THREE Ribblesdale League wins on the bounce and Oswaldtwistle Immanuel are on the up.
After too many seasons languishing at the wrong end of the table, wins over fellow strugglers Whalley and Blackburn Northern in this weekend's double header could move them into mid-table. They didn't get their first league win until 6 June at Ribblesdale Wanderers but now captain Gerard Metcalf is hoping to keep their league form going.
"We aren't clear yet as we are still only five points off the bottom," said the cautious captain. "But things have got better. It really is just the way the fixtures have panned out.
"At the start of the season we were playing all the top sides and we were playing well but they were stronger. But it was a good win over Ribblesdale Wanderers, they are a decent side, and in the last three league games we have been set targets and have reached them. We are now playing the poorer sides but we have started batting a little bit better and have got some consistency."
The Ossie skipper also thinks the addition of South African pro Wesley Morrick has boosted the side. The 22-year-old paceman is an ECB Level II coach and took a five-wicket haul against Ribblesdale Wanderers.
"Wes is good to have around the club, he is an all-rounder and adds consistency," said the skipper. "He is, perhaps, a little more confident that last season's pro Rob Ashton and probably gets the runs a little quicker and dominates attacks more.
"But saying that, Rob was a good pro and we have really carried on where we left off last season. We had a good run-in last time and I would say on form we were a top six side then. We didn't start too well this season but now everybody is performing and we have got more confidence.
"We have a youngish side with three 16-year-olds but that is counter-balanced with people like me," laughed the skipper. "But they competed as 15-year-olds last season and have improved as they are one year on.There is still a lot of hard work to be done but we are going in the right direction."
Third-placed Great Harwood are still on a charge and will be hoping to boost their title tilt by getting one over on second place Read on Saturday on home territory in what looks likely to be the match of the day in the Ribblesdale League. On Sunday, they will aim to keep the pressure on when they make the trip to Padiham.
And Baxenden will be hoping to make ground on the top seven when they welcome Cherry Tree to Back Lane on Saturday and then go to Settle on Sunday.