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Roving Reporter Neil Kennedy again….This week I have the pleasure of reporting on our 2nd team away at Bacup.

What can I tell you about Bacup…..the Cricket Ground is next to the Football Ground where I enjoyed playing against many moons ago…..and the pitch is on a hill. Historical fact:- Bacup is home to the 17 ft (5.2 m) long Elgin Street which held the record as the shortest street in the world until November 2006, when it was surpassed by Ebenezer Place, in the Scottish Highlands.

The town also has famous roots being the home of Sam Aston (Chesney) and Jenny McAlpine (Fizz) from Coronation Street…hopefully we can achieve a “series” of wins….and we don’t hit the “cobbles”…….and we can Rovers “Return” home with a win…..which means we will be on a Roy’s “Roll”……I know……that was “Soap-athetic”.

The ground looks in decent condition, and I must say this may actually be the first time ever of visiting Bacup for football or cricket that I may get a tan!

It also come on good authority that this club is renowned for good teas….can’t wait.

Team News: In come Andy Brown and Alex Kennedy for MC Ammer, and Harris Masood.

Following a good win last week hopefully Captain Russ can lead our troops to victory.

Great Harwood to bat first.

1st Innings:

Shak and Ethan to open batting. Following a tight first over we are off the mark – a nice shot for 2 from Shak. Ethan then plays a great shot for 4….followed quickly by another. We move nicely on to 31-0 off 6 overs.

The wicket looks a difficult one to bat on as some of the bowling keeps low and then the same length bowl skips up to chest height. The batsman are managing the conditions well though – well batted boys.

Oh No…..Wicket:- Ethan bowled for 23 from a bowl that kept very low. 48-1. In comes Chris Oddie on the back of early season form. Jinxed him…..Wicket:- Chris Oddie bowled. 51-2. Kaz joins Shak at the crease……6:- Great shot. The joy doesnt last long though….

Wicket:- Kas caught. 64-3. Shovey in next. It doesn’t take long before the next wicket falls….Wicket:- Shak out. 74-4. Seb Whalley joins Shovey, who proceeds to play a nice shot for 4. This moves us on to 78-4 at drinks.

Play resumes, then…..Chance:- Ridiculous cheer goes up from Bacup team for a caught behind. Shovey rightly stands his ground. Is this what cricketers call begging?!

Wicket:- Shovey proceeds to be caught behind. 83-5. In comes Captain Russ….can he stem the fall of wickets on the back of his half century last week? As usual Russ takes his time getting his eye in, playing a great shot for 4 from his 3rd bowl!

Spectator Alert:- The biggest round of applause goes up of the day thus far as Seb’s sister runs on the pitch to give Seb his drink. Great family support.

Well played Seb….ball skips up and defends it well. 6:- from Russ followed by a 4. Lets keep this going as we seem to have regained momentum. We move on to 149-5

Tearoom Update:- the ladies manning the tearoom persuade me to have a Turkey and Stuffing sandwich with some chips….what a great job they are doing and as mentioned earlier the food is great. Well done ladies and thanks for your hospitality.

Several overs later our Captain Russ, after playing some really great shots and well supported by his nephew Seb, reaches 50 moving us on to 162-5. Great innings Russ.

Unfortunately the excitement is short lived as……Wicket:- Russ out caught for 51. Andy Brown in next. 162-6. This followed by a pair of family wickets as….Wicket:- Seb c&b. 169-7. Cockney joins Andy Brown at the crease. The run flow has halted currently so we need to dig in and finish the innings as strongly as possible.

Comedy Moment Alert:- Wicket:- Andy Brown is run out. Albeit a devastating blow to our innings, the comedy moment comes from the way the wicket fell….bit like The Chuckle Brothers…”me to you to me to you to me to you” was the commentary from the players.

Press Notice:- When interviewed after the game, Cockney was asked about events leading up to and including the running out of the ex-policeman. He duly stated “No Comment”. 169-8.

Wicket:- Cockney out caught. 169-9. Alex Kennedy in at 11……Wicket:- Bash caught behind. We finish on 171 all out.

During the interval / lunch break / tea break – whatever cricketers call it, the clouds start to gather across Bacup. We are not forecast rain so hopefully it stays dry. It has gone a few degrees cooler though.

2nd Innings:

Kaz opens bowing from the car park end, whilst Ethan opens…….at the non-car park end (not much to describe that end to be honest).

Innings starts strangely amidst some frustration by Kaz, as umpire giving some very dubious wides. Some discussion takes place at the end of the over with the umpire, but to no avail.

Wicket:- bowled Kaz caught behind Seb. 14-1. Great start. This is then followed by a…….Chance:- diving catch from Seb off the bowling of Kaz….unlucky. We don’t have to wait long though for another…Wicket:- bowled Ethan caught Russ. 26-2. This is then followed by a third……..Wicket:- bowled Ethan. 31-3.

The target Great Harwood set which I wasn’t sure was enough, looks a difficult task for Bacup now……even harder now as………Wicket:- Run out. Fielded Chris Oddie stumped Ethan. 35-4.

A change bowler as Dad Bash comes in for Ethan. At this stage we are 49-4 off 14 overs.

Spectator Update:- I must now be on my 26th lap of the ground today with fellow spectators Paul Whalley, Aidy Prestage and Chris Hamer.

What then follows over several overs is a collection of wickets summarised as follows……Wicket:- c&b Bash. 50-5. A change of bowler as Shovey comes on for Kaz who bowled well. Wicket:- bowled Bash. 65-6, then another….Wicket;- bowled Shovey as batsman plays on. 73-7. This is duly followed by another….Wicket:- bowled Bash caught Kaz. 77-8. Bash then gets his fourth……Wicket:- bowled Bash caught Alex Kennedy. 85-9. Well bowled Bash

We have Bacup on the ropes now as we try hard to take the last wicket. It eventually comes…..Wicket:- bowled Alex caught Chris Oddie. Good catch Chris.

Game over – Bacup finish 93 all out.

Summary – after 2 great wins to start the season, hopes are high for Great Harwood 2s team as they look a realty strong side, with players coming in as required contributing to great team effort. Could there be silverware at the end of the season – who knows.

A good performance from the whole team. We move on to Enfield at home next week to see if we can make it 3 out of 3 against our local rivals.

This is Neil Kennedy – over & out.

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