Our 1st XI complete their 2019 Lancashire League season with a trip to East Lancs Cricket Club’s Alexandra Meadows HQ.
Our 1st XI welcome Haslingden to Cliffe Park for what is our final home fixture of the 2019 season. The game starts at 1pm.
In the only Lancashire League double header weekend of 2019, conveniently held on the August Bank Holiday, our 1st XI travel to Seedhill to take on Nelson
Local rivals Rishton will arrive at Cliffe Park for a Lancashire League local derby in a game that will decide to which town Lee Lane belongs for the entirety of the 2019 winter. First ball will be at 1pm.
Todays visitors to Cliffe Park are Rawtenstall, who we welcome for a fixture in the Lancashire Cricket League. The game starts at 1pm.
Our 1st XI again play on a Saturday in the Lancashire Cricket League. This time, a trip to Littleborough’s picturesque Hare Hill ground is on the cards, for a fixture which starts at 1pm.
Today we are at Milnrow Cricket Club. It will probably be my last visit to this nice little ground off the M62, off Harbour Lane, as the club have resigned from the Lancashire League and will return to the Manchester league next season I hear.
The club is over 150 years old and has that “Olde Worlde” look about it. Milnrow itself, during the Middle Ages, was one of several hamlets in the township of Butterworth and the parish of Rochdale. The settlement was named by the Anglo-Saxons, but the Norman conquest of England resulted in its ownership by minor Norman families.
Anyway, back to today, as the players arrive. This gives me the opportunity to witness a lovely moment as Paul Houldsworth admires Zain’s well-groomed beard….like a male model.
It’s a warm day….with a few clouds hovering, so hope the predicted thunder showers stay away.
Russ wins the toss and decides to bat first.
Newsflash: there is a Seagull walking round ground with a broken wing and feathers strewn across the ground. Hopefully our “wings” don’t get clipped today……..and we get off to a “fly”er……and the crowds “flock” here later…….and there are no “ducks”…….bored now.
Memory Alert: I recall when our 2s played here last year, it was when Saddleworth Moor fires were taking place, and we watched helicopters carrying water bags….looks a lot better today;
Team news as Milnrow only appear to have 10 players to start the game, albeit reliably advised someone else is coming to make 11…not sure way they said it that this person is an actual cricketer, but we will wait and see.
Hamza and Zeain to open.
We get off to a steady start as the batsmen weigh up the bowlers for first couple of overs.
Gon on the off for my 1st lap of the day….
Newsflash:- Something not right about this sign….think about it…
2 nice shots for 4 from Hamza. We move our score on to 33-0 off 5. Going at a good pace.
Chance:- Zeain drooped. Score now on 79 off 14 overs.
Thought of the Day: how many laps do players do in a game…..suddenly my thought broken as Wicket:- Zeain stumped. Chris Oddie in at 3. Score 80-1.
A few more exchanges later…..Wicket:- Chris out caught behind. Score now 110-2.
Andy Brown in next. Shot:- 6 from Andy. Score moves 131-2.
New Event Alert:-….as we approach drinks their lads ask if I can help out and do drinks for them….happy to oblige as ever….saying that, never done drinks with a burger before…..no not the foodstuff….Burger Jr (Marcus)😊
Wicket:- Andy Brown out LBW. Score moved on to 153-3. Paul Houldsworth in next.
Score moves on to 193-3.
Wicket:- Hamza caught for 76. Score on 205-4. Russ Whalley at the crease next. Score moves to 233-4 with Russ and Paul playing some nice shots for 4. With 8 overs left…..Wicket:- Russ out caught. 245-5. Ben Rogers in next.
Injury Alert:- Paul retires hurt. Alex Kennedy replaces him. Unfortunately, Wicket:- Alex caught. Marcus Hamer follows. Score 263-6.
As we approach the close of the innings……..Wicket:- Ben bowled. 271-7…and shortly after another Wicket:- Marcus caught 271-8.
Innings closes on 272-8.
Summary:- a good score posted by our lads today and must be up there on total runs scored in games this season. As the players go for their well-earned tea break, I take a nap in the car….this match reporting is hard work…..took me 5 laps of the ground to write this!!
We take to the field hoping to get an early breakthrough…..albeit will have to be quick if we are to manage to get back home to watch our 1sts….sorry too late already!!
Bottom Whiteheads to open from car park end. Steady first over as only a couple of runs scored.
Ste Schofield from clubhouse end…can he continue to bowl consistently well which he has done last couple of games. He does….a few “Oooohs” and “Aaaahs” from Ste as he comes close on a few occasions to take wickets as the batsmen seem to have holes in their bats as cant hit anything from both bowlers.
Breakthrough Wicket:- bowled Ste LBW. 6-1….we are off and running.
Player Alert:- is that Mr Kayley stood behind our keeper Ben….why is he facing other way and wearing a helmet?!
Sigh!!…….Jason left the match report!!
Chance:- dropped off the bowling of Tanny. Milnrow move score to 26-1. Albeit we don’t have to wait long as…..Wicket:- bowled Ste caught behind. Score 32-2.
Another Chance:- dropped Marcus off Ste bowling. Change of bowler:- Marcus Hamer on for Bottom Whiteheads. At the other end another change of bowler as Alex Kennedy on for Ste. We have spinners at both ends now to try and make their batsmen dizzy!
It works……Wicket:- caught Marcus Hamer bowled Alex Kennedy. Score now on 81-3. Good partnership from the 2 young lads.
Another Wicket:- bowled Alex caught Hamza. Score 96-4. The momentum continues as……Wicket:- another bowled by Alex, this time caught Andy with a great diving catch to his right. Score crept up to 116-5.
A few more exchanges follow with some good bowling and cagey batting. One of their batsman who seems to have just one shot in his repertoire….a heave towards cow corner….as he gets a few more runs albeit lucky on more than a few occasions to miss the fielders.
Wicket:- bowled Alex with a great googly. Score now 117-6.
The Milnrow batsmen continue to frustrate both bowlers for the next few overs as the score moves on to 162-6 with only 12 overs left. Looks like the target we set is safe.
As Captain Russ proceeds to bowl out the 2 young spin masters of Marcus and Alex, and as Alex pushes for his first 5fer…destiny isn’t looking too good as there are 4 shots hit in the sir in 4 consecutive balls in Alex’s next 2 overs which aren’t taken (to be fair 3 were more difficult than the other). Not to be as Alex and Marcus complete their overs….the future of our bowling attack is bright…well done both of you.
Change of bowlers as Zeain comes on for Marcus, and Tanny for Alex to close out the innings. Score 188-6 with 6 overs left to play.
Milestone:- 200 up for Milnrow whose players cheer….not sure whether that means anything significant or that they haven’t done that before. This question is resolved as one of their players state “we haven’t scored that in all of our matches combined this season”!
Wicket:- Run out by Ste Schofield with a direct hit. Score now 207-7.
Another Milestone:- Their “One Shot” batsman gets 50. Well played.
Wicket:- bowled Tanny caught Chris. 211-8. Another Wicket:- bowled Tanny. Score 211-9.
Last batsman (the person that turned up late)….can he survive?! Yes…best cheer of day as he defends a hat-trick ball from Tanny.
Final Wicket:- caught behind bowled Zain. Milnrow finish on 213 all out.
Game Summary – a good win for our 2nd team. Only a few mistakes in the field, but a good strong batting performance with stand-out performances from Hamza and Paul. From a bowling perspective there were 2 wickets apiece for Ste and Tanny, and a strong bowling performance from Alex with 4 wickets. Players of Match today go to Hamza and Alex.
Keep tuned in as we host Littleborough at home next week…..
In the Lancashire Cricket League, our 1st XI welcome Milnrow to Cliffe Park. GHCC will be looking for a repeat of what was a comprehensive victory in the 2018 season
In a rare Lancashire League Saturday game, our 1st XI are on their travels to take on Colne. The Horsefield ground that hosts today’s fixture was the venue for our first ever Lancashire League game, which was abandoned due to rain back in April 2017.
Our 1st XI face Enfield in a Lancashire League local derby for the second time this season. This time the game is at our very own Cliffe Park, with a start time of 1pm.
The Committee of Great Harwood Cricket Club are delighted to announce that we have secured the services of current professional Thikshila ‘Sanka’ De Silva for the 2020 season.
He has already scored 686 runs and taken 34 wickets in all competitions, with just under half of the season to go.
Chairman Stuart Maher remarked:
‘We are delighted to have secured Sanka’s services for next year at such an early stage. It will help us with our ongoing planning and development needs to have him in place for next year and allow us to plan properly throughout the winter.’
‘His attitude has been exceptional since his arrival, and after a slow start has come to terms with the demands of being a league professional in the North West of England.’
‘The example he sets on the field to all players, both seniors and juniors, is testament to what he brings to our club. He is helping push our players to improve their games, and we hope this early announcement will allow Sanka to continue to perform to such a high level for the remainder of this year and the next.
A delighted Sanka is pictured with Club Chairman Stuart Maher after signing his new deal
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.
Middle Order Recovery
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.