Captain Joey Pryle described seven-wicket star Matthew Readey as Blackrod’s very own Stuart Broad and now wants his side to build on last Saturday’s incredible win against Little Lever and go and secure some silverware.

New-ball seamer Readey returned a fabulous 7-26 from eight overs in an Anthony Axford North West Cricket League clash which will be long remembered against the Premiership champions, who failed to chase a target of 65 and lost by 11 runs.

Blackrod won their third successive game at the start of 2024 - one which included eight ducks across both sides and a highest score of 29 from home pro, the Sri Lankan opener Navod Paranavithana.

And Pryle admitted he never gave up hope despite being bowled out for 64 having been inserted on a tricky batting pitch which kept low.

“I was aiming for 150 plus,” said the skipper. “I was thinking, ‘If our pro can go and bat through on a difficult wicket, we can play around him and 150’s something to defend’.

“It was tough for us. Our wicket’s a bit low, and we obviously didn’t bat great. But they bowled exceptionally well, and most impressive was their fielding.

“Coming in at half time with 64 on the board, I was wondering what to say. But I’ve played a lot of cricket over the years and have seen some funny things. I just said, ‘If we can get two of their three key players out, you never know’.

“We had to believe. And once we got Adil Nisar and Nipun Gaikwad out, the lads did believe. We had an end open.

“Their pro, Sam Fanning, looked solid but played a bad shot. Once we got him as well, it was on.”

On Readey, Pryle said: “At one point, he was on for all 10 wickets. He took the first seven.

“Matt’s a bit like Stuart Broad in that he’ll just get on a roll and get a load of wickets in a spell.

“He’s the kind of bowler who, if he channels his energy into the right things and not the histrionics he can get involved in, he’s so dangerous and can be a match-winner. That’s exactly what he did. He was outstanding.”

Readey usurped Little Lever’s overseas amateur Gaikwad, who had claimed 6-19 from 9.1 overs of spin in the first half of a fixture lasting 42.4 overs in total.

“This was like rolling back the years to when Tushy de Zoysa was in his pomp seven or eight years ago,” said Pryle.

“If we got a low total, you could always bank on him to go and win us a game. He did it so many times bowling seam up. He’s got a shoulder issue now, and we have to manage him differently. He’s bowling spin.

“But I remember a game against Atherton seven or eight years ago when they were top of the league. We only got 81 and then bowled them out for 66 or something.

“When you have a low total, to defend it you’ve got to make sure everyone’s on it and you take your chances. And we did that. Hats off to everyone.”

Blackrod’s trio of early-season wins have clearly built confidence, and victories such as this can often do even more for belief within a dressing room. They are second in the table on 34 points, two behind leaders Salesbury.

“It’s been a superb start,” said Pryle. “We have a professional, Navod, who I’m delighted we got. He should be in the Sri Lankan international set-up, but he’s on a six-month suspension for a minor breach. I think he went on a holiday without telling the selectors, or something. When I heard he was available, I snapped him up.

“He’s a classy player, and I think he will go back and open for Sri Lanka. He’s that good.

“This year, for the first time in a few years, we’ve got an overseas amateur, Antonio Greenidge. He’s from Barbados and is friends with Jameel Stuart. They’ve played a lot together back home.

“He’s been to England before and done really well, and he’s been a fantastic signing. He’s mainly a batter but bowls some handy stuff. He bowls a heavy ball. He’s also a captain in Barbados, so he’s been a big help to me.”

Intriguingly, Blackrod host Little Lever in the second round of the Hamer Cup on June 2.

“I’m sure they’ll want revenge,” added Pryle. “But I laid the challenge down to the lads in the winter - I want to win a trophy this season. I don’t care whether it’s the league, cup or T20. I just want silverware. We’ve been building to it for a few years, and we have the players. There’s a long way to go, but fingers crossed it’s our time.”