CRICKET: BAXENDEN skipper Mark Rishton knows that every silver lining is accompanied by its own cloud, after his side dodged the storms to close the gap on Padiham at the zenith of the Veka Senior League.
An inspired display from club pro Jon Fielding, who hammered 78 and then claimed season's best figures of eight for 36, earned a vital victory over Edenfield, while the league leaders were falling at home to champions Clitheroe.
But Rishton was left frustrated by Edenfield's unambitious tail-enders after his side fell agonisingly one wicket short of maximum bonus points for a third victory in a row, following wins over Ribblesdale Wanderers and Earby last month.
He said: "We got 10 points which we would have settled for at the start, but it could have been 12. They never attempted to go for any of the bonus points when they were eight wickets down - they just blocked it.
"It's happened twice to us now. The two teams we have beaten will not be finishing above us in the league, so I don't see why they don't try and get the bonus points.
"When the tail-enders are there it's probably a bit out of reach, but they just used it as batting practice. Ribblesdale Wanderers only needed one or two runs off the last over and he blocked all six. Ribblesdale were infuriating but there's nothing we can do."
But Rishton was still delighted with a win, which keeps Baxenden right in the title hunt after seeing their lightning start to the campaign grind to something of a standstill with three recent defeats.
He said: "We were a bit wary that we would be getting called off with the atrocious weather, but full marks to Edenfield and Len Glover, the groundsman, who did a brilliant job of getting it ready for us.
"With Padiham and Read getting beaten and Great Harwood being off it was a good weekend for us.
"We had a couple of wobbles in May and June against Read, Great Harwood and Blackburn Northern where we got beaten by three very good sides, so no shame there."
Fielding's haul took him to 50 wickets for the season, comfortably the highest in the Ribblesdale League, and Rishton added: "When he gets in a rhythm like that and the track is helping he is the best in the league as his figures prove."
Baxenden aim to continue their return to form with a victory over struggling OSWALDTWISTLE IMMANUEL tomorrow, before hopefully completing their delayed Ramsbottom Cup tie at Barnoldswick the following day.
GREAT HARWOOD face two competitive looking trips this weekend to Edenfield on Saturday and one of the league's on-form sides, Blackburn Northern, on Sunday for the second round of the Ramsbottom Cup.
l THE Veka Ribblesdale League's bid to reach the JW Lees Inter-League Trophy ended in an 86-run defeat at Clitheroe on Sunday night.
Clitheroe's Neil Bolton took four for nine to bowl out the Lancashire County League for 205 in 44.5 overs.
But the home side lost wickets quickly from the start and despite 36 from top scorer Naeem Ashraf of Blackburn Northern, they were dismissed for 119 in 36.3 overs.
The Ribblesdale League Colts also suffered a last over defeat against the North Lancashire League at Furness CC.