Weekend Review – 2022 – Game Week 5 – 14-15 May

Here’s how our senior sides got on last week

Saturday 14th May

3rd XI v Rishton CC – Evolve Document Solutions Cliffe Park

Report by Richard Law-Riding

The 3rd XI got back to winning ways with what turned out to be a comfortable win against what on paper was a strong Rishton 4th XI team.

The weekend off the previous week had given time to think about the two losses over the bank holiday weekend that had stalled a very positive start to the season, and nothing better than a derby against our local rivals to get the team back on track.

A boost in selection had been the option to select Caleb Greenhalgh for a rehab game on return from a serious knee injury suffered in Barbados before the season. Caleb would only bat, and was told to use the game to regain some confidence in the knee and not overdo anything.

One other change was Nathan Sheridan coming into the team at the last minute to keep wicket, replacing the bus driving Chris Oddie.

Captain Richard Law-Riding lost the toss for the first time this season, but it didn’t matter, as Rishton elected ti bat first which is what we were going to ask them to do anyway.

Opening the bowling was Bilaal Zamir, who bowled a very accurate opening spell moving the ball around off the seam, and a returning Zeain Ali, who caused early problems to Rishton’s openers with his left arm spin.

Bilaal got the early wicket of Proctor, who succumbed to the collectors item of a catch by Ammar Malik. Not that it was a particularly special catch, it was the fact he caught it that was the collectors item.

Halleron followed soon after, pulling a ball that Zeain dropped short straight at Bilaal who made the catch look easy. When former GHCC player Clifford was trapped LBW on the back leg by Zeain just after he looked to get going, Rishton were 41/3 and wobbling.

But a swipey 48 from Burondker, and equally aggressive 43 from Rayando Stewart saw Rishton somehow get to a score of 170/9. Ammar Malik the pick of the bowlers with 3/30 from his 8 overs.

At tea we felt that we had let Rishton off the hook, and that they had got 30 or 40 runs more than we should have let them. But we felt we had a good batting side and enough to chase down at just over 4 an over.

Geoff and Hamza opened the batting, and got us off to a steady start, Geoff cutting for 4 before being the first to fall, unluckily getting a leading edge and being caught at midwicket.

This brought in Caleb on return, and it soon became clear that his injury has not greatly affected his ability to bat. After getting used to the pace of the game, Caleb set about Rishton’s bowlers like a fish to water, hitting 10 fours and 4 sixes, including 2 sixes in a row out of the ground off Clifford, on his way to 80 from 61 balls.

Caleb was being ably supported by a frustrated Hamza at the other end who made his way to 37 in a partnership of 113 for the second wicket. Both batsmen would be out caught, only for Andy Brown to come in and whack 36 not out to lead us to the point where our now reputable finisher Dave Holt could yet again hit the winning runs.

An enjoyable 7 wicket win, on a nice day, and we maintain our 100% record against the noisy neighbours in the league this season, with 2 of the 4 games gone.

4th XI v Burnley CC – Away

Report by Allan Armer

So off I went with Gemma, Joseph and a well-stocked picnic hamper, to Burnley CC to watch the Development XI continue their domination in the league.

It was a beautiful day, no clouds in the sky, hottest day of the year (20 + degrees, so too hot for me) and we were looking forward to watching some great cricket. Burnley CC is a decent ground, unfortunately marred by that monstrosity of a football ground…Turd Moor, I think it’s called.

I have no idea who won the toss, however, I deduced only “The Count” would field first in this heat on a rock hard deck!

Fishy (??) and Tommy Newts (??) opened the bowling and immediately put the opening batters under pressure. 2 quick wickets for Fishy in an opening spell of 5-2-7-2 and we were already in the driving seat with Burnley on 13-2. Tommy beat the bat countless times and was very unlucky not to open his acCOUNT (that’s the last wrestling pun). The skipper decided to turn to youth (as opposed to the two 18 year olds that opened the bowling) and invited Billy Armer to bowl. Will’s first two overs were tight, his only bad ball was one of Newy’s specials that pitched half way down the track, was toed and caught by Tommy at midwicket (17-3). Will’s last over was hit for 3 boundaries and he finished with figures of 3-1-17-1.

So many of the lads bowled that it would take me half an hour to write a report on each individual bowler (plus play cricket crashed so I don’t know when the rest of the wickets fell) so here are the figures:

Tommy 7-1-12-1
Shaabaz 4-2-7-1
Marcus 5.2-0-11-1
Kasim 2-0-9-0
Ethan 6-2-7-2
Ishy 4-1-13-1

Oh, and Newy bowled 2 overs and got a wicket (but you probably already know that). Another great victim stumped by the skipper (a kid with 3 ducks in 5 innings and a batting average of 0.8).

Burnley limped to 95 all out (only two batters making double figures).

TEA: good spread, plenty of choice, Umpire Paul Houldsworth calling my 9 year old a soft t**t for not opting for the spicy pasta was the highlight for me.

I asked Will at tea what number he was batting and he said 4. My first remark was that he wouldn’t get a bat. How wrong I was!

Alex and Tommy to open:

Tommy big stride in, inside edge, given out LBW by the home umpire (ridiculous decision), (out for 1).
Alex decided to give midwicket some catching practice (out for 1).
Ishy caught behind (out for 1).
Ethan run out (he still insists it wasn’t his fault but the whole of Burnley heard Will twice shout no and he decided to stand in the middle of the wicket and take on the throw like a game of “chicken”. The ball won! (out for 0)
William hit what I thought was a no ball (I would, I’m his dad!) straight to midwicket (out for 4).

Then enter Kasim and the skipper. They both built their innings very well, Kasim eventually falling for 24.

Siraj came in next and my only comment was “if he stays in for 5 or so overs the game will be over”.

It pretty much was, though took a little longer than 5 overs! He swung and smashed the ball to all parts, he swung and missed quite a few aswell (and apparently took a bit of stick from the Burnley fielders in the process).

Captain Noon out next for a good 24, probably disappointed not to lead his team home.

Shaabaz came in next and batted with patience and responsibility above his years. His 7no and Siraj 29no got us over the line.

And it was a good job because after Marcus, who would surely have been in next, there was no batting to come (see scorecard below).

Another win and another 12 points.

Well done boys!

Saturday 14th May

2nd XI v Todmorden CC – Away

Report by Paul Houldsworth

This weekend saw the 2s make the trip to Todmorden

Making his senior cricketing debut was young Max Cocken, fresh from his Lancashire call and in as a late replacement for Phil Allen.

Having once again ignored Russell’s advice and called tails, I lost the toss and we were bowling first.

Todmorden got off to a decent start before Joel removed both openers again. Tod made steady progress losing an occasional wicket before finishing on 199 for 7, a decent but getable total on a good batting track.

Harwood got off to a good start with Big Shak and Hamza before Shak was out LBW, quickly followed by Hamza cleaned bowled. Thomas didn’t last long so Chris and Jack had to rebuild the innings.

A loose shot saw Jack depart for 14 quickly followed by Russ leaving us 114 for 5, but Chris batted superbly, aided by the skipper to see us home with 7 overs to spare and 10 points; Chris finishing 78 not out

1st XI v Enfield CC – Evolve Document Solutions Cliffe Park

Sunday saw our 1st XI entertain Enfield at the Evolve Document Solutions Cliffe Park.

On arrival at the ground, the forecast rain was nowhere to be seen. Bright sunshine hit the immaculate looking ground as the players warmed up. In to the GHCC side came Kasim Masood, replacing Jake Peake, who tried catching a firmly hit shot at Bacup last week with his ballsack (not recommended) and is recovering. Get well soon Jake.

Enfield included former GHCC players Anthony Steele and Faheem Basharat in their lineup, and had former Church pro Zain Abbas standing in as sub-professional for the day.

We lost the toss and were asked to field first. On a warm day with what looked a belter of a track, I’d imagine we’d have batted too.

We got off to a decent start, Thikshila de Silva first removing Lewis Wright caught behind for 7 and then Jack Cook for 6, but this brought together Abbas and Alfie Cook. The pair of them batted impeccably through the majority of the remainder of the innings. Both reached 100, with Abbas’ ability to find a gap to drop any kind of delivery away for a single, the driving force and a source of much frustration. By the time he was out, caught behind off Ethan Houldsworth for 127, Enfield were 235-3. Cook went on to reach his first Lancashire League 100, and with Yasir Ali took the Enfield total to 300-3.

A large score, but talking to a couple of our players at tea, not one that daunted them (‘On this wicket, if we play well and get a bit of luck, it’s manageable’)

Opening our response would be Alex Kennedy and Ismheel Shakeel. Both coped well with the early overs, perhaps aided by Enfield opting to open with a spinner. Alex was out for 30, the team having made a solid start butting on 49 for the opening wicket.

Matt Oddie moving to bat 3 has been a positive step it seems, as he followed up last week’s 81 with 77 here today and looked as good as ever. Ish was bowled by Jackson for a well earned 18, and Oddie was joined by Thikshila de Silva, the pair building on the start to set about forming a run chase. Having got themselves in, disaster struck as, just as the pair started to open up and play more aggressively, de Silva miscued and was caught remarkably by a running, over the shoulder sliding catch. With the score at 128, the target seemed a long way away.

But we stuck at it, Oddie playing his shots, putting on 35 with Reece Willets (10). The rate was increasing and hit 10 per over required. Reece was out bowled by the returning opening spinner, but Kasir Masood replaced him and was not going to let the innings fizzle out. His 45 came off just 24 balls, including 29 off the same Lewis Wright over. By the time he was out we were 233-5 needing 68 from 8 overs.

But it wasn’t to be. The returning Basharat took the key wicket of Oddie, then Allan Armer, Ethan Houldsworth and Stuart Maher, all who were looking to score quick runs without the chance to get settled.

Kasim Masood and Marcus Hamer held out though, taking our score up to 261-9 and ensuring we came out of the afternoon with a couple of points.

So defeat, but again one with positives. The two Enfield batsmen won the game for them with their respective hundreds, neither giving so much as a chance all afternoon. We made a pretty good attempt at what was always going to be a tough chase, with all batsmen contributing.

Rishton away next week. Looking forward to it.

On to the next one

Vacancy for Ladies Cricket Coach

Great Harwood Cricket Club are currently looking for a coach who is able to support the ladies team with training & supporting events that engage and inspire individuals in order to sustain and grow womens & girls cricket participation within the club.

This is a paid role, with salary commensurate with experience.

The coach would need to be available for Friday evenings and some weekends for matches.

We are looking for a coach with a minimum qualification of ECB Level 2 or equivalent. You must also possess:

  • ECB DBS
  • Current First Aid qualification
  • Current Safeguarding certificate

Please direct all enquiries to our Ladies Cricket Co-ordinator Kelly Hayes on 07585 191313 or Stuart Maher on 07956 042615 or chairman@gtharwoodcc.co.uk

Weekend Review – 2022 – Game Week 2 – 23-24 April

Take me to Church

Came the call from my brother at a quarter to nine

We might even win, and I’ll buy you a pie

 

This week’s match reports cover three games against Church CC, and a 3rd XI trip to Middleton. Here’s how we got on.

Saturday 23 April

3rd XI v Middleton CC – Away

Report by Matt Houldsworth

GHCC travelled to Middleton hoping to continue their unbeaten start to the league season.

It was a nice day but extremely windy summed up by the sight screen tipping backwards in the air, balancing on 2 wheels, before needing to be dragged back down to earth by the players upon arrival. Such conditions may have swayed captain Dickie Law to field first after winning the toss.

After the third ball of the day was expertly dispatched to the boundary off the back foot, some of the fielders questioned if this batter was playing somewhat ‘below’ his usual standard of cricket. An early wicket for Niall Holt then another for Amaar reduced Middleton to 53 for 2. However a 3rd wicket partnership of 111 between Shahid and Woodcock put the scoreboard towards a daunting run chase.

This was further helped by a quickfire 27(no) from Baxter. Middleton ended on 255-5. An excellent knock from Shahid scoring 131 and Woodcock 51. Pick of the bowlers were Niall Holt 1-23 off 6 overs and Sam Newton who bowled very well in his 4 over spell conceding just 11 without reward.

On to the run chase with the reliable Shak opening with Malik looking to get the chase off to a fast start. Unfortunately, runs came steadily but wickets quickly fell leaving GHCC on 59-5. Middleton were looking to wrap this up early.

ENTER GEOFF ALLEN celebrating his 68th birthday.

Shak was still at the crease and although victory seemed unlikely Shak was determined to have a go. Geoff rolled back the years on his ‘2nd home ground’, making the batting look easy, dispatching the bad balls to the boundary at will, much to the frustration of the Middleton bowlers.

As the game reached its latter stages Shak was in the 90s and Geoff the 40s. Although defeat was inevitable could both men reach their century and half century respectively? Geoff got to 45 not out and gave Shak as much strike as possible. The game reached the last ball of the innings. Shak was on 96 not out. Shak hit a cracker of a shot straight down the ground to reach his century. BUT WAIT…. a fielder has decided his life depends on stopping that ball reaching the boundary and sprints 30 yards with a full length dive to stop it on the edge leaving Shak stranded on 97 not out.

GHCC finished on 170-5 with a 6th wicket partnership of 111 between Geoff and Shak. Another fantastic knock from Shak taking him onto 265 runs in 3 knocks.

A batting masterclass from both batters especially Geoff who showed that patience is key when batting and supporting Shak. A reliance on Shak to keep scoring big totals needs to be addressed if we are to have a successful season.

A special mention to Middleton for fantastic facilities, hospitality and being a great set of lads. What 3rd XI cricket should be about.

Double header next weekend for the 3s, entertaining Haslingden on Saturday before travelling to Lowerhouse on Monday.

ARROD BALL

4th XI v Church CC – Evolve Document Solutions Cliffe Park

This week saw Church 3XI visit The Cliffe – only one of two teams to be victors against the dominance last season.

Returning to his rightful throne was Liam Noon, replacing the stand-in skipper and mere hand to Liam, Paul Newton. The team were blessed with Paul’s presence on the side line, with his warm sausage in his pocket (meanly feeding the burnt bits to the dog) and ball in hand, reflecting on his dropped catches from the previous week.

Other changes to the team where Ethan Houldsworth for Joel Houldsworth and the returning Shaabaz Hussain for William Armer, who this week was knocking down pins instead of stumps. I’ll spare you anymore details – into the action …

The toss was won by the home team, electing to field first.

Opening the bowling was Ethan and Siraj ‘Machli’ Ahmed, both bowling well. The first strike came in the forth over, as Fishy skittled the opener. With the score at 14/1 after 8 overs, Ethan was replaced by Kasim ‘Crunchy’ Masood. Crunch took the second wicket in his first over – 14 for 2.

Collectively still bowling well, Kasim struck again in the 17th over, getting the dangerous Rahman out for 11 with a beauty that pitched, straightened and bounced, clipping the bails.

At drinks it was 35/3 and minus a few fielding errors, it was a tremendous 20 overs.

Wickets then began to fall, Ismheel getting the wicket of Barnes, followed by 2 wickets in his first over by Shaabaz – Church 39/6 after 23.

Into the 27th over young Shaabaz struck again, twice – after some good fielding from Ishy – 51-8.

The partnership of Young and Aftab meant the lads had to keep their concentration but it was only a matter of time – am I right!

El Capitano had seen enough, Masood back into the action – innings over in the 38th – all out 94. Crunchy finishing with 4 for 10 off 7.4.

Into the 2nd innings – Alex and Thomas opened the batting.

Young Kenny, not Potter’s Tiger for the Phoenix Knights fans, finishing on an unbeaten 52 and Tommy with an unbeaten 28 did the job. A mature performance with the bat and a much improved fielding display – onto the next.

As you were – Step Dad x

Report by Liam Noon

Sunday 24 April

2nd XI v Church CC – Evolve Document Solutions Cliffe Park

Report by Jason Kayley

It was an afternoon of controversy at Evolve Document Solutions Cliffe Park on Sunday, where decisions came under the microscope as the seconds took on their counterparts from Church.

The hosts were rocked by the very late withdrawal of skipper Paul Houldsworth with a mystery “bug.” Tests were inconclusive although Hobgoblinitis couldn’t be ruled out.

So with the vast weight of the skipper’s experience sat in his car, Jack took the reigns and drafted in Ammar “The Gas Man” Malik to fill the considerable void.

Jack won the toss and put the visitors in and it initially looked a good move with veteran seamer Jason Kayley taking a wicket in the first over, producing a beautiful, late swinging delivery to remove the opener.

But some wayward bowling let Church off the hook and they were racing along until GHCC’s greatest ever captain Paul Newton came into the attack and took a wicket with his first ball, Joel Houldsworth snaffling the catch.

Malik pumped up the gas and got in on the wickets to help stem the flow of runs, before “spinner” Marcus Hamer threw some darts into the heart of the Church batting taking a fantastic 4 for 4 from 5.1 overs to restrict the visitors to 132 when a much higher target looked in the offing.

Kayley, Newton and Malik all took two each.

The reply got off to a sticky start with Christian Oddie was given out LBW to Waqas Ahmed when it looked to be heading down the leg side.

Miles Corish was unlucky to play on in his first innings of the season and Shak suffered a rare failure to the same bowler.

Then a unique interpretation of the leg before rules did for both Russ Whalley and the skipper, drawing the ire of the raucous spectators and leaving the hosts in a heap of trouble.

Thomas Newton batted well for his six but it was Kayley (20) and Houldsworth (13), who had an air of particularly uncharacteristic positivity, who gave the score a sheen a respectability.

The pair put on 28 for the ninth wicket but both fell as the hosts were bowled out for 80, with Extras comfortably the top scorer with 34. Waqas Ahmed finished with six wickets for the visitors.

The twos will hope to get back to winning ways next week when they visit Alexandra Meadows to take on East Lancs.

1st XI v Church CC – Away

We made our annual trip to Church on a Sunday, full of the joys of Spring on a sunny but windy day.

Fielding the same team for a consecutive week, we won the toss and elected to bat first.

We soon found ourselves in trouble, Matt Oddie being adjudged LBW in the first over. Wickets feel at regular intervals and partnerships were few and far between. When Allan Armer was adjudged LBW and shortly afterwards Ethan Houldsworth was adjudged caught in surprising circumstances, we were under the cosh and sadly lost our last wicket having failed to use more than 8 of our allotted 50 overs.

All out for 138 was not the idea after winning the toss. Contributions from Thiki of 26, Reece ‘Bruce’ Willets of 18, and then latterly Allan with 25 and young Ishmeel who batted maturely (and included somehow hitting one of two dangerous full pitched deliveries he received from the same bowler onto the clubhouse roof for 6) before being last man out for 23 were the limited highlights of a disappointing first stanza.

After a particularly light tea at the interval we took the field ready to have a blast at the opposition. After all, when fielding its 11 versus 1 or 2, depending on who is a the crease.

After Sanka dismissed skipper Sam Holt early on (who must have been surprised not to get his customary 50+ at home against us), and after an absolute age Church professional Trivedi was given out LBW, we were in the game.

That wicket sparked us into life for some unknown reason, and suddenly the pressure was on. Tight bowling from Sanky and Kaz was backed up by Maher and Junior, and when opener Fergusson departed having faced 92 balls for an excellent 21, keeping his serenity whilst all around him turned to chaos, the score was 77-5 and we sniffed an unlikely victory to go with our first league point of the season.

But having only given up one tough chance, Bhada and Florentine paced their chase beautifully to see Church home without further loss with 12 balls to spare.

Collectively it was one of our best bowling performances in 2-3 years. Sadly on the day it wasn’t backed up by our batting, and it remains the challenge for our incredibly talented but inexperienced 1st XI to put all parts of our game together in the same game.

It is that consistency we will continue to strive for, and on another day our performance may have earned us many more points.

But this time, we had to settle for 1

Report by Stuart Maher

Weekend Review – 2022 – Game Week 1 – 16-17 April

Following last week’s introductory taster, we went into last weekend with league games for all four senior teams.

Courtesy of some guest reports, here’s how we got on.

Saturday 16 April

3rd XI v Rishton CC – Evolve Document Solutions Cliffe Park

Report by Matt Houldsworth

The 3rd X1 welcomed near neighbours Rishton 3rd X1 for the second time in as many weeks looking to avenge defeat in the Graham Porter Trophy on a lovely, warm day at the Evolve Document Solutions Cliffe Park. Rishton won the toss and elected to field.

This proved to be a costly mistake as the Harwood openers put on 101 for the first wicket; Shak (45) and Hamza (56). Highlights included 2 huge sixes from Hamza with one clearing the clubhouse roof. The next 2 wickets fell quickly as Rishton started to get back into the game. However a patient knock of 50 from Chris Oddie enabled GHCC to accelerate at the end of the innings finishing on 185-7 off 40 overs.

The run chase did not get off to a good start. Some great fielding from Sam Newton resulted in a run out with Rishton on 13. Wickets then fell at regular intervals leaving Rishton struggling on 56-5. Malik in particular  bowling some fantastic slower balls to bamboozle the batsmen (3-23). A spirited knock from Rishton’s Sanderson (51not out) briefly raised hopes of an unlikely run chase until some lightening fielding from young Dave Holt resulted in another run out all but ending any Rishton hopes of victory. Frustratingly for GHCC they could not get the last 2 wickets for the bonus points as Rishton closed on 135-8 off 40 overs.

A great start to the season continues with a trip to Middleton on Saturday.

ARROD BALL

4th XI v Clitheroe CC 4 – Away

Report by Paul Newton

Returning to the ground where the 4ths clinched the 3rd XI title last September, we were without the club’s 2nd most successful captain, Liam Noon, who was incapacitated due to undergoing micro-surgery earlier in the week.  Stepping in to his tiny boots was the club’s most successful captain, Paul Newton, looking to maintain his 100% win record.

After winning the toss and electing to bowl first, Ismheel Shakeel and Siraj Ahmed opened the bowling.  Ishy bowled well, only conceding 5 runs from his 5 overs. Siraj was bowling for wickets at the other end, and after 3 dropped catches he realised he had to bowl at the wickets and cleaned bowled the opener in the 8th over with the score on 27/1.  One of the dropped catch culprits was Thomas Newton who was soon after hit on the knee by a pull shot from the batter he gave a life to and had to leave the field for the rest of the innings.  Joel Houldsworth and Will Armer replaced the opening bowlers and after a couple more dropped catches, Clitheroe progressed the score onto 65/1 after 19 overs.

Looking for wickets, Marcus Hamer was brought into the attack, replacing Will.  After a warm up that can only be described as trying to impersonate the cat in a Chinese chippy, Marcus took a wicket in his second over with one that managed to stick in wicket keeper Lewis Elliott’s gloves.  Marcus had a caught and bowled in his 3rd over to leave Clitheroe on 75/3 after 24 overs.

Kasim Masood replaced Joel after his 8 over spell and had an LBW in his 2nd over and bowled another in his 3rd over and the score had moved on to 105/5 after 31 overs.  With 9 overs left to attempt to take the last 5 wickets to secure the bowling points, the captain brought himself on to bowl, replacing Marcus.  The guru was straight into the action with a 2nd ball wicket and also picked up the wickets of 2 Lancashire players in his 2nd over.  Kasim picked up another wicket before the skipper took the final wicket in the 37 over to finish with figures of 4/3 off 3.5 overs.  The Clitheroe innings finished on 112 all out.

Regular opener Thomas was still nursing his knee, so Lewis Elliott was promoted to open the innings with Alex Kennedy.  Clitheroe’s opening bowler, perhaps surprised that the ball now bounces over ankle height at his home ground, attempted to bounce Alex out, but he was more than up for the battle and put him away for three 4s in the first over.  Lewis was out caught in the 3rd over and was replaced by Dave Wilson.  Dave lasted until the 9th over when he was also caught with the score on 31/2.  Joel was batting well and scoring at more than a run a ball (24 off 22) when Alex decided to claim his first run out victim of the season.  Joel obviously took this well and was heard encouraging Alex to continue his fine innings on his lap around the ground.

Last week’s batting hero Ismheel replaced Joel, but was out in the next over after hitting a short ball straight to square leg.  The score was 71/4 in the 18th over and Siraj came out next to bat.  Both players made light work of the run chase and rotated the strike and knocked of a few boundaries, with Siraj hitting the only 6 of the day from a clean straight drive. With only 2 left to win and 3 required for his 50, Alex turned down a couple of easy runs waiting for a boundary ball to be delivered.  This came on the last ball of the 26th over with Alex hitting a 4 down to mid-wicket to bring up his 50 and win the game and in doing so, maintained the captain’s 100% winning record (2 wins from 2 games, and counting).

Sunday 17 April

2nd XI v Middleton CC – Away

Report by Paul Houldsworth

Our 2nd team lost the toss against Middleton calling tails going against Russell’s advice.

Middleton decided to bowl first so Harwood opened with Big Shak and Ziggy,  but Ziggy was out early clean bowled closely followed by Coddie chipping one up to cover.

In came Buddha and he soon lost Big Shak caught at slip. In came Jack and we were going along ok until Buddha dragged one on.

This brought club legend Paul Houldsworth in to bat, who proceeded with Jack to put on over 180 runs for the 6th wicket until old fart Houldsworth ran out of steam and was caught behind for 81

Jack went on complete his hundred and Harwood finished on 252

…some inconsistent bowling by Harwood got Middleton off to a decent start until the stunted one cleaned their opener up and their other opener out caught by unbelievable dolly by the skipper.

Middleton continued to keep up with the run rate but lost wickets at regular intervals mainly to club legend Paul ‘guru’ Newton who finished with 4 fer.

Marcus and Ziggy kept it tight and picked up wickets and it was left to Joel ‘moaner’ Houldsworth to wrap it up and give Harwood 12 points

1st XI v Crompton CC – Evolve Document Solutions Cliffe Park

I love cricket season. Even when you’re no longer playing, the anticipation you get ahead of a new season takes some beating, and even the prospect of facing newly-relegated, heavily-strengthened and in many eyes title favourites Crompton couldn’t shake the positivity.

We welcomed club professional Thikshila de Silva back ahead of the new season, and having won the toss and decided to bowl first, he almost had an immediate impact. The very first ball of the new season, he was convinced he had one of Crompton’s big new signings, Hooson, trapped LBW. Not given.

Unfazed, he followed up later in the over bowling the other Crompton opener Parker.

When Kasir Masood followed up with the wicket of Harry Dean, the score was 14-2 and we were on top.

However this brought together professional Mohammed Jamal with former Walsden opener Hooson, and they put on 146, building the foundation of the Crompton innings.

Jamal fell just short of 50, caught by de Silva off the bowling of young Ismheel Shakeel, but Hooson passed 50 before being bowled by Kasir Masood for 75.

Crompton Captain Dennis Louis and another of their new signings Hassan Fazal added late runs, and Crompton closed on 230-5.

Our response got off to a reasonable start, Alex Kennedy and Matt Oddie combining for 26 runs before Matt fell, bowled by another new Crompton signing, former Friarmere overseas player Jaime King.

Kasir Masood fell soon after, with the score on 29, but Alex continued to accumulate, and joined by de Silva they took the score past 50.

Both then fell to King in quick succession, and Ish became his fourth victim soon after, the score moving from 52-2 to 60-5 and the odds firmly in Crompton’s favour.

Reece Willets and Allan Armer counter-punched however, adding 52 for the 6th wicket, and with King having bowled his allocation of 15 straight overs, the question was would Crompton have anything left.

Muhammad Zuhaib bowled Reece, before Allan was run out, top scoring with 30.

Hooson’s spin then saw to the remaining three batsmen. GHCC all out for 151.

A strange game to watch really. Great Harwood in the end well beaten, but not until a very late stage really looking out of it. Despite recording a point-free start to the season, there were positives to take from this performance, perhaps most pressingly that we faced possibly the strongest side we will come up against this year and they looked… beatable. Had a couple of decisions or close calls gone our way, it could have been a very different game.

Another tough task faces us next week as we travel to last year’s 4th placed Church CC.

On to the next one.

Weekend Review 2022 – The Season Begins – 9-10 April 2022

And we’re back

A new season is upon us, as we closed our friendly preparation on Saturday with a defeat to our friends from Earby, whilst our 3rd and 4th XI started their Lancashire League seasons proper with two excellent victories.

Saturday 9th April

Friendly vs Earby CC – Evolve Document Solutions Cliffe Park

Saturday saw us welcome Earby to the Evolve Document Solutions Cliffe Park for what would be our final opportunity to get some in game practice in ahead of the season.

Following a week in which wind and rain had threatened to scupper any plans for friendly games, we were delighted to see the sun come out on Saturday morning as if to say here you go, have a cricket season.

The ground looks in great shape, thanks to the fine work of John Seedle and Mick Deasey over the winter, and with the toss done and ourselves set to bat first, we were away.

GHCC found the conditions difficult, and battled our way to 121-7 from our 45 overs. Ismheel Shakeel top scoring with a battling 46*. The pick of our opponents bowling was Luke Hipgrave, who took 2-9 from his 9 overs, ,and Chris Walton (2-17)

In response, we started well, wickets for Kasir Masood and Paul Newton reducing Earby to 41-4, but a partnership of 75 between Craig Walton (25*) and Luke Hipgrave (47) took the game away from us and despite a late wicket for young spinner Kasim Masood, our opponents got home for the loss of 5 wickets.

A good workout and excellent preparation ahead of Easter Sunday’s season opener at home against division 2 title favourites Crompton.

Thanks and well played to Earby, who we wish well for their upcoming Ribblesdale League season.

Sunday 10th April

3rd XI vs Crompton CC – Away – JW Lees Lancashire League 3rd XI Division 2

So our 3rd XI travelled to Crompton as the 2022 season got underway. Bolstered by the returning legends Geoff Allen and Lee Dobson, the average age of the team increased almost as much as the talent on show. Captain Richard Law-Riding, recovering from recent surgery, had decided the previous evening that he wasn’t quite ready to take the reigns and so Matt Oddie stepped in to captain the side for the day.

Having elected to bat, Hamza Qayoom strode out with Muhammad Shakeel to get the season underway. ‘Big Shak’ had proudly watched his son Ismheel shine the previous day and was clearly in the mood to reassert himself as the best player in his family.

Having survived an early scare (a huge appeal for caught behind not given by the Crompton umpire), Shak clobbered the opposition attack everywhere.

Hamza at the other end went about his day, accumulating runs whenever Shak wanted a rest. Together they put on 136 for the first wicket before Hamza fell for a fine 53.

Zeain Ali came in at three, but was bowled by Dhanyal Javed for 4, meaning Chris Oddie joined Shak as he neared 100.

Chris found run scoring light work, hitting three sixes on his way to 49*, and Lee Dobson (27*) latterly joined him to close out the innings. But the day belonged to Muhammad Shakeel, who hit 123 from just 112 deliveries, with 17  fours and a six. GHCC closed our 40 overs on a remarkable 260-3.

Crompton needed a flying start to have any chance of chasing down our total, but Jason Kayley was in no mood to allow this. Opening the bowling with young Aniq Hussain, his opening six overs returned 2 wickets for just 4 runs, one solitary boundary in a field of tiny little dots.

Both openers were replaced and Ammar Malik and Amaar Ali (1-18) set about their middle order. Ammar Malik recorded figures of 3-27 from his 7 overs, and by the time Zeain Ali took 2 wickets, Crompton were 82-8.

A battling performance however from Benjamin Clegg (35*) and Theo Wright (2*) frustrated Great Harwood in our attempts to close out the game, and despite Muhammad Shakeel taking the late wicket of Clegg, Crompton held out at 119-9.

This was Shak’s day, a magnificent 100 took the game away from our opponents and they were unable to get close to chasing the target. Ten points to start the season, we’ll put them in the bag and move on.

Rishton at home next week.

Scorecard

4th XI vs Walsden CC – Evolve Document Solutions Cliffe Park – JW Lees Lancashire League 3rd XI Division 1

Our all conquering 4th XI also began the season on Sunday, welcoming Walsden CC’s 3rd XI to Evolve Document Solutions Cliffe Park.

For those unaware (who have been on Mars, in a cave, with their eyes shut and their fingers in their ears), our 4th XI was introduced last year, as a means for our best junior players to gain experience in senior cricket. Captained by Liam Noon, they exceeded all expectations, winning the Lancashire League 3rd XI Division Championship.

At the end of the previous season the final placings, determined via post season play-offs, were used to create three divisions for this year. As champions our 4th XI would participate in Division 1, against the 8 other strongest teams.

So Sunday’s game represented the commencement of their title defence. Remarkably only one of those who played regularly last year is no longer a junior cricketer, So the team remained largely similar, but availability gave the opportunity to 13 year old William Armer, who following impressive friendly performances in previous weeks, came in for his senior cricket debut

Bowling first, we opened with Ismheel Shakeel and Siraj Ahmed. Walsden opener Leon Bailey liked the look of both, and got off to a flyer, smashing four 4s and a six in racing to 27 from just 17 deliveries.

In the 3rd over, Shakeel struck twice. First he bowled Ollie Davidson, then next ball had Logan Greenwood trapped LBW.

Not to be outdone, Siraj followed up in the 6th over with two of his own. First he took the big wicket of Bailey, who hit one big shot too many and was smartly caught by a running Paul Newton. Then the very next ball, he bowled Jack Halstead.

Six overs into the new season, and we’d seen 5 fours, a six and two missed hat-trick opportunities.

From this point, the Walsden innings was propped up by Mubasher Khan. He batted magnificently, ably supported by captain Chris Lord (17) in a fifth wicket partnership of 68.

Though Lord fell to Kasim Masood, Khan continued, eventually being the last man out, caught on the edge for 79. Walsden all out for 138.

After tea, we set about chasing down the target. Tom Newton and Alex Kennedy did a great job of nullifying an impressive Walsden bowling attack, and they built a steady partnership, which reached 34 before Tom misjudged a pull shot and was bowled.

Alex followed soon after, as did William Armer, bowled by spinner Shakir Hussain, leaving GHCC 38-3 before David Wilson and Ismheel Shakeel set about rebuilding the innings.

David was trapped LBW for 9 with the score at 48, but Ismheel, ably supported by Kasim Masood (15) then put on 47 for the 5th wicket

Ismheel was closing in on 50, but the required rate was creeping up, and when Kasim was bowled by Lockwood we still required 44 to win, with just over 6 overs remaining.

Siraj Ahmed (11) joined him, and played a fine supporting role. When Ismheel reached 50 in the 38th over, we still needed 21 from just 17 deliveries.

You can see Ismheel go to 50 here

From this point, you could imagine the pressure may get to young players. And yet Ismheel and Siraj remained calm, finding gaps and picking the right balls to attack.

Even when Walsden returned to their outstanding opening bowler Mubasher Khan for the 39th over there was no sense of danger. Singles were picked and both batsmen displayed a confidence that they could get the job done.

Needing 5 to win off the last over, Ismheel twice targeted long on, who was on the edge meaning with the pace the ball was hit the batsmen could get back for two. And with the scores level, the understanding between the two to enable Ismheel to drop his hands on one to push it softly out to cover and scamper through for a comfortable single displayed a level of game management knowledge far beyond their years.

GHCC win – with one ball to spare. Ismheel following up his 46* on Saturday with a match-winning 63*.

Scorecard

With the priority of this team being to develop our top Hawks Academy players, the only expectations of them relate to the effort they give when they step onto the field.  We know that at times they will come up short and that’s all part of their development, however  Sunday wasn’t to be one such day.

We know we have a talented group of young players, and a quality pool of younger players ready to step in when an opportunity arises. They could finish anywhere in this league, but this was a hugely positive start.

Next week they travel to Clitheroe on Easter Saturday. This will present a real challenge given Clitheroe had the 2nd and 3rd strongest sides in the division in 2021.

On to the next one.

Former Player’s Day 2021 – 22nd August 2021

Great Harwood CC are delighted to announce that we shall be holding a special Former Players Day during our 1stXI home game versus East Lancashire CC on Sunday 22nd August 2021.

We hope to have a special day to pay tribute to the many players who have helped make the club what it is today.

Anyone who has played for the club at any level over the years is invited to attend on the day.

We have no doubt the event will prompt much reminiscing, recollection and great memories, and hopefully some entertaining cricket to lives up to the billing of ‘it were tougher when I played’.

If you are able to attend, please send a short note to chairman@gtharwoodcc.co.uk so that we can reserve sufficient space in prime viewing spots on our balconies.

Notice of (delayed) 2021 AGM

Following the relaxation of national restrictions, we are now in a position to hold our postponed 2021 AGM.

Members are hereby given notice that our 2021 AGM will take place on Tuesday 17th August 2021 commencing at 8.30 p.m. in our clubhouse.

The delayed start is intended to give opportunity for playing members (engaged in practice sessions) and bowling section members (engaged in league fixtures) the opportunity to attend the meeting in full.

We hope all members will be able to join us to review what has been a remarkable last 18 months and hear our plans for 2022 and beyond.

If you require a copy of the agenda or a copy of the club’s annual accounts in advance of the meeting, please contact us: chairman@gtharwoodcc.co.uk or secretary@gtharwoodcc.co.uk

Any members who have business to be moved at the meeting should give notice to the Club Secretary within 14 days of the meeting in accordance with our Club’s Constitution.

Club Membership 2021

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Dear members, players, supporters and friends.

Thank you to all of you who have already renewed your membership for the 2021 season, which began last week.

Ahead of our first 1st XI home game this Sunday, I would usually be looking forward to meeting with many of you at Cliffe Park as our teams take to the field for a new season, however whilst we can hopefully look forward to this later in the season, the club are not currently allowed to invite spectators to watch our games.

Club members are, however, currently able to visit to use our hospitality areas, providing strict conditions (detailed in previous posts) are adhered to.

I felt therefore, I should write to update you on some of the steps we have taken through the winter and provide details of this years’ club membership.

Following what has been an incredibly difficult year for everybody, we are delighted that Lancashire League Cricket is set to return for what hopefully will be a full and uninterrupted season. Firstly I wish to put on record our thanks to each and every one of you who renewed your memberships last year without knowing whether there would be any cricket to watch at all. You really have helped us survive.

Our committee have been busy guiding the club through the pandemic, but have also worked hard to progress our development plans through this time. I’d like to briefly take you through some developments

Thikshila de Silva returns as professional for 2021. Despite Covid restrictions presenting difficulties, we are delighted to have Thikshila return for the coming season. He’s arrived, has come through his entry shielding and started well last week, hitting a tremendous 123* away at Nelson, despite us ultimately falling short.

Hawks Cricket Academy. We’ve taken the step to formalise our junior cricket offering under an academy structure, which will help our vision to identify and develop young talent, helping young cricketers to develop their skills, attitude and create a cricket culture that will enable them to develop into District and County cricketers. Paul Newton has been appointed to the lead role of Hawks Academy Manager, working alongside Mick Deasey, who will continue to support him in the role

Development 4th XI. We enter the 2021 season with four senior mens teams. Our 4th XI will be led by Liam Noon and comprise a development XI, helping our best young cricketers gain the experience and game time needed to become the best they can be. They will compete in Lancashire League 3rd XI Division Group A.

Cliffe Park has a new name for 2021 as we are delighted to have arranged a ground sponsorship agreement with Evolve Document Solutions. The partnership will see the ground renamed as “The Evolve Document Solutions Cliffe Park”.

Lead Club Sponsors – The Philip Maher Foundation. Everyone at Great Harwood Cricket Club are thrilled that the club is in a position, for the first time in our long history, to have a local charity as our Lead Club ‘Sponsors’ for 2021-22. The Philip Maher Foundation will appear on our match day kit and training wear for 2021-22, in an effort to support the work of the charity as opposed to seeking to secure an income from such an arrangement as would usually be the case.

Bar Opening – Current Rules – At the time of writing, we are unable to welcome supporters to our club to watch games, but club members can attend to use our hospitality section. There are some strict conditions to this, detailed here, along with our opening times for the week ahead on our homepage please familiarise yourself with these conditions prior to attending.

Membership Subscriptions 2021

Playing Members

Men’s Playing Membership

  • Opt 1   £75 plus £7 match fee
  • Opt 2   £150 (no match fees)

Ladies Playing Membership         £30

Junior Players

  • U10-U18                                  £45
  • Up to and including U9       £35

Advance match fees for juniors playing senior cricket     £50

Non-Playing Members

  • Ground Member                  £30
  • Ground Member (conc)     £20
  • Social Member                     £15
  • Family Membership           £50

(plus £25 per junior player for junior match fees)

  • Patrons – by arrangement
  • Donations – we would always welcome any donations from existing and new members

Ways To Pay

Bank Transfer

Sort Code:         20-09-72

Account No:       93078418

Please include your name as the reference so we can allocate it

By Post

By cheque made out to

Great Harwood Cricket Club

Thank you in advance for your continued support. Keep safe and look after yourselves, and I hope to see you all at some point this summer at The Evolve Document Solutions Cliffe Park.

Kind regards

Andrew

The View from the Balconies

We had intended that these messages would be a little more regular than we have achieved so far, but the rapid pace of change of government, council and ECB guidance on multiple aspects of the operations of our club, coupled with the usual increased workload to have the cricket facilities ready for the season ahead, has prevented finding time to do so.

We are delighted to be in a position to welcome some members and guests back to GHCC this weekend in our newly-formed hospitality zone around the clubhouse, patios and balcony areas. The Committee and staff have worked tirelessly to prepare for our re-opening in a safe manner, and we hope to see many of you over the coming days and weeks.

Full details of the – admittedly complex – arrangements for our re-opening can be found here.

Turning to the cricket side, it’s been quite a busy month to say the least. The pro Thikshila has arrived and has completed his expedited quarantine and trained with the senior men’s squads on Thursday, before assisting with the Hawks Academy practice night yesterday evening.

It’s great to have him back with us for the season. It does give the whole club a lift to have a player of his international quality amongst our ranks, and I am sure you will join me in wishing him well ahead of the season and the first 1stXI fixture of the season tomorrow

Special thanks must go to Shirley & Malcolm for their tireless efforts in furnishing and preparing his accommodation prior to his arrival.

Our ground and facilities are in fine fettle ahead of the season. Mick & John together with Nathan have for us ready for the season, and after some significant investment from the club and from sponsors we feel we are in a good place with our facilities, coming out of an unprecedented pandemic as we are.

Do take the time to come and visit and see what we have done with the place. COVID-19 restrictions have meant we have needed to adapt our cricket operations too, and sadly spectators are not permitted at the ground unless they are seated within and attending to use our hospitality zones.

We hope the governments Roadmap remains on track which should see spectators return from mid-May, as well as the reopening of changing facilities and our clubhouse itself.

We have however invested further and hope to have all our senior matches streamed live online for the season ahead. Stay tuned to our website and social media feeds for details of how to access the matches online.

Work has also commenced on preparing facilities for our bowling section, although sadly their governing body and associated rules and regulations will delay the recommencement of their competitive leagues. The green is coming back to the condition we expect to provide at GHCC and lots of hard work has gone in within that section to get things ready for the safe return of bowls once they get the green light from the BCGBA.

So much more has been achieved, too much to remember to report here. It really has to be seen to be believed. We do hope you will visit us soon.

Looking back at the to do list we set ourselves at the start of the year, possibly with one eye on the likelihood of our season being delayed due to the pandemic, we set ourselves an ambitious development plan. Remarkably we seem to have achieved everything we set out to do in that shortened period of time. Thanks must got to the committee and all volunteers who really have worked miracles fitting in the demands of running a cricket club into their busy personal, work and family lives.

Never have the demands on cricket and club administrators and volunteers been so high. Our commmunities should be thankful we are lucky to have such brilliant people involved and entrusted with the future of our club, as well as the here and now.

Here’s to a long, dry and hot summer ahead.

Looking back at the to do list we set ourselves at the start of the year, possibly with one eye on the likelihood of our season being delayed due to the pandemic, we set ourselves an ambitious development plan. Remarkably we seem to have achieved everything we set out to do in that shortened period of time. Thanks must got to the committee and all volunteers who really have worked miracles fitting in the demands of running a cricket club into their busy personal, work and family lives.

Never have the demands on cricket and club administrators and volunteers been so high. Our communities should be thankful we are lucky to have such brilliant people involved and entrusted with the future of our club, as well as the here and now.

Here’s to a long, dry and hot summer ahead.

Announcing our new lead club partners, The Philip Maher Foundation

Everyone at Great Harwood Cricket Club are thrilled that the club is in a position, for the first time in our long history, to have a local charity as our Lead Club ‘Sponsors’ for 2021-22

The Philip Maher Foundation are our Lead Club Partners for the coming season, as the club has taken the unprecedented step of supporting a local charity as our headline supporter. The charity will appear on our match day kit and training wear for 2021-22, in an effort to support the work of the charity as opposed to seeking to secure an income from such an arrangement as would usually be the case.

Both the Club and the Charity wish to make it perfectly clear that the Charity are not providing any funds to the Club within this arrangement. Every penny the charity raises is put back into our local communities via the installation of community defibrillators, renewing existing equipment which passes its expiry date, and training volunteers in their use.

Being the site of the 1st of the 21 defibrillators the charity has helped to install so far, we are proud to support their continuing work, which has seen our cricket colleagues at Rishton, Lowerhouse, Salesbury, Whalley, Oswaldtwistle Immanuel, Enfield, Padiham & Baxenden supported with secure cabinets and/or defibrillators.

When the pandemic hit us all, it was no surprise to us to see so many of our members join up to volunteer with Hyndburn Hub. Our club is full of wonderful human beings, who always do their best to support those in need, as well as our club. It is their generosity, both in terms of their time and their significant financial support, which has enabled the committee and the club to navigate our way through the most difficult period in our history.

This is an ethos which permeates throughout our club and its members, and we are delighted to be in the position where we can for the first time use our profile as a local sports club and community hub to support the profile of a local charity, and to help them raise money over the next 12 months through a number of events.

The Philip Maher Foundation branding will appear on our senior weekend match kit, and on our men’s T20 and ladies team kits. Additionally, training kit and casual wear will also bear the charity’s name as we look to help them continue their work and provide more defibrillators to local communities.

The Committee of the club has worked tirelessly over the past 12 months throughout the pandemic, and have made great strides in developing key facilities at the club. We are very proud of the facilities we have created.

We hope to see so many of you through the coming months as we emerge from this pandemic.

We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with what you find, on and off the field.

Launch of our Hawks Cricket Academy

We are delighted to add to our thriving junior cricket offering at Great Harwood Cricket Club by formally launching our Hawks Cricket Academy for 2021 and beyond.

Our junior cricket section is already thriving, with teams at Under9s, Under 11s, under 13s, Under 15s and Under 18s in the top divisions of the Lancashire Junior League. We also host a successful All Stars Cricket programme for 5-8 year olds, and will this year host a Dynamos course for 8-11 year olds for those newer to the sport.

The move to a formal Academy structure will help our club with our vision to identify and develop young talent, helping young cricketers to develop their skills, attitude and create a cricket culture that will enable them to develop into District and County cricketers.

Paul Newton takes over as Junior Cricket Co-ordinator

Our junior set-up goes from strength to strength every year, and we are also delighted to announce the appointment of Paul Newton to the lead role of junior cricket co-ordinator. He will work alongside Mick Deasey who will continue to support him in the role.

The Professional British Butler School sponsors the Great Harwood Hawks Cricket Academy

We are also delighted to have on board The Professional British Butler School as our lead academy sponsor for 2021. Wayne and his team are very passionate about the development of people in their work, and supporting the development of our junior cricketers sits hand in hand with their ethos of developing young people.

The Managing Director of The Professional British Butler School, Wayne Fitzharris, commented:

‘We’re delighted to support Great Harwood Hawks for the next 5 years and hopefully beyond. We are proud to be investing in the future of the club and our town. Kids deserve great life coaches and I’ve been amazed at how much effort our coaches put in.’

Club Chairman Stuart Maher commented: ‘We are incredibly grateful to Wayne and his team for his long-term commitment to support the growth of our Hawks Cricket Academy. Our already succesful junior teams will only go from strength to strength with continued investment in facilities, equipment and coaching.

‘Everyone at the club looks forward to working together to continue our sporting and personal development of our boys and girls.’