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Big hits for battling Ali

OSWALDTWISTLE pro Raja Ali has been showing the Ribblesdale League what a big hit he can be.


OSWALDTWISTLE pro Raja Ali has been showing the Ribblesdale League what a big hit he can be.

After a ton start, the Indian was struggling to get a total with the bat but has starred in the last three games.

Ali hit an unbeaten 39 in Immanuel's low-scoring win over Padiham, then a 102 not out in a last ball loss to Clitheroe followed by 81 in last Saturday's victory over Edenfield.

"He has taken a bit of time to find his feet, it is the first time he has come over here and he has had to get used to everything," said skipper Gerald Metcalf.

"But he has enjoyed three excellent knocks and with nine games left, there could be more to come."

Immanuel are currently in mid-table in what has been a good season for them after finishing near the bottom or in bottom spot over the last few years.

And with six of the last nine games at home - including both this weekend's games against Blackburn Northern and Barnoldswick - they are confident they can make an impression higher up the table.

"Over the last few seasons, we have been near the bottom, not competed and scraped wins here and there," said the captain.

"Now, we are away from the bottom and in the middle pack and have competed in most games."

"We could have had a few more wins - we should have beaten leaders Read, Baxenden, Clitheroe and there have been a couple of other close games and that would have put us in the top six."

"In the middle pack, everyone can beat each other and if we can pick up a few wins, which we should do at home, we will be in the top half which will be a good season for us."

One big boost has been the form of his son, Andrew, and Kurt Smithson with the ball. Andrew, 17, took eight wickets the other week against Padiham in a rain affected game and another five on Saturday.

"He has got 40 now and has nine games to get more. He has been bowling well as has Kurt at the other end."

"There are a good combination opening attack and are economical."

"And they both still have to come off and have a break because of the rules for youngsters."

"But with these young bowlers and with the pro, it has raised our confidence and it is paying dividends."

Great Harwood have a dress rehearsal for the Ramsbottom Cup final when they make the trip to second placed Settle tomorrow before they take on Blackburn Northern on Sunday.

They slipped to a 74 run loss to Ribblesdale Wanderers on Saturday - and dropped a place to fourth in the table - despite another big-hitting performance from pro Andy Crook.

The Australian made 74 - with six boundaries and two sixes - in their 157 reply, chasing 231-6.

Paul Newton was the pick of the bowlers for Harwood with 32-3.

And Baxenden at last celebrated a win - defeating Padiham.

Captain Dave Usher led by example with an entertaining knock of 94 in 127 balls with 12 fours and three sixes.

They made 181 all out and then James Capstick and Pete Usher took three wickets each to see off Padiham.

Baxenden, who will release pro Jon Harvey once this season is over, travel to Clitheroe tomorrow and then have a tough game at league leaders Read on Sunday.

  • CHERRY Tree and Clitheroe have both been deducted seven points at a disciplinary meeting of the Ribblesdale League committee in a ball-tampering scandal.

This was for breaking one of the ECB Laws of Cricket - Law 42/3 changing the condition of the match ball.


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