The Graham Porter Challenge Trophy

Both Rishton & Great Harwood Cricket Clubs are delighted to announce that this coming weekend we will compete for the inaugural Graham Porter Challenge Trophy.

Graham has been a wonderful friend to both clubs, and his legacy had been invested by both clubs in their facilities in recent years. We are both indebted to him for all he has helped us improve at both our facilities in the last couple of years.

So with that in mind, and to carry on our ‘friendly’ local rivalry, we are delighted to have agreed 3 competitive fixtures taking place across the weekend of 18th/19th July.

The Graham Porter Challenge Trophy will have 7 points available.

A 3rd XI fixture held at Great Harwood CC on Saturday 18th July 2020 will be worth 2 pts to the victor.

On Sunday 19th July 2020, our 2nd XI and 1st XI will face off.

At Rishton, our 2nd XIs will face off in a contest worth 2 pts

At Great Harwood, our 1st XI’s will face off in an all-amateur match worth 3 pts

All matches will be over 40 overs and will start at 1.00 p.m.

The club with the most points at the conclusion of all 3 ties will take home the Graham Porter Challenge Trophy.

And the Trophy will be played for as annual event thereafter

We hope you can support our brilliant community clubs on what will hopefully be a brilliant weekend.

 

John Curran, Chairman (Rishton) & Stuart Maher, Chairman (Great Harwood)

Cricket is back! With a Talent Showcase, in Great Harwood’s Biggest & Best Beer Garden

We are delighted to be in a position to host some live entertainment for you this weekend, in what promises to be improved, sunny and warm weather.

We have not one but THREE games for you to enjoy, as we showcase our talented cricketers in an inter-club festival of cricket.

We start on Saturday from 1.00 p.m. as our junior cricket co-ordinator Mick Deasey showcases our Under 13s and Under 11s in a mixed battle, before our Under 15s & Under 17s face off from approximately 4.00 p.m.

Then on Sunday, our club Committee will show showcase our senior players as they take to the field in a ‘Young v Old’ battle. Our talented but youthful senior players will take on their experienced teammates in a 40-over battle commencing at 1.00 p.m.

The Green Cafe will be serving from our kitchens via the rear door on both days, and our bar will be open, and following our already-announced social-distancing measures.

We hope the weather will hold so that we can also showcase all our hard work which has gone in to the club during lockdown for the benefit of you all.

Clubhouse re-opening Saturday 4th July from 2 p.m.

We are delighted to be in a position to re-open our doors to our wonderful members and their guests from this Saturday, 4th July. Our Committee have worked wonders in their limited spare time to have our facilities ready for you to re-open from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Saturday 4th July 2020

The club has not been sitting idly by in our imposed hiatus from cricket, and thanks to our volunteers significant areas of our club have been improved in recent months. We hope you will take time out of your weekend, or in the coming days and weeks, to come and appreciate all the hard work that has been put in for everyone’s benefit.

We re-open this weekend on Saturday only, but remain closed on Sunday owing to the lack of any cricket.

We will then re-open on Monday to Friday evenings from 6.30 p.m. to 10.00 p.m. to complement our junior and senior practice sessions which have been exceptionally well run since early June, closely following ECB guidance to ensure they have been conducted in an appropriately safe manner.

Now all we need is some proper cricket!

We have implemented safeguards and protections for the benefit of both our staff and our members and their guests, and we will undoubtedly learn from our initial re-opening and the service limitations and adapt these safeguards accordingly.

We will announce further information, including any amended opening times, on our social media feeds. We hope you can come and support your club. We rely heavily on our bar for our income to support all of our activities, and your support in these coming weeks and months will be appreciated.

Our aim – as always – is to provide a safe environment for our members and their guests. Our approach to COVID-19 has been no different. When you come to visit, you will notice a few keys differences:

  • Hand sanitisation stations will be available at all entry points to our clubhouse
  • In order to comply with our NHS Test & Trace obligations, on entry you will be asked to scan a QR code in order to provide your contact details which we will retain for a period of 21 days. Staff will provide assistance to any member or guest who requires it.
  • In order to maintain social distancing, our indoor capacity has been reduced to a maximum of 58 people. Table seating is restricted to 14 separate tables. Advance booking is therefore recommended. Please contact info@gtharwoodcc.co.uk to confirm your reservation
  • Members and guests must refrain from moving any tables or chairs. To do so will reduce the capacity available to us
    Service will be by table service only, both indoors and outdoors. There will be no service at the bar, for the protection of our staff at this time. Our staff will be on hand to take your order and keep you well hydrated.
  • Contactless payments by card is preferred, but payment by cash will be accepted.
  • Members and their guests are reminded of the strict social distancing guidelines:
    Indoors – there is a maximum of 2 households per table
    Outdoors – there is maximum of 6 people from any households at a table
  • Members must remain seated and are not permitted to move between tables due to government guidelines
  • Children are always welcome at our club, but all parents or carers or reminded of their obligations to ensure their children abide by all social distancing guidelines
  • All toilets are restricted to a maximum of two persons at any one time

We would also take the opportunity to remind everyone that owing to the terms of our licence, membership of our club is required to take advantage of our facilities. For more details, please see here: https://gtharwoodcc.co.uk/the-club/club-membership.html

We would remind all members and their guests that these rules are not imposed by us, but have been imposed upon us. Our staff will take time to get to grips with them too, so your support and understanding will be appreciated.

Any questions can, as always be directed to your club Chairman, Stuart Maher: chairman@gtharwoodcc.co.uk, or Secretary, Richard Law-Riding: secretary@gtharwoodcc.co.uk

We hope to see you soon.

Coronavirus Update – All Cricket Suspended

Following the recommendations & advice received from the England & Wales Cricket Board today, all recreational cricket at all levels is suspended until further notice.

You can read the ECB’s announcement here: https://www.ecb.co.uk/news/1646355

We did however find some time to play some competitive junior cricket before the outbreak. Congratulations to our U-9 and U-15 teams who won their respective competitions. First two cups on the shelf!

There are however some important announcements to make:

1.    Junior Training – following the announcement all remaining indoor training session for juniors have been cancelled. Please keep an eye on the club’s information sources for details of when these will recommence in the blistering sunshine of early-Summer 2020.2. Ladies Cricket – training sessions are also cancelled until further notice. Announcements will be made in due course when outdoor training is scheduled to recommence.

3. Senior Men’s Cricket – all indoor sessions have been cancelled. Announcements will be made to players in respect of outdoor practice sessions, which will be linked to ECB advice.

4. All scheduled cricket fixtures at every level – Men’s, Ladies and Junior cricket – have been postponed. No start date for the 2020 season is yet proposed. Please monitor our website and social media feeds, which we will update once we receive further information from our respective league administrators.

We as a club face an uncertain financial future, and challenging times ahead. We hope that we can reply on you, our members, supporters and followers, to help us in the future.

Winter Nets continue

Our winter nets are well underway, under the beady eye of our Head Coach John Seedle.

They are open to all players, old and new, and take place each Tuesday from 8.00 – 9.30 p.m. at Spirit of Sport, Blessed Trinity RC College, Ormerod Road, Burnley BB10 3AA.

Chairman’s Report from the Annual General Meeting

I am pleased to present my report to members as your Chairman. May I begin by welcoming those in attendance, and thanks to those for the courtesy of their formal apologies.

My annual review this year has a particular theme:          We need your help and support.

Most of what I will report can be improved through members giving more to their club.

Cricket performance

As always I will start by reviewing on the field. It is right to review this first as it remains and always will be the club’s priority.

At 1st XI level, it was as disappointing as it could possibly have been. Our pro, Thikshila de Silva, understandably took time to settle on his first visit to the UK. A change of captain early in the season as Pual Houldsworth stoof down, and our – correct – appointment of a young captain coupled with an -inexperienced 1st XI was always likely to contribute towards an inconsistent season. However, to finish second bottom and have to re-apply for election into the league can only be described as disappointing.

We did win more games than the previous season, but it must be acknowledged that in Division 2 we were playing a poorer standard of cricket than in 2018. To finish 11th out of 12 is not a great outcome.

So, the only way is up. We have 2, and we hope to possibly have 3 or 4 new faces looking for 1st XI cricket, joining or re-joining us, and competition for 1st XI places can only be a good thing.

John Seedle once again did an excellent job as coach, and continues to bring a far more structured approach to practice and 1st XI matchdays. Thanks to him for his support and services throughout 2019, and we are delighted to have him again for 2020 and hopefully for many years to come/.

I would personally like to thank Matt Oddie for taking on the role as captain, we believe the youngest captain in our long history. He will only get better as his years and experience progress.

Turning now to the 2nd XI, led by Russell Whalley. We started the seaon very well, winning 5 of the first 6 matches. But the bright start faded, and we finished winning just 4 of the next 14 league games, to finish 7th out of 12 in Division 2. Our 2nd XI is intended to be our breeding ground for future 1st XI cricketers. But the outcome of only one player under the age of 45 scoring more than 170 league runs, and nobody taking 20 wickets or more, is a cause for concern.

Finally, in terms of senior cricket, our 3rd XI secured a top-half finish, with our young players getting opportunities of developing their skills and abilities against good quality opposition. Now, I will be the first to admit I do not see as much 3rd XI cricket as I would like. Nonetheless, in our group of 7, we finished 3rd, winning 6 out of 10 games played. In the inter-group play offs, we lost both games to finish an effective 9th out of 21 which is still a good outcome. We are however one of very few clubs to offer a genuine 3rd XI team. The vast majority of clubs are only able to field a 3rd XI made up of 2nd XI players and younger 1st XI players. The gap between 3rdXI and 2ndXI cricket, particularly in Div 2, is therefore not so large, and helps keep the 2nd XI competitive at times of player unavailability

The most exciting cricket development of the year was in respect of ladies cricket. We are delighted to have our first formal ladies team, and rule changes are on the agenda at tonight’s meeting to place that team on a formal footing. Thanks must go to Vicky Cocken for getting this team off the ground, as we look to add to our offering for our local community. They remain however a small band of individuals which needs your help and support to help them develop.

Turning to junior cricket, we continue to surpass expectations of a club of our size, in our community, surrounded by multiple other clubs. Mick Deasey, and all the junior managers, do a wonderful job. Special thanks must go to everyone involved. We are acknowledged to be one of the top 3 clubs across all age groups together with Clitheroe and Lowerhouse. They have significant, multiple advantages over our club, and we operate in an area which is overpopulated with league clubs. Nonetheless we enter teams at all age groups, almost always in the top divisions available. The teams continue to challenge for honours at all age goups. The challenge for the club is to develop these players into long term 1st XI cricketers. This is difficult, as we also look to balance the interests and rights of other playing members to a meaningful game of cricket

To summarise ourt cricketing performance overall, there is obvious room for improvement, particularly at senior level. That will only come with hard work, dedication and commitment to one another. We need your help and support.

Groundstaff

2019 was once again a challenging year, but for more familiar reasons. It was very wet for long periods, which is always challenging for part-time groundstaff with other commitments. We have been fortunate to have had groundstaff over the years who worked for such limited cost. Our only option this year was to look somewhat commercially, and Nathan did a good job in difficult circumstances. The lack of support and volunteers is a concern, but we are hopeful to have more bodies in this regard this year. It will however never be enough, and the cost of his expertise may not be sustainable. We need your help and support.

I would also like to thank those members who have helped out, at different stages. Those litter pickers, fixers, movers and tidyers. You know who you are, and do not do it to seek any recognition. We are very grateful for the silent work you do for the benefit of us all.

Clubhouse and facilities

Notwithstanding the quality of our clubhouse and associated facilities, the annual accounts presented to the meeting speak for themselves. It has not been the successful year that we had hoped for. There are a number of possible reasons for those, and undoubtedly all contribute to the lower bar income and room hire. The committee have acted to replace our former stewardess, and we hope that Becky and her new team will settle in quickly.

The clubhouse remains our main asset, and our major income and revenue stream. We all have to look after it, to keep it as the place to have your function in the local area. We need your help and support.

Memberships & Communications

In terms of membership and subscriptions, we had a slight fall in member number in 2019. Special thanks should go to our secretary Richard Law-Riding who stepped in to help with our subscription and membership processes last year, in the short-term absence of our subscriptions secretary as he became a father for the first time. It is a time-consuming role, which when couple with other club responsibilities meant he did go above and beyond for your benefit as members.

In terms of communication to members and the wider-world, i would like to give particular thanks to Neil Kennedy for his help with match reports, and to everyone who has helped in this regard. We see how far these travel, with people reading them all over the world. There are many who still take an interest in the club.

We are aware that we can be better at communicating what is happening at the club, but we simply don’t have the time to do as much as we would like. To get better, we need your help and support.

Sponsorship & Advertising

I would like to thank to all members who have helped renew, secure and develop existing sponsorship arrangements in 2019. We were by no means perfect, but we did our best with the limited time we have available. We try to bring in new businesses to support what we do, but it is very difficult to do so between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m., and at weekends.

We were previously quite reliant on this as a source of income, and we remain in need of financial support from local businesses. We are working as hard as we can on this, but we just don’t have the time to do what we feel we can. We need your help and support.

Financial position

The headline numbers showing the significant loss in our accounts may raise an eyebrow or two, but our wonderful treasurer Michael Perrin will discuss these in his report to follow, and in his notes to the accounts.

I would also like to thank our auditor Adam Newton for preparing the formal accounts on behalf of his club. Thanks for your help and support. It remains needed to save us further professional fees.

100 Club

Once again thanks go to Ian Welsh, and to Shirley Maher for the handover and co-ordination of the 100 Club. It remains a significant income stream for the club, and enables us to make repairs and improvements as and when they are required. Repairs and improvements within our kitchen, and a replacement door to the extended balcony, are just two of the improvements in the last 12 months which the funds raised have been used for the benefit of all members and their guests.

Our Management Committee

We have a very small management committee here at our club at present, which has hovered around the 10 member mark for a number of years. We have 2 part-time employees, for the bar and on the ground. Members should consider what this club offers, and what those individuals deliver for the benefit of everyone who comes to our club.

The people that make up this committee are brilliant, talented individuals. What they achieve on a monthly basis is astonishing. I would not swap any of them, for any committee member, at any other club. They achieve all that they do despite – almost exclusively – having full time jobs, family responsibilities or other voluntary posts.

I invite members to consider your key officials now, here on this top table. We as individuals should not be the members running this club, at our stage in life. But we are in this position, and we do have so many ideas a plans of how we would like to move this club forward. But the lack of numbers – and crucially, free time – prevents us from moving the club forward as fast as we would like.

So we need you. We need your help. More importantly, we need you to commit your time to help.

When you take on a role such as we do, you do so in the hope that you get something back. Not financially, but in a much wider sense. But when you ask 10-12 individuals to manage an organisation like ours, for no pay, and for so long as we have, it becomes disheartening and it is often that disinterest which leads people to walk away. It becomes unenjoyable, and that is the biggest danger this club faces at this time.

New members in the running of the club always bring new ideas, a fresh impetus. We have benefitted in this regard in the last 12 months. But we need your help and support.

It doesn’t need to be formal. It can be a promise to help out with a certain aspect. Training can be given on anything. Your skills are transferable, whenever they may have been acquired. Without the input of more members, this club will only go backwards, not forwards as it is perfectly placed to do so.

In Conclusion

Our club remains in a solid position. We have no debt, and some capital reserved for repairs, improvements and developments. Members benefit from a brillaintly talented band of volunteers. But we need your help and support to help this club achieve its potential.

 

Stuart Maher

Great Harwood CC Club Chairman

17th February 2020

Match Report – 2020 AGM – Monday 17th February 2020

AGM Match Report.

Today’s match report comes from The Cliffe on a wet and rainy Monday Evening. You may wonder why we are playing in the dark in February…..well all will become apparent as you read through this report.

As we approach AGM Kick Off…or stumps or whatever the cricket term is…..we manage to pull together just a full squad of 15. I must state at this point this squad of 15 is by far the strongest squad the club has and is made up of individuals of all ages, led by our Chairman Mr Maher.

As the game (AGM) kicks off we get off to an average start as we review the on field performance for last season. This continues as we review the accounts for last season which were lower than our position the season before. Our squad for the evening pull together and rally to produce some positive play, and tactics of how we can continue to improve as a club.

As the 1st innings ends we put ourselves in a strong position as we move into the next innings (next season). Everyone in the squad tonight believe strongly as a club we will come out winners if we pull together as a team.

The moral of this match report (from me your resident match reporter) is that we have a fantastic “small” squad of people that run “Your Club” and without these we wouldn’t have a club. Albeit I appreciate that on a wet and rainy Monday in February that people are too busy to attend an AGM…..but I reach out to you all as “Your Club Needs You”.

We all believe that what our Cricket Club offers is a fantastic set of facilities including cricket but also on the social side….and it doesn’t run itself.

I have personally volunteered to join this great club’s committee to do more to support the running of the club……but don’t fear….you don’t need to do this…..any support, however small, helps us.

Please reach out to support “Your” Great Harwood Cricket Club.

Over and Out

Neil

Support Your Club

If you would like to support Your Great Harwood Cricket Club, let us know.

DM us via facebook or twitter, call us on 01254 884136 or complete our contact us form and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

Note – Chairman’s remarks on the AGM will follow at a later date.

Match Report – 2nd XI vs Milnrow – Away – 4th August 2019

Today we are at Milnrow Cricket Club. It will probably be my last visit to this nice little ground off the M62, off Harbour Lane, as the club have resigned from the Lancashire League and will return to the Manchester league next season I hear.

The club is over 150 years old and has that “Olde Worlde” look about it. Milnrow itself, during the Middle Ages, was one of several hamlets in the township of Butterworth and the parish of Rochdale. The settlement was named by the Anglo-Saxons, but the Norman conquest of England resulted in its ownership by minor Norman families.

Anyway, back to today, as the players arrive. This gives me the opportunity to witness a lovely moment as Paul Houldsworth admires Zain’s well-groomed beard….like a male model.

It’s a warm day….with a few clouds hovering, so hope the predicted thunder showers stay away.

Russ wins the toss and decides to bat first.

Newsflash: there is a Seagull walking round ground with a broken wing and feathers strewn across the ground. Hopefully our “wings” don’t get clipped today……..and we get off to a “fly”er……and the crowds “flock” here later…….and there are no “ducks”…….bored now.

Memory Alert: I recall when our 2s played here last year, it was when Saddleworth Moor fires were taking place, and we watched helicopters carrying water bags….looks a lot better today;

Team news as Milnrow only appear to have 10 players to start the game, albeit reliably advised someone else is coming to make 11…not sure way they said it that this person is an actual cricketer, but we will wait and see.

1st Innings:

Hamza and Zeain to open.

We get off to a steady start as the batsmen weigh up the bowlers for first couple of overs.

Gon on the off for my 1st lap of the day….

Newsflash:- Something not right about this sign….think about it…

2 nice shots for 4 from Hamza. We move our score on to 33-0 off 5. Going at a good pace.

Chance:- Zeain drooped. Score now on 79 off 14 overs.

Thought of the Day: how many laps do players do in a game…..suddenly my thought broken as Wicket:- Zeain stumped. Chris Oddie in at 3. Score 80-1.

A few more exchanges later…..Wicket:- Chris out caught behind. Score now 110-2.

Andy Brown in next. Shot:- 6 from Andy. Score moves 131-2.

New Event Alert:-….as we approach drinks their lads ask if I can help out and do drinks for them….happy to oblige as ever….saying that, never done drinks with a burger before…..no not the foodstuff….Burger Jr (Marcus)😊

Wicket:- Andy Brown out LBW. Score moved on to 153-3. Paul Houldsworth in next.

Score moves on to 193-3.

Wicket:- Hamza caught for 76. Score on 205-4. Russ Whalley at the crease next. Score moves to 233-4 with Russ and Paul playing some nice shots for 4. With 8 overs left…..Wicket:- Russ out caught. 245-5. Ben Rogers in next.

Injury Alert:- Paul retires hurt. Alex Kennedy replaces him. Unfortunately, Wicket:- Alex caught. Marcus Hamer follows. Score 263-6.

As we approach the close of the innings……..Wicket:- Ben bowled. 271-7…and shortly after another Wicket:- Marcus caught 271-8.

Innings closes on 272-8.

Summary:- a good score posted by our lads today and must be up there on total runs scored in games this season. As the players go for their well-earned tea break, I take a nap in the car….this match reporting is hard work…..took me 5 laps of the ground to write this!!

2nd Innings:-

We take to the field hoping to get an early breakthrough…..albeit will have to be quick if we are to manage to get back home to watch our 1sts….sorry too late already!!

Bottom Whiteheads to open from car park end. Steady first over as only a couple of runs scored.

Ste Schofield from clubhouse end…can he continue to bowl consistently well which he has done last couple of games. He does….a few “Oooohs” and “Aaaahs” from Ste as he comes close on a few occasions to take wickets as the batsmen seem to have holes in their bats as cant hit anything from both bowlers.

Breakthrough Wicket:- bowled Ste LBW. 6-1….we are off and running.

Player Alert:- is that Mr Kayley stood behind our keeper Ben….why is he facing other way and wearing a helmet?!

Sigh!!…….Jason left the match report!!

Chance:- dropped off the bowling of Tanny. Milnrow move score to 26-1. Albeit we don’t have to wait long as…..Wicket:- bowled Ste caught behind. Score 32-2.

Another Chance:- dropped Marcus off Ste bowling. Change of bowler:- Marcus Hamer on for Bottom Whiteheads. At the other end another change of bowler as Alex Kennedy on for Ste. We have spinners at both ends now to try and make their batsmen dizzy!

It works……Wicket:- caught Marcus Hamer bowled Alex Kennedy. Score now on 81-3. Good partnership from the 2 young lads.

Another Wicket:- bowled Alex caught Hamza. Score 96-4. The momentum continues as……Wicket:- another bowled by Alex, this time caught Andy with a great diving catch to his right. Score crept up to 116-5.

A few more exchanges follow with some good bowling and cagey batting. One of their batsman who seems to have just one shot in his repertoire….a heave towards cow corner….as he gets a few more runs albeit lucky on more than a few occasions to miss the fielders.

Wicket:- bowled Alex with a great googly. Score now 117-6.

The Milnrow batsmen continue to frustrate both bowlers for the next few overs as the score moves on to 162-6 with only 12 overs left. Looks like the target we set is safe.

As Captain Russ proceeds to bowl out the 2 young spin masters of Marcus and Alex, and as Alex pushes for his first 5fer…destiny isn’t looking too good as there are 4 shots hit in the sir in 4 consecutive balls in Alex’s next 2 overs which aren’t taken (to be fair 3 were more difficult than the other). Not to be as Alex and Marcus complete their overs….the future of our bowling attack is bright…well done both of you.

Change of bowlers as Zeain comes on for Marcus, and Tanny for Alex to close out the innings. Score 188-6 with 6 overs left to play.

Milestone:- 200 up for Milnrow whose players cheer….not sure whether that means anything significant or that they haven’t done that before. This question is resolved as one of their players state “we haven’t scored that in all of our matches combined this season”!

Wicket:- Run out by Ste Schofield with a direct hit. Score now 207-7.

Another Milestone:- Their “One Shot” batsman gets 50. Well played.

Wicket:- bowled Tanny caught Chris. 211-8. Another Wicket:- bowled Tanny. Score 211-9.

Last batsman (the person that turned up late)….can he survive?! Yes…best cheer of day as he defends a hat-trick ball from Tanny.

Final Wicket:- caught behind bowled Zain. Milnrow finish on 213 all out.

Game Summary – a good win for our 2nd team. Only a few mistakes in the field, but a good strong batting performance with stand-out performances from Hamza and Paul. From a bowling perspective there were 2 wickets apiece for Ste and Tanny, and a strong bowling performance from Alex with 4 wickets. Players of Match today go to Hamza and Alex.

Keep tuned in as we host Littleborough at home next week…..

 

Neil Kennedy

De Silva to return in 2020

The Committee of Great Harwood Cricket Club are delighted to announce that we have secured the services of current professional Thikshila ‘Sanka’ De Silva for the 2020 season.

He has already scored 686 runs and taken 34 wickets in all competitions, with just under half of the season to go.

Chairman Stuart Maher remarked:

‘We are delighted to have secured Sanka’s services for next year at such an early stage. It will help us with our ongoing planning and development needs to have him in place for next year and allow us to plan properly throughout the winter.’

‘His attitude has been exceptional since his arrival, and after a slow start has come to terms with the demands of being a league professional in the North West of England.’

‘The example he sets on the field to all players, both seniors and juniors, is testament to what he brings to our club. He is helping push our players to improve their games, and we hope this early announcement will allow Sanka to continue to perform to such a high level for the remainder of this year and the next.

A delighted Sanka is pictured with Club Chairman Stuart Maher after signing his new deal

Match Report – 1st XI vs Bacup CC – Away – Sunday 14th July 2019

Still reeling from how close we came to beating 2nd placed Middleton last week, on Sunday we travelled to fifth placed Bacup.

Bacup

Bacup is a place I’ve only ever been to once before, for a night out with our Treasurer and former captain. This was quite an experience, which involved extremely reasonable alcohol prices, wandering around a large town centre genuinely struggling to find places to drink (they’re all in the hills), and then being sent on a wild goose chase by a local which had us waste an hour looking for a seemingly non-existent venue called Diamond Lights.

My lasting impression of the place, admittedly unfairly, is derived from the first half hour of this evening.  Walking into the first bar, we were met by an Irish band, complete with bodhran, flutes and banjos, playing a cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit.

As I reached the bar, I was warmly embraced by an oddly attired man with boot polish on his face, who believed me to be an old friend called Eric (thankfully not Dave) and wanted to know where I’d been for the last ten years and how the family were. Despite my assertion that I wasn’t the man he thought I was, he was having none of it. We spoke for ten minutes about past adventures I knew nothing about before we went our separate ways. I was later informed he was one of the famous Coconutters 

Anyway, enough of that. The little man and I set off in good time for what would be another new ground for us both. I put TMS on the radio for the World Cup Final (spoiler, we won) and set a course on the sat nav that took us over the back end of nowhere, rolling hills and beautiful scenery. We passed the Singing Ringing Tree, and were dropping down the hill towards Bacup when my phone rang.

 

Hi

Hi

Erm, you’ve left his changing bag here.

There?

Here?

SWEARWORD!!

 

The prospect of finding a supermarket in a town I once spent an hour looking for a pub didn’t appeal, and the chances of the little man getting through a 50 over cricket game without wanting to be fed or changed was slimmer than Australia’s chances of winning the World Cup, so I turned the car round and headed back. He figured this out, and cried all the way.

Try Again

Returning home meant we missed the first half hour of play. The club WhatsApp group had informed me that we were batting. No worries, I thought, we’ll only miss the now customary solid if unspectacular start.

1st Innings

WRONG! I parked up to find us 28-4, with the pro out and Allan and Jack battling to try to help us post something respectable. The little man knew, and cried again.

I acquired liquid refreshment, and set off on a lap to see if he would settle and was struck by how friendly the people were. Almost everyone I walked past said hello, despite me having met only three people before, and many were happy to chat about all things cricket. There were a few characters, and all appeared to carry the same nervous excitement I was feeling as the World Cup final played out in the bar.

As I walked round, Allan clubbed a straight six out of the ground, and into a greenhouse. The homeowner was reportedly distinctly unimpressed, but one of the downsides of living near a cricket ground is that if you own anything smashable and don’t protect it, inevitably it will be smashed.

A quirk of Bacup’s ground is that the player’s changing rooms and viewing area is on the opposite side of the ground to the bar. As I made my way around to the base of the steps, I turned around to see a ground that looked at least 3 times the size it did from the bar.

Middle Order Recovery

Wicket, Allan out bowled by the opposing pro for 23, the score having recovered somewhat to 68-5. Kaz Masood joined Jack and the pair added another 7 before Jack fell for 17. Briggs Joined Kaz, and stuck about whilst the latter played a vital innings, together they continued the good work of Allan and Jack, and the score passed 100 before Briggs holed out for 9. Masood continued to a GHCC best of 35, and with Paul Clifford adding 11, we set a much more competitive looking 141.

Tea

Over tea, the players watched as New Zealand closed their innings, setting England 241 to become champions. Was it enough? Was our score enough? I pointed out to anyone that would listen, that they had come within one wicket of beating a team higher in the table just last week when defending a lower total than that set today. Analysis of Bacup’s performances this season had indicated the bulk of their runs had come from the openers, one in particular, and the professional, Serasinghe, who leads the league for runs scored. If we could get these two out, I felt we had every chance.

2nd Innings

We opened the bowling with professional Thikshila de Silva and chairman Stuart Maher. The Bacup openers looked to get after anything loose and whilst the pace of de Silva troubled them, they found Stuart easier to get away, and raced to 32-0 after just 6 overs. The introduction of Paul Newton by Oddie paid instant dividends, Aaron Fielding skying one in his very first over which was well taken by Maher.

His next over saw us claim the vital wicket of Newbitt, caught by Clifford who seemed to initially misjudge the flight, diving full length to catch a ball that dropped where he had been standing.

De Silva was being heckled, every ball, by one man sat by the sightscreen, shouting NO BALL as he started each and every run up. Think Rob Schneider in Happy Gilmore minus the silly hat and Volkswagen.

Serasinghe, another Sri Lankan and a good friend of our former professional Ashen Silva, was getting himself going however, and with number 4 Collinge (4), he added 24. This was looking ominous for a man with 3 100s already this year, and Bacup were only 80 away from their target.

Game On!

Then, de Silva found a way through, clean bowling him to the absolute delight of the entire team and travelling support. I politely asked his friend if it was a no ball. He didn’t answer.

I lost the next 15 minutes to a particularly difficult car boot nappy change, but when I came out the other side the score was 66-5, Newton had picked up two more wickets, As I set off with the pram again, he took his 5th, our opponents were crumbling.

De Silva then got back into the action, trapping Schofield LBW before bowling Jack Bradford for a second ball duck, and when Newton bowled Ben Lord to claim figures of 6-13 from 7 overs, the writing was on the wall.

All that was left was for de Silva to wrap up the final wicket, bowling Aspinall for a duck and claiming the 12 points for us. No Ball man had disappeared, and Bacup had seen their last 8 wickets fall for just 6 runs.

Summary

An exceptional bowling performance, getting the key batsmen early then building pressure to draw wickets.

Man of the match has to go to Newton, but note must be made to the contributions made by Armer, Hussain and particularly Kaz Masood, for leading a recovery from a poor start and putting us in a position to be able to bowl them out.

Oh, and we won the World Cup too. That was nice.

Next Week

Enfield next week, a team that have struggled recently after a positive start and one that with a few more wins we have a realistic chance of catching. Of course they beat us at their place earlier this year, so we’ll be looking to even the score. Hopefully A.N. Other won’t be turning out for them this time, he was a decent player.

On to the next one.

ALR

Match Report – 2nd XI vs Bacup CC – Sunday 14th July 2019

This week we welcome our visitors Bacup to Cliffe Park for our 2nd team fixture.

An early start today due to the club hosting breakfast prior to the Cricket World Cup Final prior to our game this afternoon. This is enjoyed watching our young Under 9s side. A full day of cricket ahead😊.

Following his healthy breakfast, Paul Houldsworth sets off to roll the wicket in advance of our game.

A big thankyou to our scorer today who has volunteered to support our fixture….following a lack of other volunteers……Mr Rick Law-Riding what would we do without our Rick.

Great Harwood to bat first.

1st Innings:

Hamza and Zain to open

We move the score on to 23-0 off 8 overs. A good steady start to proceedings.

The early exchanges are pretty even on what looks like a difficult wicket again. Saying that we advance to 39-0 off 14 overs. Hamza 24* Zain 8*.

Breakthrough for Bacup……Wicket:- Zain out LBW for 8 runs. Chris Oddie in at 3 who gets straight off the mark with a 4.

Sat on line with the bowler, what proceeds is a 4 “no ball” over from their young bowler whose front foot consistently over line……..hurray…umpire decided to give one eventually

64–1.

Wicket:- Hamza caught on 32. Score on 65-2. Another nice Shot:- 4 from Chris.

Score on 80-2 at drinks.

Headache:- Chirpy lot these….every bowl a claim….they even shout for LBW when it hits the bat. Have the rules changed?! At least their wives get a quiet day whilst they are here….!

Wicket:- Chris out caught. 85-3. Paul Houldsworth in next. Unfortunately for once Paul doesn’t last long…..Wicket:- Paul LBW. 87-4

Andy Brown in next.

Incident:- Andy Brown dives to make his ground….nearly comes up short….luckily, he is a tall chap with long arms. Score now 90-4.

Wicket:- Andy out caught on boundary. 114-5 Russ in next.

Another Wicket:- Joel bowled. 148-6. Alex in next.

Wicket:- Russ bowled. Score has moved to 155-7.

Buck Rogers (from the 21st Century) arrives at the crease….but unfortunately Wicket:- Ben bowled. 155-8. We appear to be in freefall. Ste in next but follows straight away….Wicket:- Ste LBW. 155-9

Finally, Alex run out going for a very dangerous run.

We finish on 159 all out.

2nd Innings:

Ste to open from Dog Otter end. Great first over. Joel Houldsworth to open Scoreboard end.

What proceeds is a number of wickets fall bringing us right back into the game……as follows;

Wicket:- bowled Ste. 4-1

Wicket:- bowled Joel LBW. 6-2

Wicket:-bowled Ste LBW. 12-3

Wicket:- bowled Joel. 26-4

Good spells of bowling from both Ste and Joel…..come on boys we can do this.

Change of bowler as Paul Houldsworth comes on for Joel. At the other end there is also a change as Alex Kennedy for Ste.

Score now on 67-4.

Alex struggles to get consistency so a quick change of bowler, Abid for Alex 103-4.

Wicket:- bowled Paul LBW. 118-4

Bacup batsman gets 50…..well batted.

Fielding:- our fielding isn’t the best with multiple incidents of the ball not sticking and catches missed which is frustrating for the team….and me watching. Another dropped catch.

Catering Alert:- Russ shouts over and ask if I can do drinks…….I shout back “Course I Can….I need to drink watching this”……he didn’t mean that!! I proceed to the cabin to get the players drinks……….multi-tasking at best. “Don’t spill blackcurrant on anyone’s whites!” I tell myself. I am ably assisted by Jean Walker…what a double act.

Score on 125-5.

Remembrance:- As the game kicks off again, and as I sit down to continue watching our fielding…..I notice whose bench I am sat on. Pete Birtwistle’s bench….he was a Great Harwood stalwart through and through following not just Great Harwood Cricket Club but also a fan of Great Harwood Town FC whom I played for, for many years. God Bless you Pete. “Arrod-Ball”.

Wicket:- their batsman run out by Joel. He is smiling…..never thought I would see that in my lifetime!

Change of bowler as Zeain comes on and then Alex again.

Fielding gives Bacup more runs…..150-6. Bacup now only need 10 off 16 overs.

Wicket:- bowled Alex caught Paul in slips. 150-7.

Unfortunately, not enough as game closes with Bacup winning. Game Over.

In summary

It is pretty clear if we give teams 30 – 40 runs in the field we set ourselves a bigger challenge to win games which is disappointing. Difficult one today for my Player of Match…..I could give it to Joel who attempted a catch near the boundary and duly only managed to hit him down below…was funny though.

Albeit it didn’t go well with the bat, I give it to Ste Schofield who bowled really well.

On to next week….

 

Neil Kennedy

Match Report – 3rd XI vs Lowerhouse CC – Cliffe Park – Sunday 7th July 2019

Following a visit to Middleton yesterday with the 2s, I am back at The Cliffe today to report on our 3rd team fixture against Lowerhouse CC.

Team News

Debut today for Lewis Elliot from our u13s side as wicketkeeper. Even better he faces his sister’s boyfriend…….who will get the bragging rights?

We are batting first.

Big thanks again for Umpire Shak for supporting this game.

1st Innings:

Joel Houldsworth and Joel Bentham to open batting.

Early Wicket:- Joel Houldsworth out LBW. Score on 5-1. Alex Kennedy in at 3.

Note to Self:- I just need to time my lap round the ground now but will see which way Joel Houldsworth sets off as his batting performance isn’t going to have made him happy…not that he ever is anyway!!!

Score moves on to 17-1 off 5 overs. I must say the early exchanges of bowling are very hostile (or just terrible bowling) with bouncers and beamers striking Joel Bentham and Alex Kennedy….some bruises tomorrow I think.

Injury Alert

Young girl wicketkeeper goes off for Lowerhouse injured as ball strikes her in the shoulder…the Lowerhouse bowlers even hurting their own players! Hope she is okay as she was stumping very well.

Another injury as Joel Bentham goes off injured after being struck in the hip……it’s like a scene out of the Bodyline Series years ago.

Wicket:- Alex out LBW with score on 45-2. The ball appeared to be going way down leg side but 1 player appealed, and umpire given it. We will never know.

Player News

Good to see the return of Jason Kayley to the team for his first game of the season. Hopefully he can play a “little” part in our success today….a “small” reminder in what he can do….a good “compact” innings….playing some “short” bowling…..to “mid(get)” wicket…..and does get “stumped”.

Right on cue…..Jason plays 2 nice shots for 4 as we move to 50-2.

Score moves quickly on to 74-2 off 19 overs….going okay.

Wicket:- Rhys Holt out caught after some aggressive batting. 92-3. Tom Newton in next

Shot for 6:- Jason hits Scoreboard and breaks the last man number…….only been back a minute and causing problems!

Score moves to 100-3.

Wicket:- Newy bowled LBW for 1. Ishmael in next. Score on 102-4.

Wicket:- Kayley caught and bowled. Well batted Hobbit. Score on 115-4. Joel Bentham back in following his retirement earlier.

Score moves to 144-5. Wicket:- Joel caught mid-wicket. 144-6

Captain Ste in next to keep up the momentum….Wicket:- Ste out caught. Abid in with score on 169-7.

Wicket:- Abid caught. 171-8. Marcus in next to face last couple of overs. He holds his ground.

Innings closes on 191-8.

Decent score of us to defend hopefully on what seems to be a poor wicket. Anyway, same for both sides.

2nd Innings

Ste to open from Scoreboard end.

Abid opens from the Dog and Otter end.

Lowerhouse move to 33 off 10 overs…their 2 batters look set and are being patient.

Change bowler as Fobbit replaces Ste. He batted well, can he get us a few wickets. Yes he can……

Wicket:- bowled Kayley. 44-1.

Wicket:- bowled Kayley LBW. 44-2

Wicket:- bowled Kayley. 44-3

Chance in slips:-….over Kayley’s head….like most things probably.

Another Wicket:- bowled Abid caught Rhys. Score moved on to 49-4.

Change of bowler into the attack as Marcus comes on for Abid who bowled excellently.

Wicket:- bowled Marcus LBW. 57-5

Wicket:- bowled Marcus caught Abid. 61-6

Newsflash

Captain Ste asks Joel to bowl….he gets ready….Kayley then states he has 1 over left to bowl….Joel retreats with a really happy look on his face…hands waving around….has to be Movie Quote time…Return of the Hobbit!

Wicket:- Marcus bowled. 82-7.

Finally, a change of bowler as Joel does come on for Hobbit. We then see the remaining wickets fall as follows;

Wicket:- bowled Joel LBW. 86-8

Wicket:- bowled Marcus LBW 87-9

Wicket:- bowled Joel

88 all out

Summary

Good performance today by the boys…..we batted well to post our score and then terrorised the Lowerhouse batsman with some excellent bowling from Abid, Jason and Marcus backed up by Joel at the end.

 

Player of Match

Difficult one today with some good performances. A close decision as Jason Kayley got 41 runs and bowled figures of 8 overs, 3-20, and Marcus Hamer was 2 not out with the bat, with bowling figures of 6 overs, 4-16.

Looks like Mr Kayley just edges it…albeit he can share this one with Marcus as a “small” gesture😊

On to next week…….

 

Neil Kennedy