READ did their best to maintain the pressure on Houldsworth Solicitors Ribblesdale League leaders Barnoldswickagainst Oswaldtwistle Immanuel on Saturday.
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.
Read kept up the chase on Saturday against Oswaldtwistle, with Mohammed Jamal (102) and Kyle O’Connor (84) largely responsible for the home side’s massive 300-8.
The pair smashed 12 sixes between them despite Gerard Metcalf’s (5-74) best efforts to apply the brake.
When Ossie started their reply, professional Jordan Clark was soon among the wickets, finishing with 8-53 as the visitors stumbled to 104 all out.
Padiham suffered a dismal afternoon, however, at home to Cherry Tree.
The hosts were bowled out for just 64 by the visitors, as Liam Jackson claimed 6-29.
Cherry Tree eased to victory in reply, for the loss of just three wickets.
Barnoldswick tightened their grip on the title 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.
Champions Baxenden suffered a day to forget at home to Settle. Professional Mansoor Amjad’s 108 not out was the highet individual score of the day as the visitors reached 228-3.
And that was more than enough. David Mills (29) was the only batsman to reach double figures as Baxenden collapsed to 70 all out. Eddie Read returned figures of 6-25 from 6.4 overs as ‘Bash’ were bowled out in less than 14 overs.
Baxenden are now down to fourth place, overtaken by Clitheroe who were 26-run winners at Edenfield.
Settle’s victory leaves them fifth, just three points behind Baxenden and eight adrift of Clitheroe.
Saturday’s other winners were Ribblesdale Wanderers at Salesbury, and Earby, whose three wicket win at Whalley, could yet help them avoid the wooden spoon.
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.