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Read skipper O'Connor keeps focus for run-in
KYLE O’Connor is keeping his Read men focused firmly on their own jobs rather than worrying about how other teams are going as the chase for glory steps up a gear this weekend.
The Whalley Road skipper is back from injury to lead Read into the Houldsworth Solicitors Ribblesdale League double header and he is aiming for a maximum return from games with Oswaldtwistle Immanuel and Salesbury.
Read are 26 points adrift of leaders Barnoldswick going into the key stage of the season but have been unable to shake off the attentions of third-placed Baxenden, who are just one point behind.
And while Barnoldswick’s first loss of the season came last week at Clitheroe and gave the chasing pack hope, O’Connor is playing it cool.
“Last week was a big shock with Barlick losing,” he said. “But our main focus is on second place.
“That’s all that we are thinking about at the moment and anything else that happens would of course be a bonus.
“Two wins this weekend would be massive for us – but we could do with someone to do us another favour and beat Barlick.
“Or failing that we could do with them being rained off again.”
O’Connor was a spectator last weekend as his men beat Ribblesdale Wanderers at Church Meadow and he admits he will be happy to return to his regular place behind the stumps tomorrow.
“Course I am glad to be back,” he said. “Especially after last week.
“I didn’t enjoy watching but the lads got the win. It was just a shame we couldn’t get their last pair out but that’s one of those things.”
O’Connor is without Jonathan Harvey with the veteran on holiday but he added: “The guys coming in have done well.
“Andrew Bennett and Elliott Lowes bowled well last week and I am sure they will do well again.”
Barnoldswick are in action at Great Harwood as they look to recover from their loss at Clitheroe – but they are boosted by the return of skipper Matt Nutter.
And Baxenden look to avoid a slip when they welcome Settle to Back Lane.
Clitheroe are not out of the race for the shake-up and they head to Edenfield, while bottom club Earby make the trip to Station Road for their game with Whalley.
And Padiham professional Chris Holt is aiming to stay clear in the race to be leading wicket-taker as his side welcome Cherry Tree, who have skipper Mark Hadfield back, to The Arbories.