Sport

Harwood skipper puts on a smashing show

RUSSELL Whalley upset one of his team-mates despite hitting a 107 which helped Great Harwood to a second successive win in the Veka Ribblesdale League.

GOOD WIN... For Baxenden. Pictured in action is opener Simon Payne as pro Jon Harvey looks on.

RUSSELL Whalley upset one of his team-mates despite hitting a 107 which helped Great Harwood to a second successive win in the Veka Ribblesdale League.

The Cliffe Park skipper was knocking the ball around with ease against Edenfield - with four sixes and 14 fours. But one of his big hits smashed into the back window of team-mate and former Stanley player Matt Houldsworth's car.

"I hit it down the middle and it went straight through the back windscreen," said the skipper. "Matt was on the other side of the ground and I heard him swear! I bought him two pints to make up for it!"

While Whalley starred with the bat, Stuart Maher did his work with the ball - taking 5-17 - including a well-celebrated hat-trick.

The table is taking an ominous look with defending champions Read already setting the pace and Great Harwood - runners-up last year - keeping close tabs on them. "We can beat anyone on our day and I am delighted with the way we have started," said the captain. "In our first game against Baxenden, numbers six, seven and eight all stayed with the pro and did their job. We wouldn't have done that last year - we would have lost - so it is pleasing."

Australian pro Andy Crook is once again proving his worth - he got an unbeaten 83 in the opening clash.

"He is looking solid," said Whalley. "He looks like he has not been away. He batted well last week and got a 39 on Saturday - he hadn't given them a chance but it was just one bad shot."

It's a trip to Earby tomorrow for Harwood and at home to Blackburn Northern in the double header this weekend.

"I don't think either side has won a game so they will be looking to get off the mark. You have to judge each game on its merit. We feel confident but they will be looking for their first win."

Baxenden face a tough weekend with a trip to Ribblesdale Wanderers and a tricky task at home to table toppers Read on Sunday. But they will tackle them in confident mood after a victory over Earby - pro Jon Harvey's former club. The paid man hit six fours in his 37 and he was supported by opener Simon Payne (27) and Mark Rishton (29) in their 143-8. The lower order did fall cheaply as youngster Scott Hudson starred with the ball for Earby taking 6-21.

However, in a tight finish, Earby fell seven runs short with Harvey, James Capstick and Nick Warbuton taking three wickets apiece.

And Oswaldtwistle Immanuel were happy to chalk up their first win of the season with victory over Padiham - and it was 17-year-old Andrew Metcalf who stole the show.

Andrew, son of skipper Gerald, took 5-22 - his best figures in the first team - to help them to a three-wicket win.

Adil - former Great Harwood paid man - sub-proed for them in the absence of Raja Ali who has a flight booked to arrive on Thursday in time for the double header at home to Clitheroe tomorrow and at Barnoldswick on Sunday.

"The biggest thing that pleased me was our fielding," admitted Metcalf. "There were some good catches and we did not put a foot wrong - it is always good to get your first win."