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Chris hopes to send Read for a Burton

OSWALDTWISTLE Immanuel teenager Chris Burton got into the swing of things just in time - as his side face unbeaten favourites Read in the quarter-finals of the Castlemaine XXXX Ramsbottom Cup on Sunday.

CHRIS Burton.
CHRIS Burton.

OSWALDTWISTLE Immanuel teenager Chris Burton got into the swing of things just in time - as his side face unbeaten favourites Read in the quarter-finals of the Castlemaine XXXX Ramsbottom Cup on Sunday.

The 17-year-old hit his first every century for the New Lane side against Cherry Tree on Saturday and finished with 114 not out although they did lose their Veka Ribblesdale League clash by 104 runs.

He hit 19 boundaries in an entertaining knock which meant the Oswaldtwistle record books have to be rewritten - it was their highest total for an amateur since they entered the senior league 11 years ago.

"He has been threatening to do it," said skipper Gerald Metcalf. "Chris has been getting 20s and then losing his wicket but he stayed in there and played really well."

"He had also kept wicket all day so he had faced every ball - he was shattered at the end although he did manage to celebrate a bit! But it will stand him in good stead. It will be a confidence boost for him as he knows now he can do it."

However the skipper admitted the pro is feeling the pressure.

Despite Indian batsman Raja Ali hitting a ton early in his Immanuel career, he has suffered since - being out first ball for a duck on Saturday.

"It was a freak dismissal, he hit a four and stepped back onto his stumps. He's out for nothing and their pro made 130 - there is only one winner in that but we can't be too downhearted," admitted the captain.

Immanuel are aiming for a mid-table spot after finishing bottom last season and so far it is going to plan.

They have a local derby at Baxenden on Saturday followed by the huge clash at home to runaway league leaders and cup holders Read on Sunday.

"We have nothing to lose in that game," admitted the captain. "There is no pressure on us. They are the red hot favourites, I don't think anyone expects them to lose a game this season so whatever we do is a bonus."

Great Harwood are also on the hunt for cup glory as they face Earby - a team who has already beaten them in the league this season.

But Harwood want this cup after finishing runners-up to Read in it last year.

And they may have plenty of celebrity support as the footballers were out in force to see Harwood clinch a tight battle with bottom club Whalley on Saturday.

Former Blackburn Rovers midfielder David Dunn, now at Birmingham, Southampton striker Brett Ormerod, the former Accrington striker, and Stanley chairman Eric Whalley were all watching the entertaining if nerve-racking clash.

The game could have gone either way with usually prolific opener Russell Whalley out for nought as Harwood went from 0-1, 2-2 and 65-5.

However, a stand of 95 from Allan Armer (89) and Adam Newton (9) then guided Harwood to a respectable 182.

But with Harwood all out in the 37th over, Whalley claimed eight extra overs for their innings.

Whalley started in a similar vein to Harwood with 29-4 before they rallied to 100-5 with a partnership between former Harwood pro Mark Whelan and Simon Gorton.

Then, though, Harwood's paid man Andy Crook started nibbling away at the wickets and, with 17 overs left, the last pair were at the crease. However Whelan shepherded young teenager Nicky Byrne through over after over.

It meant there were only eight balls of their 53 overs left when Whelan had a rush of blood and tried to launch Crook over the Dog and Otter but was safely caught at mid-on by Adam Newton.

It took Crook's wicket tally to seven in the game which was a boost for Harwood's attack as they lost opening bowler Stuart Maher early on with a groin strain - and he couldn't play in the Inter League clash on Sunday.

Maher will have a late fitness test for the league game at Clitheroe on Saturday while fellow bowler Gordon Simpson should be back on Sunday for the cup following injury.

Meanwhile, Baxenden pushed title chasing Settle all the way on Saturday. Second-placed Settle celebrated a 17-run win after Keith Hornby (43) and pro Robin Morris (47) helped set a target of 178-9. Baxenden paid man Jonathan Harvey took his tally of runs for the season to more than 350 with his 41 but Dale's bowler John Hughes took 5-17 to seal the win.

Baxenden - under new captain Dave Usher - will be hoping to put on a show against Oswaldtwistle on Saturday before an understrength side join the search for cup glory when they face bottom club Whalley on Sunday. If they do get through, they miss the big guns of Read and Great Harwood who would play each other in the semi's.

  • HARWOOD'S Allan Armer hit 55 as the Ribblesdale League beat the Central Lancashire League by just three runs in the MEN Inter League knock-out competition at Middleton CC on Sunday.


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