UPBEAT Cherry Tree maintained their fine start to the season as they marched into the second round of the Ramsbottom Cup as impressive amateur performances helped them to a big first round win over Clitheroe.

The first round draw pitted the two in-form sides together at a sunny but chilly Preston Old Road and when Cherry Tree skipper Jon Baldwin won the toss he had no hesitation about batting.

And that was a great decision as Mark Hadfield (23) and talented youngster Scott Friend (28) shared a 47-run opening stand.

But pro Paul Turner, playing against his old club, could only make six before falling to the bowling of Jack Dewhurst.

That was a blow with the score on 56 – but out came Joe Bolton and he was in the groove.

Nigel Robbins couldn’t hang around but Bolton found the perfect partner in Mark Friend as they shared a 153-run stand for the fifth wicket.

Bolton was the shining star as he clattered a boundary-laden 106, a glorious innings of just 99 balls with 19 fours and one six, to take his men towards a big target, while Friend hit 50 in 64 balls.

And those efforts helped Cherry Tree to their big total of 247-5 from their 48 overs with Ben Dowling’s 3-32 the pick of the Clitheroe bowling.

Clitheroe needed a good start but they lost Josh McDowell to a smart Mark Friend catch off the bowling of Baldwin, who was right in the groove.

But it was Daniel Lord who claimed the prized scalp of young Dewhurst for just 15 to really cheer Cherry Tree.

Dewhurst is a young man in red-hot form with two tons to his name already this season.

So Turner’s catch off the bowling of Lord with the score on 39 was crucial and delighted the home side and their fans in a decent crowd braving the chill.

Skipper Peter Dibb and professional Tom Hardman got into their 30s and Simon Coulter made 39 but Cherry Tree were bowling and fielding so well and the run-rate was starting to spiral.

And despite the best efforts of Ben Dowling, who hit three sixes and two fours in his 31, Clitheroe were never in the hunt and closed on 187-7.

Captain Baldwin was the bowling start with 3-31 from nine impressive overs and in this form Cherry Tree will fear no-one.

They are a team right in form.