How we use Cookies

Wes gets used to life at the wrong end of the table

OSWALDTWISTLE professional Wes Morrick has been winning admirers in the Ribblesdale League - but he is determined to show there is more to come.

DETERMINED . . . Ossie professional Wes Morrick
DETERMINED . . . Ossie professional Wes Morrick

OSWALDTWISTLE professional Wes Morrick has been winning admirers in the Ribblesdale League - but he is determined to show there is more to come.

The 22-year-old came to perennial strugglers Immanuel after three years pro-ing with Aston Rowant in Oxford where he won two league titles.

It has been a different experience in the north for the South African as he battles it out at the wrong end of the table - but he is helping to lead Oswaldtwistle in the right direction.

After years occupying the wooden spoon spot, four wins in five encounters prior to Saturday's trip to defending champions Read had moved them towards the dizzy heights of mid-table. But it was always going to be mission impossible for Immanuel who have been beaten comfortably by the Whalley Roaders twice already this season.

And so it proved with Read experimenting with their batting line-up, claiming three collections and unleashing "Rocket'' Oliver Newby on the Ossie batsmen.

However, Read were quick to see the merits in the shell-shocked New Lane paid-man. "He is a good bowler and teams will have to watch him," admitted Read captain Warren Eastham.

This was despite an off-day for Morrick, who hails from Natal but plays for Cape Town University in the Western Province. He only took one wicket - he has taken six in one game this season - and was dismissed for his first duck although he felt the decision was harsh.

"I don't think I was out but you have to accept it," said Morrick.

The youngster has chalked up more than 300 runs this season and taken more than 30 wickets.

"I want to get 70 wickets and 800 runs so this game has been frustrating," admitted the pro, whose dismissal effectively ended Ossie's resistance. "It is hard in some ways coming to a club like this. We know we aren't going to win the league or get a top five placing but a mid-table position would be an improvement. We just want to get away from the bottom.

"We are never going to beat teams like Read consistently - we just have to make sure we beat the teams around us," said Morrick, with his side up against ninth-placed Padiham tomorrow at New Lane.

"I have spent four seasons in England, three in Oxford, and this season has been a new challenge for me. It is the same standard but I am just battling with the wickets being that bit slower. It has certainly been interesting so far!

"There is quite a lot of pressure on the pro to score the runs and get the wickets but it is also about the other players putting their hands up and taking some responsibility - they seem to be doing that now at Ossie.

"We do all give 120 per cent here, we do buckle down, but it is a small group with limited funding. They are a decent bunch of guys with some good amateurs who can contribute more and Gerard (Metcalf, the captain) works hard, he has a lot of pressure and sometimes the team do just need a break.

"I must admit, though, I don't like losing. I come from a country and a culture which is so competitive about everything and so I don't like losing at all. It is hard to take. I would have liked to have taken more wickets and scored more runs obviously and sometimes it is frustrating when the catches go down but that is cricket and you learn all the time."

Read were certainly dishing out the lessons in Saturday's encounter.

They switched their order, giving young Will Driver a taste of what it is like to open a senior match. He was however quickly back in the pavilion, falling prey to Morrick.

However enter pro Peter Sleep who once again did the business for the table-toppers, with 62.

"Peter has been there and done it and is a great pro," said the admiring Morrick. "I have had a talk to him, there is good banter and he has given me some good advice. It is easy to see, with Peter and Reads' amateurs, why they are favourites to retain the title."

Sleep was quite slow by his standards, taking 87 balls for his half century, but Nick Marsh chipped in with 53 and, as they went for the slogs, usual opener Terry Little came in at number six and boosted the score.

Little hit his 50 off just 35 balls with five fours and three sixes as the cars in the car park came under attack. Skipper Metcalf chipped in with two wickets but there were a couple of dropped catches to add to Immanuel's woes.

Read's 236-5 was always a daunting target but it was worse for Ossie as they were missing some of their youngsters - Chris Burton and Joel Byrom among others - who were on a football tour in Italy.

But the chase began with the visitors finally getting a run on the board in the third over. Opener Jon Wilkin managed to hang around a bit with 17 but highly-rated Newby was too much and, combined with Frankie Barden and some close fielding, the Immanuel batsmen faced a barrage.

Newby's figures of 3-17 off just seven overs show he is a star in the making - for Read and Lancashire.

Metcalf's side teetered from 8-2 to 9-3 off five overs and then 23-4. Morrick's dismissal for a duck off Barden signalled the end and then enter skipper Eastham into the attack and he saw off the middle and lower order along with Sleep.

Eastham finished with two wickets for three runs off six overs - and he really enjoyed that - and Sleep took two wickets for six runs as Ossie were skittled out for just 56 runs, a whopping 180 runs behind.

"Frustrating," sighed Morrick. "But hopefully a few years down the line, I will look back and realise what I have learned in the Ribblesdale League."


Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
Alex Bell
Bethany English
District reporter
Beth Abbit
Court reporter
Jon Macpherson
Kate Watkins
Reporter specialising in communities
Garth Dawson
Photographer and columnist