Sport

Salpietro bats opposition bowlers into submission

His Australian Test compatriots may be scratching for runs but Rishton professional Dan Salpietro is in a rich vein of form.

Accrington’s Jimmy Hayhurst in action during their nine-wicket win against Nelson last weekend.

His Australian Test compatriots may be scratching for runs but Rishton professional Dan Salpietro is in a rich vein of form.

The Victorian paid man has scored 305 runs in his last three visits to the crease without being dismissed.

And Salpietro was on his way to a third successive century before Rishton completed an impressive eight-wicket win over title chasing Enfield at Dill Hall Lane last Sunday.

However, his 105 not out against Todmorden followed by an undefeated 90 against Enfield only brought Rishton one win.

So, he and his team-mates have revenge in mind when they face a quick return against ‘Tod’ at Centre Vale.

But Rishton must do without dependable Rich Rostron – whose 66 came in an unbroken stand of 177 against Enfield – for the first of their latest weekend double header.

“Rich’s absence will be a big blow to us,” confirmed Salpietro. “He has batted superbly all season and been very handy with the ball too.

“Unfortunately, on Saturday, he has a family gathering and will miss his first game of the year.”

Salpietro’s latest ton came off 157 balls, with 12 boundaries, and out of 179-4. He struck another dozen fours in his match winning knock against Enfield who did well to actually make a contest of it.

That seemed highly unlikely when reduced to 4-3, 5-45 and 6-60. Enfield eventually clawed their way to 177-9 helped by Tiarnan Hamill’s 73 against his former club.

However, Enfield and title holders Lowerhouse continue to fall further behind champions elect Accrington.

Accrington resume their title charge this weekend with a 40-points lead over Lowerhouse whose five run defeat against Haslingden last Saturday was their fifth loss of the season.

They made amends at Rawtenstall 24 hours later but the damage appears to have been done in their attempts to retain the trophy.

With nine games left Accrington look uncatchable though they took contrasting routes to victory last weekend.

A nine wicket hammering of bogey side Nelson at Thorneyholme Road followed a one wicket win at struggling Bacup.

Professional Ashar Zaidi took 4-29 and David Ormerod 3-11 as Nelson were skittled for 118. Zaidi then contributed an unbeaten 48 as Accy passed their target with one wicket down.

This victory yielded a club record ninth successive home win and only their fourth league win in five seasons over their visitors.

It was a different story against second-bottom Bacup. Adam Highley’s first half-century of the season helped Bacup to 182-9 with captain Joe McCluskie weighing in with 47.

And that target looked likely to be sufficient, especially with Jo Sipocz producing an excellent spell of 5-69.

However, professional Aubrey Swanepoel crucially put down last man David Ormerod at slip and Accrington for whom Ajaz Shah top scored with 50 scrambled over the line to claim a 14th league win.

“It was a real nail-biter,” said team manager Ian Wilson who confirmed Graham Lloyd’s absence for this weekend’s double header. “And we got out of jail with that dropped catch.

“Against Nelson, it was much more convincing because they have been something of a bogey side for us – though we have never quite worked out why!”

So, how many wins does Wilson think it will take to wrap up the silverware? “I would like nine wins from the last nine games,” he laughed.

“Seriously, four or five should do the trick. But we are not looking that far ahead.”

Enfield, now down to third, one point ahead of Ramsbottom and two clear of Haslingden, at least picked up winning points by ending Burnley’s five match unbeaten streak.

And they have chance to complete a quickfire double over the Turf Moor side on Saturday.

Batting first Burnley recovered from 70-4 to 224-8 as David Brown made 56 from 46 balls.

It looked a winning contribution but professional Brad Moses and David Bracewell helped eke out victory with just two balls to spare.

South African Moses made his highest league score of 89 with six fours and two sixes while Bracewell smashed 15 from six balls to see Enfield home. And that atoned for his first ball duck against Rishton.

Skipper Adam Bracewell admits it’s Accrington’s title to squander, saying: “They will have to lose five or six games and someone go on a very long unbeaten run,” he admitted. “And that’s unlikely. I can’t see them messing it up, if I am honest.”

Church are up to sixth after taking their tally to seven successive wins. They followed up a six wicket victory over Nelson by a seven wicket stroll at home to East Lancs.

Okert Erasmus was the mainstay of East Lancs’ 168 with 67 not out, passing 500 runs in Lancashire League matches this season on the way.

However, Church made light work of their reply, reaching 169 in just 32 overs. Lloyd Aspin led the victory charge with 66 not out.

Aspin also added 62 in the win over Nelson at Seedhill. “Something has just clicked,” said Andrew Bentley.

“It’s just a pity we didn’t start the season like this. But some of the guys who may have struggled at the start of the year are finding their form and the penny has dropped. It’s been a real team effort and hopefully we can keep it going.

“Fortunately, we should be at full strength for the foreseeable future. When you are doing well, everyone wants to play, don’t they?”

CHURCH are hosting a coaching camp from August 5-8, from 10am-3.30pm. Coaches are all ECB qualified and further details can be obtained from Philip Sykes on 01254 385094 or pjsykes@talktalk.net

Weekend fixtures:

Saturday: Accrington v Bacup, Enfield v Burnley, Church v Nelson, Haslingden v Lowerhouse, Ramsbottom v East Lancs, Rawtenstall v Colne, Todmorden v Rishton.

Sunday: Burnley v Bacup, Colne v Ramsbottom, East Lancs v Church, Haslingden v Todmorden, Lowerhouse v Rawtenstall, Nelson v Accrington, Rishton v Enfield.