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Report by Neil Kennedy

So following my 1st ever match report visiting my favourite ground Church last week, my words of doing this for “1 week only” were paid very little attention…..thus I have managed to get the job again for this weeks 3rd Eleven fixture at home to Rochdale Cricket Club.

Following a hilly trek up to the Cliffe, as my thoughts drift to the match ahead…..how many pints are Paul Whalley and I going to demolish today….apprehension turns to nausea. The ground looks fantastic bathed in glorious sun. It is worth mentioning the Holt brothers are doing a great job with the pitch – well done chaps.

Fact Time! – Gracie Fields was born in Rochdale the home of our visitors today, where she got freedom of the city….lets hope we don’t give that privilege to our opponents today (don’t ever say these reports aren’t fact based!).

Team News – 2 changes to the team last week as in comes Zuber and Jason Kayley. Great Harwood to Bowl first innings……come on boys.

Jason Kayley and Joel Houldsworth open the bowling, with some consistent bowling but also some nice shots being played. Chance! – Dropped catch at slip….not another one of those days I hope. Interesting at this early point in the game to see their umpire walking to his position looking like he would rather be somewhere else….I know the feeling having watched cricket for 7 days on the trot!.

8 overs in – new experience alert! – umpire asks me to look for the ball which was smacked towards the netting area…stick a brush up my %$*&. Ball found. 61 – 0 off 10 overs…Rochdale going well.

Wicket! – Bowled Jason Kayley. We are on our way….Change of bowler, Captain Ste enters the attack from the Watson Ramsbottom sponsored scoreboard end. Another change of bowler at the Dog & Otter end (good advertising!) with Ethan Houldsworth.

Wicket! – Bowled Ste caught Joel Houldsworth.

98 – 2 at drinks. Nice to the see the Rochdale players playing their part and doing drinks instead of Mikey. Well done lads.

Game continues…change of bowler as Marcus Hamer replaces Ethan. Bowls a good 1st over. MC Ammer replaces Ste at the other end. Wicket! – Well bowled Marcus caught…a fielder…..missed this due to the resurrection of the “round the pitch cricketer walk”…still don’t get it! 121 – 3 off 19 overs.

Injury! – Jason Kayley stops the ball in the slips with his knee….could hear the knock from where I was standing – ouch! He tentatively gets to his feet. Wicket! – bowled Ammer caught Ste 135 – 4. Another Wicket! – bowled Ste LBW. Come on boys. Wicket! – bowled Marcus – well bowled young man. Another Wicket! Quickly follows – c&b Ammer. 135 – 7. Great  spell.

Drinks again – warm day. I hate it when the umpire shouts for drinks as triggers another light refreshment for Paul and I…..I love cricket. As Rochdale close the innings with spells of bowling from Alex, Ste and Jason Kayley, they close on 231 – 7 with one of their batters reaching 50. Well done sir.

As the cricketers take a well earned break, I spend the interval watching people roll the wicket, paint lines and sweep grass…..a lot goes into this sport.

News Flash!– Lee Dobson has arrived in readiness for the 2nd Innings….it must be free to get on today!

2nd Innings

232 runs required for Great Harwood….the chase is on.

Opening batters are Zuber and Owais. Unfortunately this doesn’t last long as a quick Wicket! – Owais out. Joel Houldsworth strolls out to bat at 3…Comedy Quote of the Day!– Joel states “See you in a minute” to his teammates…got to love him.

Zuber opens the innings playing some great shots including a huge 6. 32 – 1 off 5 overs…Great start. Another 4 – Zuber plays a nice shot through silly mid off long on fine leg! (I am trying).

Newsflash!– I just phoned Samritans to tell them Dobbo is here with me – they hung up…help!

Wicket! – Zuber out caught. 40 runs from 6 overs – well played Zuber. 49 – 2. Ammer in….Ammer out…in out in out shake it all about….(sorry got carried way!). Entertainment arrived – nice hat Russ!!

Wicket! Seb run out by Joel (look on the bright side Seb….at least nobody has called you “Zeb” this week).

Next batter – Jason…. small delay as he gets his kit ready!

Wicket! – Joel out stumped. I must add Joel was “longer than a minute” which he declared when he strolled to the crease….

Ethan Houldsworth in – a Houldsworth and a Kayley at the crease together….should be interesting if Benidorm end of season do last season was anything to go by.

Newsflash! – here come the walkers…many laps done today….what do you call a group of cricketers walking round a cricket pitch – Pointless!

Visitor alert! – nice to see our ex player Aftab arrive at the ground….probably good time to mention my favourite ground Church…..sorry mind drifting….what to have for my tea….anyway Neil focus….

Wicket! – Jason out caught to what he personally described as “a poor shot”. 63 – 6 off 12 overs. Captain Ste in.

The run rate has slowed up…Wicket! – Ethan bowled. Alex in. Another Wicket! – Ste out caught as Thomas Newton arrives at the crease. Every Rochdale fielder round the bat for both Alex and Thomas…..Alex hits one on the shin….good shot. Wicket! – Thomas out caught & bowled. Marcus in at 11. 77 – 9.

Final wicket falls with Alex being out LBW as the game ends.

In summary the game faded as we chased a reasonable total. Not much else to say other than the weather was lovely…..2 Rochdale players stayed for a drink after the game….great effort…but well done to the 2 that did. This is only my 2nd ever report on a sport I am still learning about but know very little…how I got this job no idea….looking forward to being sacked.

Anyway as I leave you with a great view of our club taken during the game, here is to next week when we play another Lancashire side in….Middleton….from Manchester! This game even breaks the rule of counties!

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