A MOMENT of magic from captain Will Wrathall following his 81 with the bat helped Read to a thrilling home win against Farnworth in Saturday’s Anthony Axford North West Cricket League Premiership - and it got him doing something he’s not keen on, talking about himself.

“I’m not one for blowing smoke up my own backside, but I’ve just had everyone say I’ve taken the best catch they’ve ever seen,” he laughed. So, go on, take it away Will…

He added: “I was fielding at long-on, and their overseas amateur (Yatin Mangwani) has smoked one which was going for six. I’m 6ft 4ins, and I’ve gone full stretch one-handed behind me going to my right. I’ve caught it, and the ground’s erupted.

“It was one for the books, I have to admit.”

To put the catch into some context, Read posted an imposing 243-7 from 33 overs following a delayed start at Whalley Road due to rain. More rain at tea left Farnworth, second going into round 13, chasing 203 in 25 overs.

The Mangwani dismissal, one of seven wickets for brilliant new ball seamer Nizam Vaid, left Farnworth at 66-4 early in the 11th.

Vaid finished with a fabulous 7-84 from 13 overs, including what proved the key wicket of visiting captain Simon Booth bowled for an excellent 85 off 53 balls.

Booth almost single-handedly breathed life back into this fixture, taking the target to 13 off five balls having crashed Vaid for his seventh six before falling two balls later.

Farnworth finished on 195-8, losing only their second game - by seven runs - to a Read side just outside the top 12 following win number seven.

“Their captain batted really well, just about when we thought the game was starting to get away from them,” said Wrathall, who praised his new ball seamer Vaid.

“He bowled really well. He bowls in-duckers to the right-hander, and he kept tight lines and took wickets when we needed them.”

Read have had a mighty impressive last two weekends to sit 14th in the table on 81 points, five behind 12th placed Settle. It’s worth a reminder. The 24-team division splits into two next season.

“We beat Eagley last week, and they’re second now,” continued Wrathall, who praised his side’s enthusiasm.

“I said that win would take some beating, but I think this topped it. We were up for it from ball one.”

This was a game to which neither pro - Read’s Mini Bhada and Milinda Siriwardana of Farnworth - contributed significantly. Though, ironically, Bhada removed Siriwardana for one in the visitors’ pursuit.

“I know they bat deep, but we knew that was the big wicket,” said Wrathall. “With the bowling, Mini’s been really good. He came to us as a batter who bowls, but he’s done better with the ball.

“If you took professionals out of the equation, I reckon we’d be up there near the top. We’ve been out-pro’d all year.

“As I much as I love Mini and think he’s a fantastic cricketer, I don’t think he’s fulfilled his full potential just yet. He will do soon, I’m sure.”

Wrathall opened with 81 off 72 balls, while Jack Wood hit a late 61 not out off 37.

Wrathall added: “Apart from Ribblesdale Wanderers, I think we’ve played everyone in that top eight now.

“I’m not saying any game we’ve got to come will be easy, but we’ve certainly got a lot of winnable games coming up. Hopefully we can kick on.”