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Report by Wayne Fitzharris

With no fixture this weekend, the thirds were given the opportunity to play a friendly against Cherry Tree 4XI.

1st Innings

Losing the toss, Cherry Tree batted first. Adam Newton opened the bowling, and on a hot humid day, with the ball swinging massively, started with an array of wides. And a few more for good measure.

Schofield bowled at the other end and immediately got into in stride, bowling very well with a great action and clinical follow through. He wasn’t easy to score from and kept things tight, eventually taking the first wicket with the score on 7.

At the other end, Newton finally got his line right. Allowing the other opener to follow a swinging delivery, he was caught at first slip by Rhys Holt. Rhys was standing in for a dehydrated Fitzharris, following a curry the previous evening which didn’t agree with him. 

Rhys had two more difficult chances in the slips which went begging and picked up the new nick name, “1 in 3.. “

Andy Brown slowed down his bowling and got considerable lift on a good wicket, drying up the runs from one end. At the other end, young Ethan Houldsworth was unplayable with late swing back into the batsman, frustrating the batsmen.  Umpiring the game, Fitzharris felt that Ethan missed out on the crucial wicket of Sam Jones, by failing to appeal. He believed the ball to be sliding down past leg stump; in fact, it would have hit middle and off. Another life learning lesson.

Rhys makes an impact

Super sub Rhys then came onto bowl and helped clean up the middle order, taking 4 for 25, in 5 overs. Young spinner Marcus Harmer had some excellent opportunities and a few dropped catches. However, crucially, he took the key wicket of Sam Jones, magnificently caught by Joel Bentham who grabbed the ball out of thin air and made a difficult catch look easy.

Newton came back on to clean up the tail and Cherry Tree made a solid 159 all out which to be fair, could have been a lot more save for some excellent bowling and an improved fielding display, which admittedly still has improvements to make.

30 minute tea, and a BBQ being prepared for the end of the game. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Or in our case cometh the young man! Seb Whalley put his hand up and took part in a big partnership to show fight and determination. Determination which helped Great Harwood notch up their only win of the weekend. At long last we saw good fight and an improved performance.

2nd Innings

Great Harwood opened with Joel and Owais. Showing great determination and aggression, Joel smacking two wonder 4’s through the covers and Owais dispatching anything short or pitched up. The pair took the game to Cherry Tree and played in a hostile way scoring a credible 36 runs before edging a slower ball to gully. Last week’s super men, Brown and Houldsworth, who had made a fine 80 partnership, both failed. First Brown’s off stump was ripped out of the ground, before Houldsworth dollied a gentle return catch back to the bowler.

Knowing our batting can be brittle anything could have happened and the game could have been lost. In came Seb Whalley to calm things down. Today he stood firm and fought hard, edging and nudging the ball around and finally getting the confidence to drive firmly scoring a wonderful 27 runs in 3 useful partnerships with Owais Qayoom, Adam Newton and Ammar Malik. He came in with the score on 34 and was finally out with the score on 138. Job done and hats off to all those who batted and won the game. Particularly Ammar, who probably scored 50, but was only credited with 47 runs. He played in a way only he knows how, thumping the bad ball to the boundary. In all, he smashed 6 fours and 2 sixes to win the game with almost ten overs to spare against some testing bowling.

We have no game next weekend, but are keen to keep the ball rolling and continue some excellent form. Skipper Schofield reminded everything that only through practice, particularly fielding practice, will we win more games.

Well played Great Harwood, a resounding win with more room still to improve

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