Whalley are hoping for more of the same to lift them into promotion contention after claiming an impressive away win at Atherton on Saturday in the Anthony Axford North West Cricket League.

Frankie Jackson, captain of the Station Road club, makes no secret of their aim for this season’s Championship.

“We want promotion. We want to be playing against the top teams, so that’s the goal,” he said after beating Atherton by 27 runs - their second league win in seven this summer.

“We know Read will definitely be up there. They’re a really good outfit, but I’d like to be one of the two who go up.”

And there’s no reason why they can’t. They may be eighth on 43 points, but they are only 19 off second-placed Walkden. That gap can be bridged in a weekend such as the one coming up which is a double header, with games away at Earby and Feniscowles.

“I don’t ever see any game as any easy game. They will be tough, and they could go either way,” continued Jackson. “But I back our ability.”

To Saturday’s game at Atherton, which was on the back of having posted a score of 134 all out after electing to bat. Opener Stuart Crabtree top-scored with a nicely paced 49 off 63 balls.

Aman Singh’s 17 from number eight was the next best score for a Whalley side missing some key players.

“It was probably a 180 track,” reflected Jackson. “We would have wanted more, including some from myself, but we just had a middle order collapse.”

The standout contribution came from professional Levi Wolfenden, the all-rounder who took the new ball and claimed 5-39 from 15 overs of seam as Atherton were bowled out for 107, losing for the fourth time in seven games.

“We knew what we were getting when we signed Levi for another year,” continued the skipper.

“Runs haven’t always come his way in the league, it’s been more T20 where he’s got his runs. But no matter what track, I always back Levi to run through teams. He’s a great bowler.

“When we signed him, it was more for his runs. But he is still very good and creates a lot of chance.”

Jackson said Wolfenden set the tone by putting Atherton’s ex-West Indian Test opener Shayne Moseley - their pro - under immediate pressure even though his wicket went to new ball partner Richard Palmer for 11.

“Levi had their pro rattled from the start,” he said.

“He likes to get into the battle and pick a player out to have a competition against in many ways. He did that with their pro - their best player. He almost made a beeline for him and wanted to get into his head early on, and he did that.”

Jackson continued: “They had a young opener, Oliver Gredecki, and he was great. He was very composed.

“But once he was gone (for 44 at 100-8), with 30 or 40 runs to get and numbers nine and 10 in, we felt like we had the game in our hands at that point.

“When we got into the changing room on Saturday, it felt like a deserved victory, one which had been a long time coming. Even in the games we’ve lost this year, we’ve not been well beaten. We’ve always been there and thereabouts.

“We’ve got a great group of lads who are all fighting hard, either to play or stay in the team. There’s a lot of young lads wanting to play.

“Ed Burrow, for example, his bowling has been amazing in the T20s. But he bowled in the league for the first time on Saturday and got the important wicket of Gredecki.

“I’m very proud of a young lad who has been in the seconds but has been brought through in the T20s and has taken his opportunity in the league.”

Speaking of the T20s, Whalley are into the quarter-finals of the Birtwistle Cup. They finished top of their group with three wins from five games and will host Barrowford at home today for a place at Finals Day.

“I can’t take any praise for that because I’m not the captain in that,” added Jackson. “It’s Thomas Cameron in that competition, and it’s his debut season as skipper.

“He’s smashing it. He was my vice in the T20s last year, and I felt he really deserved a chance to lead the side.

“He was away this weekend, so I captained on Friday. And we lost!

“I know Barrowford are in the Conference, but they’ve been brilliant. They’ve beaten some top sides.

“It’s going to be a tough game against them, and we’ll have to be right on it because we’re desperate to go to Finals Day, which would be the first time for the club since 2017.”

n Fixtures

Saturday - Premiership: Farnworth v Padiham, Farnworth Social Circle v Salesbury, Kearsley v Blackrod, Little Lever v Astley Bridge, Lostock v Ribblesdale Wanderers, Tonge v Eagley.

Championship: Atherton v Feniscowles, Brinscall v Read, Cherry Tree v Barnoldswick, Earby v Whalley, Oswaldtwistle Immanuel v Walkden.

Sunday - Premiership: Farnworth v Astley Bridge, Kearsley v Farnworth Social Circle, Lostock v Padiham, Ribblesdale Wanderers v Eagley, Tonge v Blackrod.

Championship: Atherton v Brinscall, Cherry Tree v Earby, Feniscowles v Whalley, Oswaldtwistle Immanuel v Read, Walkden v Baxenden.