HE MAY be no Bo Derek, but BAXENDEN skipper Ian Austin is certainly enjoying that ‘perfect 10’ feeling.
The Back Lane outfit registered an emphatic 10-wicket victory over shell-shocked Clitheroe last weekend, to extend their season-long winning streak to 10 league games.
In total, Austin’s men have won 14 out of 14 in all competitions.
The former Lancashire all-rounder insists they are not getting carried away with the prospect of records but has still challenged his men to see if they can remain invincible throughout the season.
Austin said: "Ideally I’d like for us to go unbeaten all year if that’s possible, which I very much doubt. It’s a hell of a lot of time to go unbeaten and there’s always a chance that someone will come up and have a good day against you and beat you.
"It’s just about all the lads turning up and not expecting somebody else to do the job for them."
Bash have been boosted in recent games by the exploits of paid man Baber Naeem – currently the Veka Senior League’s top wicket taker with 45 victims at just 8.4, and run scorer with 676 runs at an average of 56.3.
Naeem has chipped in with five-wicket hauls in the last two games, but his form with the bat exploded into life against Clitheroe as he smashed 91 off just 48 balls as Bash cruised to their victory target.
Austin said: "To be honest, in the last two games the pro has destroyed people, particularly on Saturday. He does hit a very clean ball and is a great timer.
"Once he gets in he plays proper cricket shots and the grounds aren’t big enough for him sometimes. You just get to the stage where it becomes very difficult to bowl at him and you literally cannot stop him scoring."
At the other end Callum Waddington played steadily and admired his partner for his unbeaten 20, while left arm spinner Gary Sudworth chipped in with a tight spell of 2/11 as the bottom-of-the-league visitors were reduced to 116.
Austin added: "Gary has got a few wickets in the last few weeks and is keeping it tight and building pressure from both ends, and Callum played well too. It’s easy to get carried away when you’ve got someone like Baber panning it all over the park but the good thing is he just got on with his own game and was there at the end which is what we want.
"We’re in a great position at the moment. Everybody is chipping in and we have got the points on the board. Speaking to some people and reading what has been said, if other teams want to throw the towel in, we’ll take it. We’re just playing our games and worry about other teams on Saturday or Sunday night.
"The only headache we have got at the moment is with selection because it’s difficult leaving people out."
Baxenden will look to avoid an upset in the Ramsbottom Cup on Sunday as they travel to Cherry Tree.
But first it promises to be a super Saturday at the top tomorrow with the leaders travelling to third-placed Padiham and fourth-placed GREAT HARWOOD hosting second-in-the-table Read.
The reigning champions got back to winning ways with a hard-fought three-wicket victory over Cherry Tree.
Stuart Maher spearheaded the attack with 3/27 as the hosts hit 184/7, but the Harwood top four all weighed in – opener Allan Armer top scoring with 47 and Raouf Akbar adding a vital 42 not out.
OSWALDTWISTLE IMMANUEL fell 63 runs short of Padiham as they were routed by Kashif Siddique (7/25). Immanuel never recovered from losing their first five wickets for 44, although some lusty blows from Andrew Metcalf (37) took them up to 119. Andrew Metcalf and Alamgir Anwar took two wickets apiece in Padiham’s innings of 182/5.
Ninth-placed Immanuel will be aiming to move above seventh-placed Settle when the pair meet tomorrow, before a quarter-final visit to Padiham on Sunday.
* Baxenden will take on Bootle in the LCB Lancs Cup at Back Lane next Friday 26 June, start 2pm.