Match Report – 3rd XI vs Church CC – Away – 14th April 2019

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Welcome back to the Lancashire League Cricket season. It soon comes back around.
Great Harwood Cricket Club’s first competitive game of the season brings me to Church CC to take in the delights of our 3rd team fixture. A sunny but cold day at what has become infamously my “favourite ground”. I am extra pleased as I have had the added pleasure of being here since 9am for Hyndburn District Trials. Love this place.
First observation……Nice to see the Sky Sports Shed still here…
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Following a lunch interval in between District Trials and this game, at the A La Carte restaurant down the road….some Scottish chap called McDonald….i park up in anticipation (with my car facing the wicket just in case it gets to minus figures in the weather stakes.
Sad news reaches us a players start to arrive, unfortunately Leachy has to leave due to a family emergency. Thoughts with you mate.
After various phone calls and some strangely inquisitive looks towards my car….like I have any form of cricketer in it….decision made for umpire Danny Briggs to replace Leachy….Captain Houldsworth hiding in his car to avoid replacement Umpire duties.
Lost the toss – Church elect to bat first.
As I peruse the amazing facilities here (all closed), a capacity crowd of 9 people…and a dog….seem to be looking forward to an entertaining game. Good news as tea room opens….and before anyone asks no the bar isn’t….no surprise there then.
After handing out packets of B&M hand warmers to Newy Jr, Houldsworth Jr and Alex….game gets underway…
1st Innings:
It is absolutely freezing on the side of this hill, and the first batter for Church comes in well prepared;
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Ethan Houldsworth to open bowling….from the car park end. Good first over and a slow start for Church. Joel Houldsworth opens at other end….are there any other Houldsworths I am missing from this report.
Early Wicket:-: A run out, bowled Joel and stumped Seb. 5 for 1. Good fielding (dint say that too much last season)
Another Wicket:- Bowled Joel LBW. 20-2. Good start to the season for the “Happy One”.
Change of bowler as Captain Ste replaces Ethan who bowled a good spell. Chance! – Direct hit for a run out from Ethan. Not Out…..27-2. Looked a tight decision from where I am stood watching them tee off on the 2nd tee at Accrington Golf Club!
Another change of bowler as MC Hammer replaces for Joel. Time for a bit of “Gas”. Great fielding by Joel stopping what looked a certain 4.
Family Moment Alert:- Lovely moment as Captain Ste’s Mum comes on to pitch to give him a kiss….whilst he is fielding at that position next toe the White Screens at the end of the ground……nice.
Wicket! MC Hammer clean bowls batsman. 42 – 3. Shortly after this drinks are taken with the score at 43-3. Nice to see the drinks are ice cold cordial – should go down well today with the arctic conditions. Personally wouldn’t have bothered unless it was a nice hot brew.
Change of bowler as Alex Kennedy comes on for MC Hammer. Wicket:- Bowled Alex caught Ethan. 45 – 4. The u15’s club working well together. Meanwhile there is a change bowler at the other end as Abid comes on for Ste. Welcome to Great Harwood CC Abid.
Wicket:- LBW bowled Abid. 77-5. Great start for one of our new team members.
Another Wicket:- bowled Alex and caught Ste. 81-6. Another quick Wicket:- bowled Abid caught Ethan. Another great catch. 82-7.
This spell of bowling is great to watch as we have Church on the rack. Wicket:- bowled Abid caught Ste. 86-8. Abid follows this up with his 4th Wicket:- batsman clean bowled Abid. 86-9.
Just one more wicket to go.
Wicket:- bowed Alex. 86 all out
Good bowling and fielding performance with all the lads chipping in.
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As I take the ritual walk around the ground to keep arm, good to see these Church fans are a resilient lot as they crack open the cans in the grandstand overlooking the ground….I use the term grandstand loosely.
2nd Innings:
Hamza and Ethan open batting. Good to see Hamza back in the fold after his horror injury last season.
Hamza off the mark playing a nice shot round his legs to Square…Short…Long…3rd man….or something like that.
Looks like the Great Harwood players are taking turns in doing the Square Leg Umpire. Joel doing his stint in his shorts – the lad is mad!!
Wicket:- Ethan bowled out. 2 – 1. Seb in. Not a good start. Wicket:- Hamza is bowled LBW. 16 – 2. Exactly what Church needed a couple of early wickets and two of our danger men out.
Shak into the Attack next. We should see some shots played now. An expectant silence falls across the ground in anticipation……oh no sorry my mistake….there isn’t anyone here.
Wicket:- Seb out with a leading edge caught. 16 – 3. (I must admit I used the term “Leading Edge” as Paul Houldsworth said it…makes me sound like I know what I am talking about. MC Hammer in next.
Injury Alert:- Shak goes down with what looks like cramp. Replacement batsman needed….Joel in. Hopefully Shak recovers. 4 – nice shot Joel. 51-3
Wicket:- Joel played on. 54-4. Progress to our target is slow and feels a long way off….good news though as Shak is back…at the crease. Wicket:- MC Hammer out caught. 55-5.
Thomas Newton in next. Unfortunately doesn’t hang around too long as another Wicket:- falls. Thomas Out bowled LBW.
Danny Briggs enters the fray with score at 59-6. Wicket:- Shak out. 60-7. In comes Alex. We survive the next few overs but then Wicket:- Alex Out. 74-8. Abid in. Can the new boy get us over the line.
Great shot – 6! Shot Danny – just what was needed. Next ball – Wicket!- Danny out caught trying to hit another 6. 82-9
Captain Ste in as last batsman….need a Captains performance her Ste. A few balls faced and a couple of singles. 4! – good shot Ste…nearly there.
A nice shot sees us over the line. Game over – Great Harwood win!
Overall good team performance and a good start to season. We made life difficult in what was a cold day, but the lads stuck together and ground out the result.
Onwards to next week…..

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