Read suffer first defeat at rivals Barnoldswick

Read professional Stuart Hornby fields a delivery at Barnoldswick
Read professional Stuart Hornby fields a delivery at Barnoldswick
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READ captain Warren Eastham will undoubtedly start taking heed of his own advice after the weekend loss to title-chasing rivals Barnoldswick.

Prior to the fixture at Victory Park, the Whalley Road skipper pin-pointed his opponent’s dangermen and remarkably each named marksman contributed to Read’s downfall.

Professional Jaffar Nazir and captain Richard Nichols combined with three and four wickets respectively to limit the visitors to a 163 total. Read paid man Stuart Hornby top-scored with 57 while Mohammed Jamal followed his astonishing knock of 157 not out in the 20/20 loss to Baxenden the day before with 28.

“We weren’t at the races this weekend but that happens in cricket,” Eastham said. “It all came down to Barnoldswick playing better than us. There were good bowling performances from Richard Nichols and their professional Jaffar Nazir which kept us pegged back.”

Then Matthew Nutter and the Saddique brothers stamped their mark on the game. Nutter smashed 56, Abdul added 30 and sibling Umar fired 53 to register a five-wicket win for the hosts as they moved second in the Ribblesdale Cricket League table at the expense of Read.

“We never really asserted ourselves on the game and at no point did we look like dominating,” said Eastham. “On a pitch with a tennis ball-like bounce we thought we could bowl them out but it didn’t happen.

“Matthew Nutter and Umar Saddique took the game out of our hands and even though we rallied at the end it was too little too late. We didn’t perform badly, we just weren’t up to the standard that we’ve set ourselves and Barnoldswick deserved to win the game.”

Eastham had been confident of setting up a two horse race between themselves and Baxenden as the season nears the halfway stage, but now he accepts thazt the leading trio will be fighting until the bitter end.

Eastham added: “Baxenden got out of jail to win again which puts them 12 points ahead of us. It’s still a three horse race so we need to remain focussed and continue doing what we’ve been doing. There’s three quality sides there so it will be an interesting season. They are the most talented sides in the league.”