GRITTY skipper Kyle O’Connor is relishing the top of the table showdown with Whalley – and is backing his Read men to come through with flying colours.
The Houldsworth Solicitors Ribblesdale League’s top two collide in a mouthwatering clash with both O’Connor’s Read and Richard Lamb’s Whalley boasting 100 per cent records.
But O’Connor believes his outfit have what it takes to see off their local rivals.
“Our start has been just what we asked for and we want to carry it on,” he said.
“I know Whalley have a decent side and a very good overseas man in Wilkin Mota but I am confident that we can do the business.
“We finished fourth last year and that was a big disappointment for us – and the whole dressing room is determined to improve on that.
“We are regularly getting 20 or 30 lads down at training and that is a great position to be in, although it does make selection difficult.
“But that’s a problem you are always happy to have.”
One man O’Connor didn’t expect to have this season is veteran all-rounder Jon Harvey.
The 44-year-old ex-professional called time on his glory-laden career at the end of last season but performed a U-turn on the eve of the season, much to the delight of O’Connor.
“I was talking to Harvs in February and he said he fancied playing so I said to him ‘come to the nets’,” smiled O’Connor.
“I didn’t really hear from him after that but the week before the season he sent me a text saying he was available for selection.
“So I told him to come down to nets, he did and we picked him – and having Jon Harvey in your side is a massive bonus for anyone in any league.
“We even have his wife on tea room duties this season as well!”
While O’Connor is delighted to have Harvey available, he is largely without classy batsman Will Driver.
Driver wants to spend time at weekend’s with his family and O’Connor said: “I can’t blame him, this is the first year with his baby and I won’t try and put pressure on him.
“Hopefully we will get a few double header weekends out of him, especially when Harvs is not available.
“But it opens up the door to the youngsters and young Tom Turner came in last week and looked as though he belonged and that is good for the club.”
O’Connor is also impressed with new pro Brandon Scullard and reckons the South African can be the difference this year.
“He looks good and has a brilliant attitude,” said O’Connor.
“Off the field he has a laugh and joke with the lads and fits in really well – but when it comes to game day he is something else.
“He has that First Class attitude like Harvs. He wants to win and won’t settle for anything less.”
Whalley skipper Richard Lamb is also relishing the clash and said: “We always seem to have good games with Read.
“There are always plenty of runs and hopefully Saturday will be just the same.”
The only other side boasting a 100 per cent record this season are Earby, who head up Section B.
They are hot favourites to make it three from three when Brooksbottom go to The Applegarth.
Clitheroe also have two wins from two and they face a test against Baxenden, while Cherry Tree, buoyed by a win over Barnoldswick last week, head to Great Harwood.
They are missing skipper Mark Hadfield and second team skipper Dan Fish comes in for the trip to The Cliffe.
Padiham entertain free-scoring Salesbury and Ribblesdale Wanderers face Euxton at Church Meadow with Settle going to Edenfield.
Oswaldtwistle Immanuel return to action after their week off with a New Lane clash with Barnoldswick.