Radcliffe captain Sean Gibson praised the club’s professional Nadeem Ashraf and bowler Jimmy Dixon after the duo helped his side secure a third successive victory in the Central Lancashire League on Saturday.
A half century from all-rounder Ashraf and a five-wicket haul from Dixon ensured the fourth-placed Homer Street club won by three wickets at second-from-bottom Ashton.
Ashraf, who has struggled with his form since scoring 80 runs on the opening day of the campaign, led a steady innings for the visitors notching up 56 with Hafeez Afridi (38), Gibson (18), Richard Farnworth (17) and Annis Patel (15) all contributing.
“Nadeem played really well” said Gibson.
“He has been really disappointed not to get runs but he has dug deep and has played himself back into some form.
“He really stood up for us on Saturday.
“He was patient, he batted a long time and he did what was needed of him, which was brilliant.
A opening stand of 94 from Ashton’s Asim Bhatti looked to have given the hosts a good start, but a batting collapse saw them skittled for 182 as the Radcliffe bowlers took control.
“We bowled well in parts but struggled with the last wicket.
“They had a little partnership at the end which gained them 50 runs and that made it quite difficult for us.”
Dixon and Ashraf were again on form with Dixon taking 5-46 off 18 overs and Ashraf taking 3-54.
Gibson said: “Jimmy is a very good bowler. “He always plays consistently and we can always rely on him to keep the runs down and get a couple of wickets.”
Second team player Conor Gateley also impressed with the bat and ball as he continued his run of good form in the first team.
Batting in a back order partnership with fellow youngster Jack Maddock, Gateley hit 11 not out as the duo scored the final 17 runs required as Radcliffe totalled 186-7. He also claimed one wicket for 12 runs and Gibson was impressed with his contribution.
“Conor is growing in confidence,” he said.
“The match got quite tight and we needed 15 runs from three overs.
“Connor and Jack batted well under pressure to get the runs, which was great.”
Former Radcliffe cricketer Moeen Syed was the best bowler for the hosts taking 3-44 in his 17 overs with Syed Shah also taking 3-71.
“They are both very good bowlers,” said Gibson.
“They bowled a big chunk of the overs between them and were intent on hurting us.
“We were happy to get the win because Ashton are not as bad as you would expect a second-from-bottom side to be,” he said.
Radcliffe play at Middleton, who were relegated from the Premier Division last season, on Saturday, before hosting Unsworth, who are on a run of 11 successive victories, in a local derby on Sunday.