BARNOLDSWICK tightened their grip on the Houldsworth Solicitors Ribblesdale League title at the weekend - but celebrations remain on hold at Victory Park.
But judging by the ease in which they brushed aside Great Harwood on Saturday, Barnoldswick aren’t in the mood for slipping up.
Imran Khalid’s 7-30 helped dismiss Great Harwood for 85 at Blackburn Old Road, and the visitors passed their target with just two wickets down.
Read did their best to maintain the pressure on the leaders, beating Oswaldtwistle Immanuel, but they remain 26 points adrift, with Barnoldswick knowing they can take a giant stride towards their first championship since 1992 in this weekend’s Bank Holiday double header.
Wins, at home to Cherry Tree on Saturday and away to Earby 24 hours later, will take them to the brink of an historic triumph.
However, with five games and a maximum 60 points still up for grabs, Barlick’s name isn’t on the trophy just yet.
Earby gave themselves hope of avoiding the wooden spoon as they beat Whalley.
The locals won the toss and chose to field, and Whalley’s openers Fallon and Lamb set off steadily, putting on 30 in the first 10 overs.
Lamb went caught and bowled by Martin Kegg, but Palmer came and supported Fallon in a partnership of 91 until Fallon was caught in the deep by Gary Martindale for 61.
Pro Mota scored at better than a run-a-ball, Palmer went for 33, and when Mota was again caught on the edge by Martindale for another 33, the score was 186-5 with two overs left.
The tail certainly wagged, adding a further 24 for three wickets.
Martin Windle picked up 5-66 off 10 overs, and and Ali Azmat 2-55 off 15.
The reply started well enough, 33 off eight overs, until Chris Walton chased a wide one and was caught behind, and Rory Robinson was adjudged lbw for nine.
Azmat hit a four and was caught behind, and suddenly 211 looked a mile away at 34-3.
Windle hung around for a while after Aron Pollard had added to the woes, falling for two, and once Windle went, Danny Kegg and skipper Pete Baistow joined forces and batted sensibly as Whalley swapped bowlers around trying to unsettle them, taking the score from 82-4 to within touching distance of the 211 winning post.
Having reached 68, Baistow stepped down the wicket and was stumped with four required and four balls remaining.
Former Earby pro Gorton bowled a wide, Ryan Sumner got a single, Danny Kegg followed suit, and the scores were tied with one ball to come.
Gorton bowled at Sumner’s legs, off the pad, and a scampered leg bye won the game for Earby. A superb 125 partnership by Baistow and Kegg, 68 each and the win in the bag.
Earby are pictured sporting their new shirts before their last-ball win over Whalley, sponsored by Norcore Recycling Ltd of Burnley (s).
All teams were left frustrated 24 hours later as Senior League and Division One fixtures, initially washed out on June 16th, again fell victim to the weather.
Only two Senior League games started, with Ribblesdale Wanderers getting to 52-0 against Barnoldswick, while Settle were 18-1 against Earby when the games were abandoned.
The Fosters Lancashire League matches between Nelson and Accrington, and Ramsbottom and Colne were rained off without any play.
This weekend, Colne host Haslingden and Nelson are at Enfield on Sunday, and on Bank Holiday Monday, the mini-derbies see Colne at Lowerhouse and Nelson host Burnley.