TWO of the Ribblesdale League’s top batsmen head into battle tomorrow as Cherry Tree play host to high-flying Read – and visiting skipper Kyle O’Connor reckons the showdown could be a treat for the neutral.
O’Connor leads his side – unbeaten and in second spot in the table – into the clash with the league’s in-form professional in the shape of Lancashire man Jordan Clark.
But the rookie Read skipper knows his men face a major test in the shape of Cherry Tree captain Paul Turner, who is rated as one of the best amateur batsmen in the county.
“They are certainly two top players,” said O’Connor. “Jordan has settled in so well and his 144 last week was brilliant to watch. He says how much he is enjoying it as pro and he is really mixing in well.
“He was brilliant last week and if he gets going again Saturday could be a great game to watch for the neutral.
“Obviously, not being a neutral I am hoping it is a great game for us and we just want to maintain our start to the season.”
Read beat big local rivals Clitheroe last week and are only being kept off the top of table by bonus points.
They were due to face leaders Barnoldswick last Sunday but the match was abandoned and O’Connor said: “It would have been good to play the game last week, especially the way we had beaten Clitheroe.
“But there is nothing we can do about the weather – we can just hope it’s good for the weekend.”
Cherry Tree bring in explosive batsman Steve Elwood as Mark Hadfield is unavailable and they also have Enfield professional Werner Coetsee on stand-by as the partner of their own paid man Liam Jackson is due to give birth.
Clitheroe aim to bounce back from their loss at Read with a trip to Settle, who have started the season well under skipper John Seedle, while Baxenden’s unheralded men led them to a win at Ribblesdale Wanderers last weekend.
Liam Riley claimed six wickets and David Mills shone with the bat as Andy Caunce’s outfit survived a wobble to get home.
Padiham host Edenfield, while Great Harwood go in search of a first win as they head to Salesbury.
Their start has been a shock to all – but will look to hit their straps against Steve Brown’s Red Caps.
Barnoldswick skipper Matt Nutter is expecting a tough game when the leaders play host to Whalley and said: “We have done okay so far – but we can improve on what we have done so far.”