We complete the 2020 Lancashire Cricket League season by welcoming Bacup to Cliffe Park.
2019 saw Bacup leave with 10 points after edging a close game by 39 runs
We complete the 2020 Lancashire Cricket League season by welcoming Bacup to Cliffe Park.
2019 saw Bacup leave with 10 points after edging a close game by 39 runs
Today’s fixture sees our 1st XI travel to Lanehead to take on Bacup.
Last year’s fixture saw GHCC win by 73 runs, with 35 from Kaz Masood helping us to 141 all out, before Paul Newton’s 6/13 dismissed Bacup for 68.
Still reeling from how close we came to beating 2nd placed Middleton last week, on Sunday we travelled to fifth placed Bacup.
Bacup is a place I’ve only ever been to once before, for a night out with our Treasurer and former captain. This was quite an experience, which involved extremely reasonable alcohol prices, wandering around a large town centre genuinely struggling to find places to drink (they’re all in the hills), and then being sent on a wild goose chase by a local which had us waste an hour looking for a seemingly non-existent venue called Diamond Lights.
My lasting impression of the place, admittedly unfairly, is derived from the first half hour of this evening. Walking into the first bar, we were met by an Irish band, complete with bodhran, flutes and banjos, playing a cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit.
As I reached the bar, I was warmly embraced by an oddly attired man with boot polish on his face, who believed me to be an old friend called Eric (thankfully not Dave) and wanted to know where I’d been for the last ten years and how the family were. Despite my assertion that I wasn’t the man he thought I was, he was having none of it. We spoke for ten minutes about past adventures I knew nothing about before we went our separate ways. I was later informed he was one of the famous Coconutters
Anyway, enough of that. The little man and I set off in good time for what would be another new ground for us both. I put TMS on the radio for the World Cup Final (spoiler, we won) and set a course on the sat nav that took us over the back end of nowhere, rolling hills and beautiful scenery. We passed the Singing Ringing Tree, and were dropping down the hill towards Bacup when my phone rang.
Erm, you’ve left his changing bag here.
The prospect of finding a supermarket in a town I once spent an hour looking for a pub didn’t appeal, and the chances of the little man getting through a 50 over cricket game without wanting to be fed or changed was slimmer than Australia’s chances of winning the World Cup, so I turned the car round and headed back. He figured this out, and cried all the way.
Returning home meant we missed the first half hour of play. The club WhatsApp group had informed me that we were batting. No worries, I thought, we’ll only miss the now customary solid if unspectacular start.
WRONG! I parked up to find us 28-4, with the pro out and Allan and Jack battling to try to help us post something respectable. The little man knew, and cried again.
I acquired liquid refreshment, and set off on a lap to see if he would settle and was struck by how friendly the people were. Almost everyone I walked past said hello, despite me having met only three people before, and many were happy to chat about all things cricket. There were a few characters, and all appeared to carry the same nervous excitement I was feeling as the World Cup final played out in the bar.
As I walked round, Allan clubbed a straight six out of the ground, and into a greenhouse. The homeowner was reportedly distinctly unimpressed, but one of the downsides of living near a cricket ground is that if you own anything smashable and don’t protect it, inevitably it will be smashed.
A quirk of Bacup’s ground is that the player’s changing rooms and viewing area is on the opposite side of the ground to the bar. As I made my way around to the base of the steps, I turned around to see a ground that looked at least 3 times the size it did from the bar.
Wicket, Allan out bowled by the opposing pro for 23, the score having recovered somewhat to 68-5. Kaz Masood joined Jack and the pair added another 7 before Jack fell for 17. Briggs Joined Kaz, and stuck about whilst the latter played a vital innings, together they continued the good work of Allan and Jack, and the score passed 100 before Briggs holed out for 9. Masood continued to a GHCC best of 35, and with Paul Clifford adding 11, we set a much more competitive looking 141.
Over tea, the players watched as New Zealand closed their innings, setting England 241 to become champions. Was it enough? Was our score enough? I pointed out to anyone that would listen, that they had come within one wicket of beating a team higher in the table just last week when defending a lower total than that set today. Analysis of Bacup’s performances this season had indicated the bulk of their runs had come from the openers, one in particular, and the professional, Serasinghe, who leads the league for runs scored. If we could get these two out, I felt we had every chance.
We opened the bowling with professional Thikshila de Silva and chairman Stuart Maher. The Bacup openers looked to get after anything loose and whilst the pace of de Silva troubled them, they found Stuart easier to get away, and raced to 32-0 after just 6 overs. The introduction of Paul Newton by Oddie paid instant dividends, Aaron Fielding skying one in his very first over which was well taken by Maher.
His next over saw us claim the vital wicket of Newbitt, caught by Clifford who seemed to initially misjudge the flight, diving full length to catch a ball that dropped where he had been standing.
De Silva was being heckled, every ball, by one man sat by the sightscreen, shouting NO BALL as he started each and every run up. Think Rob Schneider in Happy Gilmore minus the silly hat and Volkswagen.
Serasinghe, another Sri Lankan and a good friend of our former professional Ashen Silva, was getting himself going however, and with number 4 Collinge (4), he added 24. This was looking ominous for a man with 3 100s already this year, and Bacup were only 80 away from their target.
Then, de Silva found a way through, clean bowling him to the absolute delight of the entire team and travelling support. I politely asked his friend if it was a no ball. He didn’t answer.
I lost the next 15 minutes to a particularly difficult car boot nappy change, but when I came out the other side the score was 66-5, Newton had picked up two more wickets, As I set off with the pram again, he took his 5th, our opponents were crumbling.
De Silva then got back into the action, trapping Schofield LBW before bowling Jack Bradford for a second ball duck, and when Newton bowled Ben Lord to claim figures of 6-13 from 7 overs, the writing was on the wall.
All that was left was for de Silva to wrap up the final wicket, bowling Aspinall for a duck and claiming the 12 points for us. No Ball man had disappeared, and Bacup had seen their last 8 wickets fall for just 6 runs.
An exceptional bowling performance, getting the key batsmen early then building pressure to draw wickets.
Man of the match has to go to Newton, but note must be made to the contributions made by Armer, Hussain and particularly Kaz Masood, for leading a recovery from a poor start and putting us in a position to be able to bowl them out.
Oh, and we won the World Cup too. That was nice.
Enfield next week, a team that have struggled recently after a positive start and one that with a few more wins we have a realistic chance of catching. Of course they beat us at their place earlier this year, so we’ll be looking to even the score. Hopefully A.N. Other won’t be turning out for them this time, he was a decent player.
On to the next one.
This week we welcome our visitors Bacup to Cliffe Park for our 2nd team fixture.
An early start today due to the club hosting breakfast prior to the Cricket World Cup Final prior to our game this afternoon. This is enjoyed watching our young Under 9s side. A full day of cricket ahead😊.
Following his healthy breakfast, Paul Houldsworth sets off to roll the wicket in advance of our game.
A big thankyou to our scorer today who has volunteered to support our fixture….following a lack of other volunteers……Mr Rick Law-Riding what would we do without our Rick.
Great Harwood to bat first.
Hamza and Zain to open
We move the score on to 23-0 off 8 overs. A good steady start to proceedings.
The early exchanges are pretty even on what looks like a difficult wicket again. Saying that we advance to 39-0 off 14 overs. Hamza 24* Zain 8*.
Breakthrough for Bacup……Wicket:- Zain out LBW for 8 runs. Chris Oddie in at 3 who gets straight off the mark with a 4.
Sat on line with the bowler, what proceeds is a 4 “no ball” over from their young bowler whose front foot consistently over line……..hurray…umpire decided to give one eventually
Wicket:- Hamza caught on 32. Score on 65-2. Another nice Shot:- 4 from Chris.
Score on 80-2 at drinks.
Headache:- Chirpy lot these….every bowl a claim….they even shout for LBW when it hits the bat. Have the rules changed?! At least their wives get a quiet day whilst they are here….!
Wicket:- Chris out caught. 85-3. Paul Houldsworth in next. Unfortunately for once Paul doesn’t last long…..Wicket:- Paul LBW. 87-4
Andy Brown in next.
Incident:- Andy Brown dives to make his ground….nearly comes up short….luckily, he is a tall chap with long arms. Score now 90-4.
Wicket:- Andy out caught on boundary. 114-5 Russ in next.
Another Wicket:- Joel bowled. 148-6. Alex in next.
Wicket:- Russ bowled. Score has moved to 155-7.
Buck Rogers (from the 21st Century) arrives at the crease….but unfortunately Wicket:- Ben bowled. 155-8. We appear to be in freefall. Ste in next but follows straight away….Wicket:- Ste LBW. 155-9
Finally, Alex run out going for a very dangerous run.
We finish on 159 all out.
Ste to open from Dog Otter end. Great first over. Joel Houldsworth to open Scoreboard end.
What proceeds is a number of wickets fall bringing us right back into the game……as follows;
Wicket:- bowled Ste. 4-1
Wicket:- bowled Joel LBW. 6-2
Wicket:-bowled Ste LBW. 12-3
Wicket:- bowled Joel. 26-4
Good spells of bowling from both Ste and Joel…..come on boys we can do this.
Change of bowler as Paul Houldsworth comes on for Joel. At the other end there is also a change as Alex Kennedy for Ste.
Score now on 67-4.
Alex struggles to get consistency so a quick change of bowler, Abid for Alex 103-4.
Wicket:- bowled Paul LBW. 118-4
Bacup batsman gets 50…..well batted.
Fielding:- our fielding isn’t the best with multiple incidents of the ball not sticking and catches missed which is frustrating for the team….and me watching. Another dropped catch.
Catering Alert:- Russ shouts over and ask if I can do drinks…….I shout back “Course I Can….I need to drink watching this”……he didn’t mean that!! I proceed to the cabin to get the players drinks……….multi-tasking at best. “Don’t spill blackcurrant on anyone’s whites!” I tell myself. I am ably assisted by Jean Walker…what a double act.
Score on 125-5.
Remembrance:- As the game kicks off again, and as I sit down to continue watching our fielding…..I notice whose bench I am sat on. Pete Birtwistle’s bench….he was a Great Harwood stalwart through and through following not just Great Harwood Cricket Club but also a fan of Great Harwood Town FC whom I played for, for many years. God Bless you Pete. “Arrod-Ball”.
Wicket:- their batsman run out by Joel. He is smiling…..never thought I would see that in my lifetime!
Change of bowler as Zeain comes on and then Alex again.
Fielding gives Bacup more runs…..150-6. Bacup now only need 10 off 16 overs.
Wicket:- bowled Alex caught Paul in slips. 150-7.
Unfortunately, not enough as game closes with Bacup winning. Game Over.
It is pretty clear if we give teams 30 – 40 runs in the field we set ourselves a bigger challenge to win games which is disappointing. Difficult one today for my Player of Match…..I could give it to Joel who attempted a catch near the boundary and duly only managed to hit him down below…was funny though.
Albeit it didn’t go well with the bat, I give it to Ste Schofield who bowled really well.
On to next week….
Our 1st XI travel to Bacup in the Lancashire League and look forwards to the fantastic teas they have provided at Lanehead in previous visits. They will also be playing cricket, with the game starting at 1pm.
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.
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.
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.