DESPITE losing out to Monton & Weaste in a rain-affected game in the Central Lancashire League on Saturday, Radcliffe Cricket Club captain Sean Gibson was quick to praise the efforts of his lower-order batsman.

The Homer Street men had made a good start to the game with Gibson and pro Hafeez Afridi notching up 58-1 in 10 overs, but a middle-order collapse left the final three batsmen Connor Gateley (31), Faisal Ali (19) and Jimmy Dixon (16 not out) to steady the innings as the Radcliffe side totalled 198 before rain halted play.

Gibson said: “To overcome a batting collapse, score nearly 200 runs and have the lower-order do so well was really positive for us.

“Players like Gateley, Ali and Dixon batted well and are now pressuring the top order.”

Before the game, Gibson had singled out Christiaan Jonker as second-placed Monton’s danger man, and although the South African bowler did claim two wickets he picked up an injury which gave Radcliffe respite.

“Jonker was going really well but he pulled his groin and had to come off, which was a huge bonus for us,” said Gibson.

However, his side were left to rue the weather as J Sandham (78) and F Shafiq (68) batted Monton to victory with a revised target.

Sixth-placed Radcliffe play fifth-placed Middleton on Saturday, 1.30pm start.