Stand-in professional Dylan Buckthorp helped keep Read in the Houldsworth Ribblesdale League title hunt, though champions Clitheroe show no sign of losing their grip on top spot.
Buckthorp, temporary replacement for fellow South African, Keegan Peterson, top scored and claimed four wickets in a 30-run win at Baxenden on Saturday.
But the current Section A runners-up were made to sweat by relegation threatened Bash at Back Lane. Read slumped to 106-7, but were rescued by Buckthorp’s unbeaten 96 off 64 balls out of the visitors’ 208-8.
The left arm opening bowler from Natal, who has been plying his trade with Durham League, Ryhope, then claimed 4-62 as Baxenden could only muster 178-8 in reply.
Then on Sunday, Read beat Settle by seven wickets.
Settle were dismissed for 126, before Joey Marshall’s unbeaten 71 helped see Read home.
Read, without a title win since 2004, badly need a Clitheroe slip-up to stand any chance of taking spot.
But in a game where 20 wickets fell for only 191 runs, the Chatburn Road outfit moved inexorably towards a third-successive championship win with victory over Ramsbottom Cup finalists, Oswaldtwistle Immanuel on Saturday.
Opener Charlie Dewhurst top scored with 34 runs before becoming one of Niall Heyes’ five victims. Only Ali Ross, Janaka Guneratne and Matt Coulter reached double figures as Clitheroe collapsed from 53-0 to 127 all out off 41.2 overs. Heyes finished with 5-42 from 15.2 overs and Andreas Sudnik 5-38.
Ossie’s reply was soon doomed to fail and within 28.5 overs they were skittled for just 64. Janaka Guneratne finished with 5-22 and Jack Dewhurst 3-24 in a 63-run victory.
And on Sunday, Clitheroe beat relegation-haunted Earby by 129 runs after dismissing their opponents for 17 in 12.4 overs!
Joshua Marquet took 4-3 off three overs, and Janaka Guneratne 4-6 off six.
Earlier Clitheroe had totalled 146-8, with Chris Walton taking 5-36.
Jack Dewhurst made 62.
Settle’s implosion continued on Saturday, as Simon Gorton and Mark Fallon inspired Whalley to a six-wicket victory at Marshfield.
Hassan Fazal top scored with 65 out of Settle’s 141 as Gorton returned figures of 7-52.
Whalley, keen to avoid a play-off to retain their Section A status, lost only four wickets in their reply, with Fallon contributing an undefeated 83.
On Sunday, Whalley were again victorious as they beat Baxenden by eight runs.
Whalley totalled 166-9, before bowling Baxenden out for 158.
Salesbury’s promotion hopes were boosted on Saturday as they beat Section B leaders Euxton by two wickets at Balshaw Park.
And they built on that by easing past Brinscall by nine wickets on Sunday, after dismissing their old rivals for 78.
Ribblesdale Wanderers suffered double defeat.
On Saturday they were beaten by one wicket by Brinscall.
Wanderers were dismissed for 191, as John Rain hit 59 and Ryan Canning 62.
Sam McLachlan took 5-43.
Brinscall sneaked home with nine wickets down.
And against Edenfield, Wanderers lost by seven wickets, having been bowled out for 49, as Liam Bones took 7-32.
This weekend sees another double header, as the league season nears a climax.
Wickets are pitched at all games at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.