Ribblesdale League: Ideal start for Earby skipper

Richard Craddock

Richard Craddock

First published in Sport

SUITED Earby skipper Richard Craddock says his side’s start to the new season is just what everyone at The Applegarth wanted and needed – and hopes his men can continue playing with a smile on their faces.

Craddock has told everyone around the West Craven club to forget about a troubled 2013 Houldsworth Solicitors Ribblesdale League campaign that saw them finish fourth from bottom and end up in Section B of the league following the winter restructure.

And now he wants Earby to claim promotion into Section A – and three wins from three league games is just the start Craddock wanted.

“Yeah, it’s just about the ideal start for us and everyone is enjoying it,” he said. “Obviously there is a long, long way to go yet but we have hit the ground running and long may it continue.

“Last year was one to forget from the start, it just didn’t happen for us. Pete Baistow did a great job as captain in the circumstances but he has had to step down because of family commitments and I have taken over and changed nothing and we have made this start.

“We are all training hard and things are good. I think we are all a bit miffed about being in Section B after a bad year and we are determined to get up into the top division and with a bit of luck we can carry on as we have started.”

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Craddock’s experienced men are also coming to the fore with former Colne skipper Matt Wilson impressing in the early stages.

“I don’t think Maz has enjoyed his cricket for a few seasons,” said Craddock.

“But he seems happy and he is also playing well.

“Everyone knows just what he can do and he is destructive at the top of the order.

“He bludgeoned 60-odd in no time against Ribblesdale Wanderers and when he does that he takes the game away from sides.

“Okay, it didn’t happen for him at the weekend – but there is always that possibility when you play the way he does.”

And the skipper is also delighted with new professional David Crotty, who made the move into the paid ranks from Lancashire League outfit Nelson.

“Dave has made a difference,” he added. “He is a local lad who puts a lot into everything he does – and he is a good player.

“He is also enjoying bowling more than he has been used to and he is a real asset to us.”

Craddock’s men have no game this weekend as the Ramsbottom Cup takes centre stage. They were beaten by Brooksbottom in the preliminary round, their only blip of the season to date.

And Craddock believes the week off will do his charges good.

“It will be good for the guys to have a break,” he said. “We are not the youngest of teams and we can take a break and come back refreshed for the next league game and carry on where we left off.”

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