will be there again. The young lads are another year older, another year wiser and are further adapting to first team cricket. Jon Harvey is our strongest player, the key man for us, so we’ll all be hoping to chip in around him and the pro.”

Meanwhile, Callum Clarke is relishing his first season as Padiham skipper at the Arbories. Clarke takes over the mantel from John Bushell who helped the club to a mid-table finish last term.

Padiham, who last added to their trophy cabinet in 2008 with the capture of the Ramsbottom Cup, will be hoping to culminate the campaign with Lancashire Cup qualification.

The club has managed to retain the services of sought after professional Chris Holt - who took 95 wickets last season - while Nathan and Rhys Whitehead have joined from Lancashire League outfit Colne. Phil Edmondson has also added his experience to the Arbories ranks.

Clarke, who will lead his team out against Brooksbottom CC tomorrow at Rishton, said: “I cant wait now. I’m excited for my first season as captain and looking forward to hopefully having a successful season. We start every season pushing for the top four and this season will be no different

“We have managed to fight off competition to keep Chris Holt and it is a huge boost for the club that he has decided to stay and I know he is keen to try and win something this season. We have a couple of new additions all of whom will add strength in depth to the club.

“Our first game is against a new club in Brooksbottom CC who we know little about so we are going to have be up for the challenge from the start. Fingers crossed for a warm and successful summer!”