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Ribblesdale League: A day of history for popular pair
7:41am Monday 9th September 2013 in Sport
TWO of the most popular bowlers in the Houldsworth Solicitors Ribblesdale League enjoyed a final day of history and magical moments as they both achieved the rarest of feats in matches they and their team-mates will remember for ever.
Ribblesdale Wanderers' Ian Britcliffe and Great Harwood's Stuart Maher were the toast of their clubs on a truly Super Saturday and wrote their names into the annals of league history.
Britcliffe claimed the two wickets he needed to become the first amateur to claim 100 league victims in a season for 109 years, while Maher claimed all 10 wickets as Harwood partied at Brooksbottom.
He became the first man to claim all 10 for some 23 years as he returned the remarkable figures of 10-43 from 12.1 overs as his side rounded off the season on a high.
Maher struck with the second ball of the match as he bowled Oliver Hawley and that set the tone of the day as he enjoyed the perfect spell. He is the 21st man to claim all 10 in the long history of the league but only the seventh amateur and no-one has done it since Glenn Mills back in 1990.
In total he bowled five of his 10 victims and also claimed two lbws to prove the merits of bowling straight as Brooksbottom were all out for 96.
The Brox seems to bring the best out of Maher and he returned the remarkable figures of 2-4 from 10 overs with nine maidens in the Ramsbottom Cup semi-final earlier in the season.
That day ended in defeat for Harwood and they had a few nervy moments on their way in their reply as they slipped to 34-5.
But Patrick Swanney's 24 turned the tide before skipper Paul Houldsworth made 24 not out and Ian Haworth finished unbeaten on 12 as they got over the line to give Maher every reason to celebrate.
While Maher deserved the limelight for his stunning display, the plaudits were shared out as Britcliffe wrote his name into the history books at Church Meadow.
Britcliffe went into the clash with Salesbury needing two wickets to become the first amateur in 109 years to claim 100 league victims in a season.
He won the toss and chose to bowl and soon had wicket number 99 as Jason Rawson was trapped leg before but the big one was to come.
Britcliffe had found the edge on numerous times but when he was nicked towards slip by Ian Rabagliati, Jordan Sunderland juggled to leave hearts in mouths before finally - and gratefully - holding the catch that made history.
Wanderers immediately unveiled a banner to the club and now league legend marking the moment that he became the first man since J Cross of Great Harwood in 1904 to claim 100 league wickets.
Britcliffe went on to claim three wickets with Brannon Varley trying his best to steal the limelight with 7-61 as the Red Caps were 139 all out.
The writing was pretty much on the wall when Charlie Jackson samshed two boundaries off Susantha Pradeep's first over as Ribb replied and he raced past a half century in 12 overs with Wanderers strolling to a nine-wicket win in 17.1 overs.
Oswaldtwistle Immanuel claimed a place in the top five and a spot in next year's Lancashire Cup as they were indebted to their own veteran bowler Gerard Metcalf for their win at Euxton.
Oliver Clare (39) and Oliver Jones (38) both chipped in well as Immanuel posted 156-9 at Balshaw Park but it seemed their season would end on a low as Euxton were 115-3 with Oliver Marsden batting superbly.
But Metcalf put the brakes on and claimed 6-39 and when Marsden was his last victim and last man to depart, Euxton were two runs short in a dramatic end to the season.
Whalley and Cherry Tree were involved in a remarkable tie at Station Road. Sub-pro Ashar Zaidi claimed five wickets including three in four balls at the end and Simon Gorton picked up four as Cherry Tree were 147 all out.
But young Kelan Florentine claimed the early wickets of Richard Lamb and Zaidi to give a hint of the drama to come.
With Whalley 72-7 it seemed like it could be game over - but they scrambled a tie in a breathless finish.
Champions Clitheroe passed 300 points for the season as they chased down a big total to beat Earby at The Applegarth.
Chris Walton's 125 helped Earby post 220 all out and the champions were rocking at 121-5 but they got over the line to claim a 24th win of a memorable campaign.
Barnoldswick secured second spot as they beat Edenfield at Gincroft Lane and Read finished on a high with a win at Baxenden as Mohammed Jamal (67 not out) and skipper Kyle O'Connor (66 not out) led the way.
Bottom club Padiham posted 258 against Settle at The Arbories with Anthony Hall among the runs with 61 but Aneeq Hassan's superb 120 led the Dalesmen to a fine win.
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