Andrew Law-Riding 1 Comment
‘Take me to Church!’ Came the sound from my phone at a quarter to nine
‘We might even win, and I’ll buy you a pie’
Enough of that!  My brother was quite convincing though, so on Sunday, armed with the joyous prospect of a pie, I picked up a small collective of support and headed towards Oswaldtwistle to find Church CC.
A new ground for me, and I was unsure what to expect. Neil had shown a clear affinity, borderline love for the place in his reports in recent weeks (that might be a lie), whilst former GHCC player Aftab had gone a step further than this, making it his new home over the winter.
For those that don’t know, it’s past Hyndburn Sports Centre, right at both roundabouts then up the hill, but not too far up the hill, past the pub  but if you get to Blackburn, you’ve gone too far. It’s also clearly signposted, by the world’s smallest sign, on the wrong side of the road.    
Anyway, we arrive just as the players take to the field. A glorious day, we found ourselves fielding first. Neil will be delighted to hear that the only one of the club’s many trips to Church so far this year that he didn’t attend was the one at which they decided to open the bar.
Not wanting to miss out, I head straight in. Clubhouse was busy, and offered an unexpectedly impressive view of the field. Drink in hand, i head back out as Church hit 50-0. This can’t be right, I’d only been at the ground for 15 minutes.
Church, or more specifically their opener Holt, had got off to a flyer. Only six overs had passed at this point and the consensus from the shellshocked travelling support was that we were looking at chasing 350+. Holt passed 50 himself, punching anything even slightly short hard and straight off the back foot, and by the time the first wicket fell, Scully bowled by Ashen Silva, Church were well on top.
The introduction of spin from both ends in the shape of Ash (1-62) and the particularly impressive Paul Newton (1-37)  brought back some control, but even the breakthrough wicket of Holt, caught behind by Allan Armer off Newton only succeeded in bringing the destructive Wolfenden to the crease to join professional Riekert , and the runs continued to flow.
I took to the tea room, and helped myself to the promised pie (cheese and onion for those interested), and a piece of chocolate cake that was genuinely bigger than an average adult human head.
Back to the cricket. The increasingly impressive Phil Aspinall was introduced, and immediately made an impact, having Riekert caught at backward point and then Kinsella caught behind soon after for a duck. Matt Oddie replaced Ashen on completion of his 15 over allocation and kept things tight, but with 10 overs left and Wolfenden set, we were still in danger of chasing down a mammoth total.
Until Aspinall drew a false shot that was, luring him to play and miss three times as he looked to reach 50 before he hit one straight up in the air, and Matt Bunn made no mistake.
Oddie then took his opportunity, picking up three wickets as the Church lower order scratched around, adding just 25 more runs to close on 217-8.
We’d turned what had looked like an ominous monster of a run-chase into one that, on the face of it, and on the back of two straight victories, looked very manageable.
Until we started to bat.
First over, Hamza cuts for four then has one pop on him, loops off the glove or bat handle, simple catch at gully. 4-1. Matt Oddie was caught behind soon after, by the keeper standing up to the sharpish pro. Note – said keeper had worn one clean in the sternum first ball trying this, making his entire team fall about laughing.  
At this point I’d had to leave, nipping home to tend to a brief emergency, but felt the run chase was in good hands. I returned 30 minutes later to find we’d crumbled to 52-5, Ash, Paddy and Allan all back in the clubhouse.
Phil Aspinall battled, but runs were hard to come by, and with wickets continuing to fall, he holed out to deep square leg.
Stuart Maher (14*) and Paul Newton (22) added 32 for the last wicket, bringing some respectability to the scoreline, but this couldn’t hide the fact we fell well short.
So no points, a resounding defeat. Oh well, on to the next week, where we play a very strong Darwen side in the T20 and, erm… a very strong Darwen side in the League. Bring it on.

— One Comment —

  1. Oh well,I was along with 6 others only the arrod supporters there,what has happened to our travelling support once the best in the ribblesdale league, whether you agree or not to our change of leagues, always support your team,by the way,all 7 supporters were Rover’s supporters,says a lot doesn’t it

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