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

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.

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

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

Match Report – 1st XI vs Middleton CC – Cliffe Park – Saturday 6th July 2019

A rare Saturday game for our 1st XI this week. Worsley Cup games taking place on the Sunday meant we were straight back at it following a fine victory over East Lancs last week.

 

Middleton would be the opponents this week. The reversal of the opening day fixture as we move into the second half of the season. We would be hoping for a reversal in outcome too, as we fell short on opening day.

On arrival at the Cliffe, there was already a group of Middleton support in attendance, having arrived on a minibus at the same time as the players.

Preview

Into our team came Kaz Masood and Ben Rogers, who would keep wicket on his first XI debut. They took the places of Stuart Maher and Allan Armer.

 

Batting first, Zeain would be Matt’s opening partner today. 

1st Innings

We got off to, in what is becoming a welcome familiar pattern, a solid if unspectacular start, both batsmen adjusting to the conditions and picking up ones and twos wherever possible. Zeain fell to a run out whilst I was changing the little man’s nappy, so I can’t comment other than to say I probably wasn’t the only one feeling a little poo.

 

This brought professional de Silva to the crease and he and Oddie continued to work the ball into gaps on what had become apparent was a difficult surface. Oddie fell with the score on 33, very soon after followed by de Silva, LBW to a ball that appeared to hit him waist high. He’s not the tallest, but his incredulity at the decision suggested it may have been a little high.

 

Ethan Houldsworth and Kaz Masood set to rebuild the innings, and took us to 50 before Kaz fell, caught of the Middleton spinner. Jack replaced him, and went soon after, picking his spot to despatch a loopy full toss – and melting it straight at the midwicket fielder, who clung on.

 

Ethan was next to go, for a very measured and important 44 ball 14, and this brought together the father and son combination of Briggsy and Cockney

They helped us to 74, before Briggs fell, another loose shot trying to pick up the rate helping the spinner Highton to his third wicket. Newton went for a 19 ball duck, before Clifford was adjudged caught behind in another contentious decision. 87-9

An assured rearguard resistance from the increasingly impressive Faheem Basharat and debutant Rogers saw us pass 100, and close without being bowled out, 102-9

Tea

The tea break saw an opportunity for me to nip home and pick up my partner and six year old daughter, who were both to attend their first game since the birth of the little man. As I picked them up, I told them we hadn’t scored many runs, but it looked like there might be enough in the wicket for us to get at them, and if we could do so early, we might have a chance. They both looked at me blankly, smiled, and asked if I’d had fun. I assured them I had.

2nd Innings

We’d missed a little of the second innings by the time we returned to the ground. Middleton were 36-1, the wicket to fall a stumping by Ben off the bowling of Paul Newton. Nevertheless, it looked as though our opponents were making short work of the target.

As we made it to the balcony…. Bosh! Wicket, stumps flying everywhere. Sanka had cleaned up number three Tierney, 36-2. In came another Tierney whilst the professional Williams was going about his business quietly at the other end.

Helmet strike – the ball beating the batsman, wicketkeeper and hitting the helmet stored behind him. Five penalty runs, not great given the low total, but probably only cost us one more than had it mot been there.

Anyway, the score had moved on to 48, this would be a great time to pick up a wicket. Newton in, bowls, and Williams smashes it straight to de Silva at cover. 48-3.

Bosh! Wicket, stumps flying everywhere. Sanka had cleaned up number four Tierney, 48-4, game on!!

Middleton Rebuild

Dempster and Shahid dug in, and rebuilded for Middleton, taking the score to 62 before the former hit Newton upwards and Jack made no mistake.

Bosh! Wicket, stumps flying everywhere. Sanka had cleaned up number six Rutter, 64-6.

Shahid continued unabated, assisted by Reece Jones, and as de Silva and Newton completed their over allocations, it looked as though they’d done enough to see our opponents home.

Kaz Masood replaced Newton and struck immediately. Shahid picked out Briggs who juggled for an age before holding on. When Masood bowled Royle two balls later, we appeared in the ascendancy, 10 runs required, two wickets left.

5 wides didn’t help at this stage, then… Masood in, flick off the legs, and a full length dive from Rogers down the legside that, from the reaction of all of our players, he could only have been inches away from taking.

What could have been a magnificent catch wasn’t, it was 4 runs, levelling the scores.

Scores Level

Faheem into the attack. Wicket  LBW!! Even at this late stage there was still fight. Middleton 9 down, and with the last man Highton facing every GHCC player was ready, waiting for a chance.

 

Left alone – Dot

Swing and a miss – Dot

Solid forward defence – Dot

Swing and a miss – Dot

….. WIDE

 

We lost on a wide. A wide that every player in a suitable position to view, including an extensive cordon and reportedly the two batsmen, were convinced was not a wide.

Summary

The game ended therefore in somewhat bizarre circumstances, but well done to Middleton on their win. Very well deserved requiring them to dig very deep. Our team can take pride in a battling performance, one that almost saw us overcome a team that is pushing Colne at the top of the table. We take 5 points from the game, 5 more than we picked up on the opening day.

Just as positive: My partner enjoyed the game and my 6 year old, who has shown no interest when I’ve brought her before, left asking if she could not only come again, but whether she could play. I’ll take her to junior training next week provided she hasn’t moved on to something else like unicorns or crisps by then.

One final note to mention the Middleton support, who were friendly, approachable and a credit to their club all afternoon. We’ll see you again soon.

Next Week

Bacup away next week, who beat us by 30 runs at the Cliffe earlier this year. Me and the little man will be up there to report on what will be our first trip to Lanehead. I’m told it’s colder than Baxenden. Better wrap up.

On to the next one

 

ALR

Match Report – 2nd XI vs Middleton CC – Away – Saturday 6th July 2019

Roving Reporter Neil Kennedy again….following a weekend off supporting Great Harwood Cricket Club’s Beer festival which I am pleased to say was a great success for the club…..not necessarily my liver!

On arrival at the ground, it appears we are going to have good weather so looking forward to a good game. The picturesque ground named Towncroft is one of my favourites that I have visited, and Middleton have played on this ground since the early 20th century so has some history.

As I tuck into my lunch, Marcus turns up for the game dropping his takeaway in the bin next to the ground (no frugal advertising in these reports but from a well known American Fast Food outlet known as the Golden Arches)….no wonder he is known as Burger Jr!

It’s all happening as Hamza turns up and sells his car in the car park…….game not started yet!

As I finish my lunch I notice a special guest in the Umpire hut…….thought Mr Kayley was playing tomorrow not today…

Anyway, on to the game…..Russ wins toss, and we bat first.

1st Innings:

Hamza and Harris to open.

Hamza 2 nice shots for 4. 14-0 off 3 overs. Making decent progress.

I make my way round the ground for my first lap….. News Alert:- Middleton groundsman looks tired…

Wicket:- Hamza bowled. 15-1. Joel Houldsworth in at 3. Unfortunately, he doesn’t last long…..Wicket:- Joel LBW. 16-2

Seb Whalley in next. We move the score on to 35-2 off 10 overs.

Wicket:- Seb out caught behind for 8. 47-3 Alex Kennedy in next. 71-3 off 20 overs.

Newsflash:- 3rd lap of the ground and good time to thank our scorer today Chris Hamer (or Burger Snr) who is settled in the scorebox with his scorer wife of the day….

110-3 off 26 overs……Harris batting really well and has moved on to 44 alongside Alex who is now on 26…..good partnership.

Wicket:- Alex out caught trying to drive one to mid-wicket (I think?!)…113-4. Paul Houldsworth in next.

Harris succeeds in getting his 50…well batted young man.

Wicket:- Harris bowled…..150-5. Captain Russ in next

Comedy Alert:- Run for single Paul shouts no…Russ turns back….then yes…Russ sets off again…where is the Benny Hill music when you need it.

A few wickets fall in the upcoming overs as follows;

Wicket:- Russ out caught. 181-5. Shovey in next. 7 overs left.

Wicket:- Paul bowled LBW. 197-7.

Wicket:- Ammer bowled. 214-8.

Wicket:- Abid out caught. 216-9.

Wicket:- Marcus bowled. 232 all out

We close the innings on a good score so hopefully we can defend this.

 

2nd Innings:

Shovey to open. Harris opens at the scoreboard

Early Wicket:- bowled Shovey caught Seb. 29-1. Good start.

Middleton move on to 42-1 off 7 overs……we need to get a breakthrough. Change of bowler as Marcus comes on for Shovey. Score 55-1.

Spectator view:- one of our supporters walks past and comments from the early overs bowled….”More extras than Ben Hur” 😊

Another change of bowler as Alex on for Harris.

Wicket:- caught & bowled Alex. 86-2.

Game proceeds and Middleton move to 105 at drinks. Run rate appears to be pretty level at this stage but their batters look set.

Change bowler as MC Ammer replaces  MC Hamer…….need to change some names for next report…highly confusing.

Newsflash:- as I take what must be my umpteenth lap of the ground I decide to visit the toilets at the other end of the ground…..unfortunately this turns into what I consider a bushtucker trial….

….thought Ant and Dec were going to turn up.

Change of bowler – Joel Houldsworth in for Alex.

Wicket:- bowled Ammer caught Paul Houldsworth in slips…….one handed…diving catch…full length to his right (that’s what Paul said anyway). 146-3.

Shot:-6 – their batsman gets 50. Well batted.

Change of bowler as Shovey comes back on for Ammer. 167-3

Wicket:- great throw from Abid in the field makes a direct hit. 193-4.

Wicket:- bowled Joel. 193-5. Got the man out who got 80. Come on boys.

Change bowler Abid for Shovey

Another Wicket:- bowled Joel caught Seb. 198-6. They need 20 off 5 overs…..

Wicket:- bowled Abid. 214-7. Change of bowler as Harris replaces Joel. They need 15 off 4 overs.

Unfortunately for us Middleton win with 3 overs spare.

Summary

This was a very close game, and we competed well, but in my view,  there were too many runs given in the field alongside some fielding errors. It was a great game to watch and we were all made very welcome by Middleton CC as their guests.

Player of Match 

Harris with his 65. Well batted

 

Neil Kennedy

Match Report – 1st XI vs East Lancashire CC – Cliffe Park – Sunday 30th June

Sunday 30th June saw us welcome East Lancs back to the Cliffe for the second time in three days, and having comprehensively beaten them in what was a dead rubber of a T20 game on Friday, hopes were high of a further victory, to get us back on track after last week’s annual wedgying at Haslingden.

This was the third and final day of our Beer Festival, which by all accounts had been a huge success. I’d been up for a couple of hours on the Saturday afternoon to catch some of our 3rd XI game, sampled a beer and listened to the afternoon singer Louis Devere who had been great, setting up on the balcony and singing as the game continued

I was impressed with the way it had all come together. Credit to the secretary for organising and all those involved in making it work. This will hopefully be the first of many such events and with the help of your feedback, we’ll refine and develop these into real community events.

Back to today; I arrived with the little man, who is becoming quite a regular now, about half an hour in. We were batting and had lost a couple of early wickets, Matt and Chris Oddie both out. This had brought Allan Armer and professional Thikshila de Silva together, who had commenced rebuilding. As we reached the clubhouse the score was 45-2 and the scoreboard was starting to look a bit brighter.

Bowling from one end for East Lancs was Phillip Aspinall, who likely had the shortest journey to the ground of all players. He had left us over the winter, and has been doing very well for East Lancs this year. He had picked up the early wicket of Chris, caught behind, but Armer and de Silva never looked troubled, steadily building a total as he and Bolton toiled their way through 10 overs each.

It was the change of bowling that saw the breakthrough, East Lancs professional Angelo Jayasinghe dropping one short, and Allan seeming to reach for it a bit, not getting all of it and picking out Aspinall at deep midwicket (cow).

Ethan Houldsworth (1) and Daniel Briggs (7) stuck around ably for a time, batting in support of de Silva who had passed 50 and was batting a little more freely. Nazakat Hussain cane in at 6 and fell LBW to Bolton (3-60) for just two runs and this triggered a mini collapse as Clifford (4), Basharat (0) and Maher (6) all fell cheaply. We had gone from 136-5 to 156-9 with Sanka 96* and in desperate need of someone to stick with him.

Enter Paul Newton. He saw out the over meaning Sanka would get a chance to reach three figures for the first time for GHCC.

A two off the third ball of the next over moved him to 98, and the field was moved in to encourage him to hit over the top. Sanka didn’t need any invitation to do this and went at the very next ball, only succeeding to sky the ball straight up towards the waiting mid on fielder…. Then this happened.

He deserved a life, having batted with such assurance, and following another two glorious Newton defensive prods, each met by huge cheers from the watching crowd, he pushed a single and strode through to 100.

From this point, he sought to have some fun. Ramp shots and reverse sweeps began to accompany the familiar cover drives and back foot punches, always measured with a single off the 4th or 5th ball of the over followed by another elaborate forward defence, and massive crowd cheer, from Newton.

By the time he holed out to long off to give Aspinall his second wicket, Sanka had reached a magnificent 141, with 18 fours and a six. The last wicket partnership was 52 and Newton had contributed perhaps the best 0* of all time.

We closed 208 all out.

2nd Innings

Such positivity at a remarkable innings somewhat masked the fact this was still a gettable score, and when East Lancs got off to a decent start, it was clear we would need to be at our best to come out on top. De Silva trapped Paul Turner LBW and Oddie’s decision to turn to the spin of Newton early proved successful as Aspinall (0) fell to a sharp legside catch by Armer, before professional Jayasinghe (4) was cleaned up by one that simply didn’t bounce.

Joe Bolton and Harry Caton dug in, and slowly began to recover the innings, but when Bolton (18) was also bowled by Newton, East lancs were 74-5 and struggling. Oddie brought himself on to bowl and proved as effective as Newton, his 10.3 overs yielding just 22 runs.

De Silva picked up the wicket of Caton, caught behind, and quickly followed this up by bowling Adam Bolton and Adeel Mohammed, both for ducks. The score was 86-8 and the game looked like being wrapped up early. Matt Oddie got his first wicket, Mark Bolton caught by Faheem Basharat, but  John Turner was batting well and fought his way to an impressive 43 with 6 fours and a six, before finding Nazakat Hussain at long off. East Lancs all out for 132.

12 points! A third victory in 5 games and, with Milnrow having lost at Bacup, we’re off the foot of the table as we reach the halfway stage.

Man of the match has to go to de Silva who not only hit one of the most entertaining innings I’ve seen in years, but followed this up with bowling figures of 4-13 from 13 overs with 6 maidens. Top effort.

A great weekend for the club, a successful festival, a T20 victory, and another League win seeing us slowly beginning to recover after what was a terrible start to the season.

Next week we welcome Middleton to the Cliffe, note that the game is being played on Saturday owing to cup commitments for some clubs on Sunday.

Here’s to having another victory to report on.

On to the next one

 

ALR

Match Report – 1st XI vs Nelson CC – Cliffe Park – 16th June 2019

After two straight away games which gave us our first win of 2019 at Rawtenstall, followed by a narrow derby day defeat at Rishton, we returned to the Cliffe on Sunday feeling positive as we welcomed Nelson.

Another week of almost incessant rain had abated, and the ever impressive drainage system had done its job, meaning although showers were forecast throughout the afternoon, it was likely we would get a game in.

Team News

Captain Matt Oddie and VC Allan Armer were unavailable for this game, meaning call ups for Zeain Ali and Chris Oddie, who would keep wicket. Chairman Stuart Maher would captain for the day.

1st Innings

As ever, we lost the toss, and were invited to bat. Matt Bunn, who has looked increasingly impressive in his run of consistent appearances, reprised his opening role, today joined by Chris Oddie.

And in what is becoming a recurring theme, we got off to a solid if unspectacular start. The pair resolute in defence and rotating the strike well whilst taking every opportunity to score against Nelson’s openers Bradley and the particularly impressive Thomson.

Runs were hard to come by, Nelson’s field placings were unorthodox but very effective and indicative that they knew their bowlers well, however as Bunn and Oddie got used to the conditions they started to find a few gaps and the score began to build. They passed 50 before Chris was caught behind for 23 in Thomson’s 10th over. This brought in professional Thikshila de Silva, on the back of concurrent scores of 82 and 91.

But it was Bunn who looked to take the game to Nelson, noticeably playing much more aggressively instantly once joined by Sanka. This didn’t last long however, he was caught to a fine diving catch by the Nelson professional Sanjika Ridma attempting to punch the ball over the legside infield. He scored 26.

Zeain joined Sanka and struggled in the face of spin from both ends. Nazir and Ridma tying down the run rate. Indeed this pressure caused the big wicket of de Silva to fall, run out attempting a second run to the sweeper on the legside boundary. Watching from the balcony we had the over before noted the fielder had a ‘good arm’, and he used it here, pinning the ball into the keeper’s gloves, who did the rest.

Faheem fell for 2 runs, and then as the rain came, Zeain also went, for an extremely hard earned 4. And suddenly our fine start had become 81-5. Another couple of maidens were dug out by Jack and Briggsy, before the umpires took us off.

Rain Delay

A mini monsoon threatened to end proceedings there and then, but just as quickly as it arrived, it cleared up and following a few minutes of Bunny running up and down with a sponge roller, we were back on.

5 overs lost – 10 left to look to set a manageable target. This would, on the face of it, be a challenge from 81-5, but analysis had shown Nelson’s games this season had shown scores of around 100-120, so we felt anything over this would give us a good chance.

We passed 40 overs and were still short of 100, but then a big straight six from Briggs off Nazir set us going. He fell, bringing in Kaz to partner Jack, and the scoring rate started to pick up. Ridma bowled out his overs with one still to bowl from the Dog and Otter end and Nelson’s decision to bring back the seam bowling of Bradley proved costly; jack despatching him into the car park three times, before sneaking a single to retain the strike for the last over.

He tried to give Nazir the same treatment first ball of the last over, but missed and was bowled. A potentially vital 34 had moved the score to 135-7.

Clifford joined Masood for the last 5 deliveries and the pair managed to add another 9 runs including a remarkable three to a dug out Yorker which didn’t get off the wicket, yet had two unsuccessful and poorly backed up runout attempts.

We ended on 144-7, with our friends DLS granting us another 5 for the lost overs. Nelson would require 150 from their 45.

Tea break

Following a hastily arranged Mikey Perrin tea (thanks Mikey), the players were back out, refreshed and fancying our chances.

2nd Innings

An early LBW for Sanka saw Crotty fall for a duck, but Khurram Nazir and Lewis Bradley both took the game to us, each hitting Faheem into the car park. Faheem was replaced by Maher and immediately he had the dangerous Nazir caught to a brilliant one-handed diving catch from Sanka, Nelson 37-2 in the 10th over.

Sanka was proving unplayable at the other end, and he clean bowled Lewis Bradley for 13 in the next over. 37-3.

The talented Pettinger was joined by professional Ridma, but with Sanka flying and Stuart tying the batsmen down at the other end, the run rate slowed dramatically. They added a further 9 before Ridma got a leading edge to a Maher delivery, the ball looping up and seeming set to fall safe around level with the stumps short of what would have been mid off. But out of nowhere came Sanka; running in from cover, he full length Klinsmann dived, taking the ball inches from the ground at the very end of his reach. Chris Oddie later said it was ‘the greatest catch he’d ever seen live’. Whails it was admittedly very special, he’s clearly never seen a 3rd XI game with ALR at gully.

Runs continued to be hard to come by, and when Jack Bradley (one of five Bradley’s in today’s Nelson team) was run out by some fine work from Zeain, Nelson were 57-5 and struggling.

Sanka completed 10 overs with unbelievable figures of 2-7 with 5 maidens, and was replaced by Kaz Masood as the skies darkened. Rain was due, and the Nelson batsmen knew it. We’ve had some work done on our scoreboard over the winter, meaning not only does it now work, it also has a live DLS par score showing. This showed that Nelson were some way behind.

Pettinger and Thomson looked to attack where they could, but Masood and Maher, aided by a markedly improved fielding display, kept the rate well below the par score, and when the rains came after 24 overs, Nelson were 70-5, with the par score 86.

In such a strong position, our lads were hoping to get back out there to seek to bowl out our opposition, but unlike the earlier shower, the rain this time filled in and showed no sign of abating. The umpires gave it every chance, but at 7pm the decision was made to call it. Captains shook hands and we picked up our second victory of the season.

GHCC WIN

10 points! We now have 2 wins in 3 and whilst we find ourselves still bottom of the table but we’re no longer cut off.

image courtesy of Nigel Stockley / lancashireleague.com

Summary

Another impressive performance, and one that showed we have the capability to post a defendable score on a day Sanka didn’t go big with the bat. Sanka really was a class apart second innings though, two remarkable catches and his bowling unplayable throughout. He really is looking to have found his feet having now adapted to conditions in the UK.

One note – Apologies to any visitors who found there was no food available on Sunday. Our caterer was called away last minute for a family emergency and we were unable to find alternative provision.

Next Week

Next week sees T20 away at Church on Friday, a FOURTH attempt to play our Worsley Cup game at Clitheroe on Saturday and then a trip to Haslingden on Sunday. Here’s to another victory or three to report on.

 

ALR