GREAT Harwood have been boosted with the news that professional Andy Crook has signed for next season.
The Australian has been a big hit at Cliffe Park this summer, destroying other sides with the bat and the ball. And now his aims for next season are to get the better of Read who pipped them to the Ribblesdale League title and the Ramsbottom Cup this summer.
"That would be good," smiled Crook. " But I know they will have a strong side again next season if Peter Sleep is an amateur there. But I have had a great summer, it is a good club and my cricket has benefitted. I have had a great year and am pleased to sign a new deal."
Harwood were unable to finish their season on a high with the weather thwarting their attempts to get one over on the champions. The top two clashed at Whalley Road with the title already decided but Gordon Simpson's side were determined to sign off in style.
After Crook has posted 80 and Paul Houldsworth struck a stunning 95 not out, it was looking good at 220-4. However the heavens opened and that was that for the cricket season. It was disappointing as Read's pro and former Rishton paid man Sleep didn't have a chance to finish his pro career with a flourish as he now enters the amateur ranks.
Oswaldtwistle share bottom spot with Padiham as both sides picked up two points with not a ball being bowled in their respective games. Immanuel skipper Gerard Metcalf says no terms have been agreed with professional Wesley Morrick.
"Wes is a good pro but was more consistent than a match-winner. It is up in the air at the moment. But we are disappointed to finish in the bottom two. We played well in parts and some of the younger lads did well so hopefully we will be more of a force to be reckoned with next year. A couple of seasons ago we finished towards mid-table and I think that was higher than we probably deserved. This season we have finished lower than we deserved."
At least there was a chance of all-round action for Baxenden on the final day of the season. Cherry Tree declared on 125-6 in their rain-affected game. Jon Harvey's side were on the verge of defeat with 95-8 before they were saved by the weather. They finish in eighth spot.
"It has been a reasonable season although our target was the top six," said Back Lane honorary secretary David Clegg. "We lost a couple of close games and struggled when we lost Dave Usher with an injured finger early on. He didn't play again. I guess we slightly under-achieved."
Harvey will be pro again next year, although it remains to be seen whether he will continue to combine the professional and captain's roles as he did this season.