OSWALDTWISTLE Immanuel captain Gerald Metcalf could take no consolation despite coming close to defeating Veka Ribblesdale League title favourites Read.
The New Lane club have been well-beaten by Read in the league and Ramsbottom Cup already this season but were on the brink of a hard-earned win against the defending champions on Saturday. But they ended up losing by just six runs and Metcalf admitted it was a hard loss to accept.
"We should have beaten them and it was a blow. They were there for the taking and we had fielded and bowled really well - something we have done all season. We keep getting the opportunity to chase 130s/140's and then falling short at the end. At the end of the day, Read are used to winning and we are not and we gave the win away cheaply."
It had looked good for Immanuel with 17-year-old Andy Metcalf taking the wickets of the two Read openers. And then fellow teenager Kurt Smithson saw off pro Danny Law (1) and Kyle O'Connor (1).
Only former Rishton pro Peter Sleep could get in the runs and he made a vital 44. Oswaldtwistle pro Raja Ali finally saw off the middle order but not before it had gone from 9-3 to 93-6 to 123-9.
The chase was on and opener John Wilkin (23) and Ali (23) took the score along helped by middle order batsmen Gerald (17) and son Andy (14). However the last three batsmen fell with the score stuck on 117 and that was that for Immanuel.
"The last three batsmen fell in the last over as we were chasing runs but we should have done it. Read weren't at full strength and we were disappointed at the end."
Oswaldtwistle are still waiting for Indian pro Ali to set the league alight. After missing the start of the season, he hit an unbeaten 112 against Blackburn Northern in May but has failed to get passed the 30s since then. He has 262 league runs so far, with one century and two ducks.
"We took a gamble this season and got a batting pro," said the skipper. "In the past we have got a bowling pro but we decided to rely on our amateur bowling attack and it shows it was the right move. But our Achilles heel is our batting at the moment and all we can do is keep practising. And I am sure Raja will get some big scores before the end of the season - we haven't seen the best of him yet."
And his big score could come at no better time than tomorrow when fourth from bottom Oswaldtwistle are visited by third from bottom Padiham - and their formidable run-machine Kashif Siddique.
"He has got over 800 runs in 10 innings so it shows what a big threat he is. But they are below us in the league so it suggests our amateur line up is better than theirs," continued the captain. "But their pro can do anything on the day - we need to get him out cheaply."
Oswaldtwistle, with half the season gone, are aiming for a mid-table position. They started off well but have struggled in the last few games. "Our confidence is just a bit low at the moment and we need a win," added the skipper.
Meanwhile, Great Harwood won the local derby against Baxenden. Despite Simon Payne's 48, Baxenden struggled to stay with him and they were all out for 120. Youngster Andy Irwin, the 15-year-old making his senior debut, couldn't make an impact with the bat. Harwood bowler Gordon Simpson, returning after injury, did well taking 5-38.
Although pro Jon Harvey got the wickets of Chris Ramsker and Russell Whalley, an unbeaten 36 from pro Andy Crook and then Allan Armer's 57 saw them through. Armer got his 50 off just 40 balls.
Great Harwood make the trip to struggling Edenfield on Saturday as they look to snatch the third spot off Barnoldswick. And Baxenden make the trip to mid-table Earby, Harvey's former club.