WHALLEY skipper Richard Palmer was full of acclamation for professional Wilkin Mota after his match-winning display against Ribblesdale Wanderers.
The Station Road paid man, who hails from India, savagely tore through his opponent’s batting order to register 7/51, his best figures of the season, to force a 29-run victory.
Mota had top-scored in his side’s innings, contributing 39 runs to a 131 total. His seven wicket haul later in the afternoon would see him become the third most prolific bowler in the Houldsworth Ribblesdale Senior League with 20, behind Padiham’s Chris Holt and Barnoldswick’s Imran Khalid.
“He’s a great guy,” beamed Palmer. “That was his first performance with regards to actual figures. He’s bowled well without the results really showing but it’s great to see him get the rewards he’s deserved.
“As soon as the wickets improve there’s no doubt he will score the runs we expect of him. He’s a good player and he gets involved. He’ll prove to be a great signing for us.”
David Howard picked up a second five-wicket haul of the campaign for Wanderers, scooping 5/43, his 16th wicket to date, while captain Ian Britcliffe added three wickets to proceedings. However, aside from John Rain’s knock of 19, Martin Briggs was the only batsman to stand out for the visitors with an unbeaten 45. That proved enough for Whalley to prevail.
Palmer, whose side beat Wanderers on the opening day of the campaign, said: “We performed adequately. It wasn’t anything spectacular but it was a solid enough display to seal victory. Nobody really shone apart from Wilkin but it was something that we can build on.
“It’s been a tough start to the season with the weather in terms of wickets and getting batsmen in form. It’s been a bit disjointed. But we want to go on a bit of a run now. It was nice to get another win under our belts after a few disappointing performances where we’ve thrown games away.”
Palmer added: “We want to try and maintain that fourth spot which we earned last year. The top three look like they’re settling at the summit again so it seems as though it’s going to be another battle for fourth. We’d be very happy with that.”
The weekend fixture will be Whalley’s seventh of the campaign, yet the Station Road outfit will already have played two opponents twice. Wanderers have already been pushed aside for the season, and Saturday will see Whalley’s second clash against Read.
“We’re playing Read again at the weekend,” said Palmer. “It’s a good opportunity to pit our wits against one of the top three sides. But it’s bizarre that we are playing them yet again.
“Hopefully we can improve on last time and get the result but it’s frustrating that we’re playing a form team for the second time before we’ve found any form. We’ve played Ribblesdale twice already as well but if we’re at our best we’ll give them a game again.”
Elsewhere, it’s as you were at the top of the pyramid as Read and Barnoldswick secured maximum points over the weekend.
Big-hitter Mohammed Jamal smashed 141 off just 85 balls to blast Read to a comprehensive victory over Great Harwood on home soil.
Back-to-back defeats the previous weekend, including a Ramsbottom Cup exit, raised question marks over the Whalley Road side’s credentials. But thanks to Jamal, Kyle O’Connor’s men roared back to winning ways with a 160 run success.
His brilliant ton and 69 from Oliver Newby saw Read race to an untouchable 276-9. Jamal’s first half century took 42 balls; his second only 26 and his innings finished with 10 fours and 11 sixes.
And Clitheroe professional Kashif Siddique’s phenomenal figures of 8/25 off 19.3 overs was the highlight of the action at Chatburn Road as Clitheroe stormed to victory against Salesbury.
Josh McDowell top-scored for Clitheroe with a knock of 41 and he was aided by several team-mates who made their 20s, namely Siddique, who posted 28, Jack Dewhurst (25), Peter Dibb (23 not out) and Chris Bowness (21). Daniel Turner also added 19 to a final total of 194-7. In reply Salesbury paid man Susantha Pradeep crept past a half-century but it wasn’t enough as Siddique stepped in to the limelight to play the starring role.
• IT was a complete washout in the second week of the Clitheroe and District Midweek Cricket League.
Games between Ramblers and Sabden, Low Moor and St James, and Calderstones and Chipping A all fell victim to the weather.