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Paid man De Silva is having a ball at Victory Park after topping the charts

Barnoldswick captain Jonathan Beech (right) with Paddy Turner
Barnoldswick captain Jonathan Beech (right) with Paddy Turner
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Barnoldswick captain Jonathan Beech confirmed that the performances of Chalana De Silva had earned the professional a new contract at the club.

The Sri Lankan cricketer has proved to be a revelation with the ball during his time at Victory Park, finishing the season as the Ribblesdale Cricket League’s greatest showman.

Barnoldswick pro Chalana De Silva

Barnoldswick pro Chalana De Silva

Barnoldswick may have been relegated from the top flight, returning to Senior League B alongside Baxenden, but their 24-year-old paid man was ultimately an award winner.

He took 67 league wickets, five more than Brinscall’s Sehan Weerasinghe, to finish up as top dog while his average of 13.84 was ranked as the fourth best figure in the hierarchy.

The Chilaw Marians man claimed his best individual score in August when taking 6-32 in a six-wicket win over defending champions Settle at the Marshfield Ground.

De Silva was not as prominent in the order of merit for the league’s batsmen but his contribution was the best that Barnoldswick had to offer.

He was 19th overall in the individual honours list with 459 runs from 19 innings at an average of 24.16. His high score of 85 came in victory over Whalley in August.

“The pro had a very poor start to the season,” said the skipper. “We signed him as a bowler but he was limited with the bat. His bowling has been unbelievable in the end and we’ve signed him for next season.

“He took 67 wickets overall and was the leading bowler in the division. He’s earned next year’s contract with those figures. If all goes to plan we should take the B Division by storm.”

After a move for Australian Kasey Duncan fell through, Barnoldswick moved for wicket-keeper Majid Inayat. Relegation had seemed a full gone conclusion for the club at one stage of the season but the Pakistani cricketer was able to turn things around.

The 41-year-old drew on all his experience to help the club out of a sticky patch and his unbeaten high score of 97, scored against Whalley at Station Road in June, was the 11th best return in the league.

In total he posted 359 runs from 14 overs at an average of 39.89, the seventh best in the division.

Beech feels that Barnoldswick would have retained their status in the top tier had Inayat been around the group for the entire campaign.

“Going in to the final day of the season we needed maximum points and Padiham had to lose if we were going to survive,” he said. “To get relegated on the back of a washout was disappointing for us.

“From the squad that we’d taken on over the winter we thought we had a chance of competing but there were a few injuries, Abdul Saddique was ruled out for the season and a move for wicket-keeper Kasey Duncan fell through.

“We brought in Majid Inayat who scored nearly 400 runs in 14 appearances for us. He transformed us, turned our season around and got us back on track. I think we would have survived if we’d have had him from the start.

“He was a number four/five batsman who came in and really anchored down our innings. He was experienced as a wicket-keeper as well. He just helped us compete again.”

Inayat’s nine victims from behind the stumps, tied with Nick Payne (Oswaldtwistle Immanuel), Kyle O’Connor (Read) and James English (Padiham) secured ninth spot in the charts.

Meanwhile, Beech will mull over his future as club captain while representing Boisdale-Briagolong in Australia.

“I’m undecided on what to do about the captaincy,” he said. “I’m going out to play in Australia for a season so I’ll have a think about it out there. I’ve enjoyed it though so I’ll probably carry on.

“Playing abroad is something that I’ve wanted to do for a while and now is the best time for me to do it.”

Unfortunately, Earby’s infrequency within the school of statistics largely summed up the club’s campaign in Senior League B.

Their representation was scarce in all departments. Earby were heavily reliant on Matthew Nutter with the bat as he scored 425 runs for the term at an average of 30.36.

His high score of 90 was scored against Cherry Tree at Preston Old Road at the beginning of September.

Jake Hargreaves was the club’s star bowler as he took 30 wickets at an average of 22.6. His best individual return of 6-35 also came in that fixture against Cherry Tree.

Finally, Michael Webb earned himself a mention in the fielding stakes. He contributed to eight scalps as wicket-keeper, adding a single stumping to his seven catches.