Read extend perfect start

Reads Stuart Hornby bowls to George Drake
Reads Stuart Hornby bowls to George Drake
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WARREN Eastham’s ambition to have Read battling on all fronts has started admirably.

The Whalley Road side’s 100% record continued in the Ribblesdale Cricket League as they beat champions Clitheroe on Saturday before advancing to the next round of the Ramsbottom Cup with a comfortable win over Cherry Tree on Sunday.

Naeem Ashraf’s men compiled a total of 158 as Clitheroe looked to get off the mark for the campaign. And they had a chance to cause a shock as Read professional Stuart Hornby (4), Jon Harvey (2), Ben Law (7) and Gareth Halley were all out as the away side struggled at 18-4.

But Eastham has often spoke about strength in depth at Read and that showed. Kyle O’Connor hit an unbeaten 48 in a spell littered with patience and maturity; Mohammed Jamal added 38, Joe Marshall 16 and Andrew Rushton accompanied O’Connor through to the end with 25 to secure a four-wicket win.

“We stared defeat in the face,” Eastham said. “At one point we were 18-4, struggling and chasing a total of 195. Clitheroe put up a good fight but the manner of the victory is testament to our strength in depth.

“Kyle was phenomenal and he batted like his life depended on it. He was the instigator of our victory.”

Read were then without the leadership of Eastham, who will now be missing for several weeks after tearing a bicep, against Cherry Tree as well as Harvey and Jack Jones. However, Hornby fired a stunning 105 in the 102-run triumph. Marshall hit 78, Halley 38 and Jamal 30 as they stormed into the next round, ending on 291-5.

Meanwhile, Clitheroe recorded their first win of the season on Sunday, beating Barnoldswick in the cup by 24 runs. Ashraf led by example, top-scoring with 66 in his side’s 150 all out, with Paul Gaskell unbeaten on 37. Josh Marquet then took 6-21 as Barlick were bowled out for 126.