Match Report – 2020 AGM – Monday 17th February 2020

AGM Match Report.

Today’s match report comes from The Cliffe on a wet and rainy Monday Evening. You may wonder why we are playing in the dark in February…..well all will become apparent as you read through this report.

As we approach AGM Kick Off…or stumps or whatever the cricket term is…..we manage to pull together just a full squad of 15. I must state at this point this squad of 15 is by far the strongest squad the club has and is made up of individuals of all ages, led by our Chairman Mr Maher.

As the game (AGM) kicks off we get off to an average start as we review the on field performance for last season. This continues as we review the accounts for last season which were lower than our position the season before. Our squad for the evening pull together and rally to produce some positive play, and tactics of how we can continue to improve as a club.

As the 1st innings ends we put ourselves in a strong position as we move into the next innings (next season). Everyone in the squad tonight believe strongly as a club we will come out winners if we pull together as a team.

The moral of this match report (from me your resident match reporter) is that we have a fantastic “small” squad of people that run “Your Club” and without these we wouldn’t have a club. Albeit I appreciate that on a wet and rainy Monday in February that people are too busy to attend an AGM…..but I reach out to you all as “Your Club Needs You”.

We all believe that what our Cricket Club offers is a fantastic set of facilities including cricket but also on the social side….and it doesn’t run itself.

I have personally volunteered to join this great club’s committee to do more to support the running of the club……but don’t fear….you don’t need to do this…..any support, however small, helps us.

Please reach out to support “Your” Great Harwood Cricket Club.

Over and Out

Neil

Support Your Club

If you would like to support Your Great Harwood Cricket Club, let us know.

DM us via facebook or twitter, call us on 01254 884136 or complete our contact us form and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

Note – Chairman’s remarks on the AGM will follow at a later date.

Match Report – 2nd XI vs Milnrow – Away – 4th August 2019

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.

1st Innings:

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!!

2nd Innings:-

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…..

 

Neil Kennedy

Match Report – 1st XI vs Bacup CC – Away – Sunday 14th July 2019

Still reeling from how close we came to beating 2nd placed Middleton last week, on Sunday we travelled to fifth placed Bacup.

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.

 

Hi

Hi

Erm, you’ve left his changing bag here.

There?

Here?

SWEARWORD!!

 

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.

Try Again

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.

1st Innings

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.

Tea

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.

2nd Innings

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.

Game On!

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.

Summary

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.

Next Week

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.

ALR

Match Report – 2nd XI vs Bacup CC – Sunday 14th July 2019

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.

1st Innings:

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

64–1.

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.

2nd Innings:

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.

In summary

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….

 

Neil Kennedy

Match Report – 3rd XI vs Lowerhouse CC – Cliffe Park – Sunday 7th July 2019

Following a visit to Middleton yesterday with the 2s, I am back at The Cliffe today to report on our 3rd team fixture against Lowerhouse CC.

Team News

Debut today for Lewis Elliot from our u13s side as wicketkeeper. Even better he faces his sister’s boyfriend…….who will get the bragging rights?

We are batting first.

Big thanks again for Umpire Shak for supporting this game.

1st Innings:

Joel Houldsworth and Joel Bentham to open batting.

Early Wicket:- Joel Houldsworth out LBW. Score on 5-1. Alex Kennedy in at 3.

Note to Self:- I just need to time my lap round the ground now but will see which way Joel Houldsworth sets off as his batting performance isn’t going to have made him happy…not that he ever is anyway!!!

Score moves on to 17-1 off 5 overs. I must say the early exchanges of bowling are very hostile (or just terrible bowling) with bouncers and beamers striking Joel Bentham and Alex Kennedy….some bruises tomorrow I think.

Injury Alert

Young girl wicketkeeper goes off for Lowerhouse injured as ball strikes her in the shoulder…the Lowerhouse bowlers even hurting their own players! Hope she is okay as she was stumping very well.

Another injury as Joel Bentham goes off injured after being struck in the hip……it’s like a scene out of the Bodyline Series years ago.

Wicket:- Alex out LBW with score on 45-2. The ball appeared to be going way down leg side but 1 player appealed, and umpire given it. We will never know.

Player News

Good to see the return of Jason Kayley to the team for his first game of the season. Hopefully he can play a “little” part in our success today….a “small” reminder in what he can do….a good “compact” innings….playing some “short” bowling…..to “mid(get)” wicket…..and does get “stumped”.

Right on cue…..Jason plays 2 nice shots for 4 as we move to 50-2.

Score moves quickly on to 74-2 off 19 overs….going okay.

Wicket:- Rhys Holt out caught after some aggressive batting. 92-3. Tom Newton in next

Shot for 6:- Jason hits Scoreboard and breaks the last man number…….only been back a minute and causing problems!

Score moves to 100-3.

Wicket:- Newy bowled LBW for 1. Ishmael in next. Score on 102-4.

Wicket:- Kayley caught and bowled. Well batted Hobbit. Score on 115-4. Joel Bentham back in following his retirement earlier.

Score moves to 144-5. Wicket:- Joel caught mid-wicket. 144-6

Captain Ste in next to keep up the momentum….Wicket:- Ste out caught. Abid in with score on 169-7.

Wicket:- Abid caught. 171-8. Marcus in next to face last couple of overs. He holds his ground.

Innings closes on 191-8.

Decent score of us to defend hopefully on what seems to be a poor wicket. Anyway, same for both sides.

2nd Innings

Ste to open from Scoreboard end.

Abid opens from the Dog and Otter end.

Lowerhouse move to 33 off 10 overs…their 2 batters look set and are being patient.

Change bowler as Fobbit replaces Ste. He batted well, can he get us a few wickets. Yes he can……

Wicket:- bowled Kayley. 44-1.

Wicket:- bowled Kayley LBW. 44-2

Wicket:- bowled Kayley. 44-3

Chance in slips:-….over Kayley’s head….like most things probably.

Another Wicket:- bowled Abid caught Rhys. Score moved on to 49-4.

Change of bowler into the attack as Marcus comes on for Abid who bowled excellently.

Wicket:- bowled Marcus LBW. 57-5

Wicket:- bowled Marcus caught Abid. 61-6

Newsflash

Captain Ste asks Joel to bowl….he gets ready….Kayley then states he has 1 over left to bowl….Joel retreats with a really happy look on his face…hands waving around….has to be Movie Quote time…Return of the Hobbit!

Wicket:- Marcus bowled. 82-7.

Finally, a change of bowler as Joel does come on for Hobbit. We then see the remaining wickets fall as follows;

Wicket:- bowled Joel LBW. 86-8

Wicket:- bowled Marcus LBW 87-9

Wicket:- bowled Joel

88 all out

Summary

Good performance today by the boys…..we batted well to post our score and then terrorised the Lowerhouse batsman with some excellent bowling from Abid, Jason and Marcus backed up by Joel at the end.

 

Player of Match

Difficult one today with some good performances. A close decision as Jason Kayley got 41 runs and bowled figures of 8 overs, 3-20, and Marcus Hamer was 2 not out with the bat, with bowling figures of 6 overs, 4-16.

Looks like Mr Kayley just edges it…albeit he can share this one with Marcus as a “small” gesture😊

On to next week…….

 

Neil Kennedy

Match Report – 1st XI vs Middleton CC – Cliffe Park – Saturday 6th July 2019

A rare Saturday game for our 1st XI this week. Worsley Cup games taking place on the Sunday meant we were straight back at it following a fine victory over East Lancs last week.

 

Middleton would be the opponents this week. The reversal of the opening day fixture as we move into the second half of the season. We would be hoping for a reversal in outcome too, as we fell short on opening day.

On arrival at the Cliffe, there was already a group of Middleton support in attendance, having arrived on a minibus at the same time as the players.

Preview

Into our team came Kaz Masood and Ben Rogers, who would keep wicket on his first XI debut. They took the places of Stuart Maher and Allan Armer.

 

Batting first, Zeain would be Matt’s opening partner today. 

1st Innings

We got off to, in what is becoming a welcome familiar pattern, a solid if unspectacular start, both batsmen adjusting to the conditions and picking up ones and twos wherever possible. Zeain fell to a run out whilst I was changing the little man’s nappy, so I can’t comment other than to say I probably wasn’t the only one feeling a little poo.

 

This brought professional de Silva to the crease and he and Oddie continued to work the ball into gaps on what had become apparent was a difficult surface. Oddie fell with the score on 33, very soon after followed by de Silva, LBW to a ball that appeared to hit him waist high. He’s not the tallest, but his incredulity at the decision suggested it may have been a little high.

 

Ethan Houldsworth and Kaz Masood set to rebuild the innings, and took us to 50 before Kaz fell, caught of the Middleton spinner. Jack replaced him, and went soon after, picking his spot to despatch a loopy full toss – and melting it straight at the midwicket fielder, who clung on.

 

Ethan was next to go, for a very measured and important 44 ball 14, and this brought together the father and son combination of Briggsy and Cockney

They helped us to 74, before Briggs fell, another loose shot trying to pick up the rate helping the spinner Highton to his third wicket. Newton went for a 19 ball duck, before Clifford was adjudged caught behind in another contentious decision. 87-9

An assured rearguard resistance from the increasingly impressive Faheem Basharat and debutant Rogers saw us pass 100, and close without being bowled out, 102-9

Tea

The tea break saw an opportunity for me to nip home and pick up my partner and six year old daughter, who were both to attend their first game since the birth of the little man. As I picked them up, I told them we hadn’t scored many runs, but it looked like there might be enough in the wicket for us to get at them, and if we could do so early, we might have a chance. They both looked at me blankly, smiled, and asked if I’d had fun. I assured them I had.

2nd Innings

We’d missed a little of the second innings by the time we returned to the ground. Middleton were 36-1, the wicket to fall a stumping by Ben off the bowling of Paul Newton. Nevertheless, it looked as though our opponents were making short work of the target.

As we made it to the balcony…. Bosh! Wicket, stumps flying everywhere. Sanka had cleaned up number three Tierney, 36-2. In came another Tierney whilst the professional Williams was going about his business quietly at the other end.

Helmet strike – the ball beating the batsman, wicketkeeper and hitting the helmet stored behind him. Five penalty runs, not great given the low total, but probably only cost us one more than had it mot been there.

Anyway, the score had moved on to 48, this would be a great time to pick up a wicket. Newton in, bowls, and Williams smashes it straight to de Silva at cover. 48-3.

Bosh! Wicket, stumps flying everywhere. Sanka had cleaned up number four Tierney, 48-4, game on!!

Middleton Rebuild

Dempster and Shahid dug in, and rebuilded for Middleton, taking the score to 62 before the former hit Newton upwards and Jack made no mistake.

Bosh! Wicket, stumps flying everywhere. Sanka had cleaned up number six Rutter, 64-6.

Shahid continued unabated, assisted by Reece Jones, and as de Silva and Newton completed their over allocations, it looked as though they’d done enough to see our opponents home.

Kaz Masood replaced Newton and struck immediately. Shahid picked out Briggs who juggled for an age before holding on. When Masood bowled Royle two balls later, we appeared in the ascendancy, 10 runs required, two wickets left.

5 wides didn’t help at this stage, then… Masood in, flick off the legs, and a full length dive from Rogers down the legside that, from the reaction of all of our players, he could only have been inches away from taking.

What could have been a magnificent catch wasn’t, it was 4 runs, levelling the scores.

Scores Level

Faheem into the attack. Wicket  LBW!! Even at this late stage there was still fight. Middleton 9 down, and with the last man Highton facing every GHCC player was ready, waiting for a chance.

 

Left alone – Dot

Swing and a miss – Dot

Solid forward defence – Dot

Swing and a miss – Dot

….. WIDE

 

We lost on a wide. A wide that every player in a suitable position to view, including an extensive cordon and reportedly the two batsmen, were convinced was not a wide.

Summary

The game ended therefore in somewhat bizarre circumstances, but well done to Middleton on their win. Very well deserved requiring them to dig very deep. Our team can take pride in a battling performance, one that almost saw us overcome a team that is pushing Colne at the top of the table. We take 5 points from the game, 5 more than we picked up on the opening day.

Just as positive: My partner enjoyed the game and my 6 year old, who has shown no interest when I’ve brought her before, left asking if she could not only come again, but whether she could play. I’ll take her to junior training next week provided she hasn’t moved on to something else like unicorns or crisps by then.

One final note to mention the Middleton support, who were friendly, approachable and a credit to their club all afternoon. We’ll see you again soon.

Next Week

Bacup away next week, who beat us by 30 runs at the Cliffe earlier this year. Me and the little man will be up there to report on what will be our first trip to Lanehead. I’m told it’s colder than Baxenden. Better wrap up.

On to the next one

 

ALR

Match Report – 2nd XI vs Middleton CC – Away – Saturday 6th July 2019

Roving Reporter Neil Kennedy again….following a weekend off supporting Great Harwood Cricket Club’s Beer festival which I am pleased to say was a great success for the club…..not necessarily my liver!

On arrival at the ground, it appears we are going to have good weather so looking forward to a good game. The picturesque ground named Towncroft is one of my favourites that I have visited, and Middleton have played on this ground since the early 20th century so has some history.

As I tuck into my lunch, Marcus turns up for the game dropping his takeaway in the bin next to the ground (no frugal advertising in these reports but from a well known American Fast Food outlet known as the Golden Arches)….no wonder he is known as Burger Jr!

It’s all happening as Hamza turns up and sells his car in the car park…….game not started yet!

As I finish my lunch I notice a special guest in the Umpire hut…….thought Mr Kayley was playing tomorrow not today…

Anyway, on to the game…..Russ wins toss, and we bat first.

1st Innings:

Hamza and Harris to open.

Hamza 2 nice shots for 4. 14-0 off 3 overs. Making decent progress.

I make my way round the ground for my first lap….. News Alert:- Middleton groundsman looks tired…

Wicket:- Hamza bowled. 15-1. Joel Houldsworth in at 3. Unfortunately, he doesn’t last long…..Wicket:- Joel LBW. 16-2

Seb Whalley in next. We move the score on to 35-2 off 10 overs.

Wicket:- Seb out caught behind for 8. 47-3 Alex Kennedy in next. 71-3 off 20 overs.

Newsflash:- 3rd lap of the ground and good time to thank our scorer today Chris Hamer (or Burger Snr) who is settled in the scorebox with his scorer wife of the day….

110-3 off 26 overs……Harris batting really well and has moved on to 44 alongside Alex who is now on 26…..good partnership.

Wicket:- Alex out caught trying to drive one to mid-wicket (I think?!)…113-4. Paul Houldsworth in next.

Harris succeeds in getting his 50…well batted young man.

Wicket:- Harris bowled…..150-5. Captain Russ in next

Comedy Alert:- Run for single Paul shouts no…Russ turns back….then yes…Russ sets off again…where is the Benny Hill music when you need it.

A few wickets fall in the upcoming overs as follows;

Wicket:- Russ out caught. 181-5. Shovey in next. 7 overs left.

Wicket:- Paul bowled LBW. 197-7.

Wicket:- Ammer bowled. 214-8.

Wicket:- Abid out caught. 216-9.

Wicket:- Marcus bowled. 232 all out

We close the innings on a good score so hopefully we can defend this.

 

2nd Innings:

Shovey to open. Harris opens at the scoreboard

Early Wicket:- bowled Shovey caught Seb. 29-1. Good start.

Middleton move on to 42-1 off 7 overs……we need to get a breakthrough. Change of bowler as Marcus comes on for Shovey. Score 55-1.

Spectator view:- one of our supporters walks past and comments from the early overs bowled….”More extras than Ben Hur” 😊

Another change of bowler as Alex on for Harris.

Wicket:- caught & bowled Alex. 86-2.

Game proceeds and Middleton move to 105 at drinks. Run rate appears to be pretty level at this stage but their batters look set.

Change bowler as MC Ammer replaces  MC Hamer…….need to change some names for next report…highly confusing.

Newsflash:- as I take what must be my umpteenth lap of the ground I decide to visit the toilets at the other end of the ground…..unfortunately this turns into what I consider a bushtucker trial….

….thought Ant and Dec were going to turn up.

Change of bowler – Joel Houldsworth in for Alex.

Wicket:- bowled Ammer caught Paul Houldsworth in slips…….one handed…diving catch…full length to his right (that’s what Paul said anyway). 146-3.

Shot:-6 – their batsman gets 50. Well batted.

Change of bowler as Shovey comes back on for Ammer. 167-3

Wicket:- great throw from Abid in the field makes a direct hit. 193-4.

Wicket:- bowled Joel. 193-5. Got the man out who got 80. Come on boys.

Change bowler Abid for Shovey

Another Wicket:- bowled Joel caught Seb. 198-6. They need 20 off 5 overs…..

Wicket:- bowled Abid. 214-7. Change of bowler as Harris replaces Joel. They need 15 off 4 overs.

Unfortunately for us Middleton win with 3 overs spare.

Summary

This was a very close game, and we competed well, but in my view,  there were too many runs given in the field alongside some fielding errors. It was a great game to watch and we were all made very welcome by Middleton CC as their guests.

Player of Match 

Harris with his 65. Well batted

 

Neil Kennedy

Match Report – 1st XI vs East Lancashire CC – Cliffe Park – Sunday 30th June

Sunday 30th June saw us welcome East Lancs back to the Cliffe for the second time in three days, and having comprehensively beaten them in what was a dead rubber of a T20 game on Friday, hopes were high of a further victory, to get us back on track after last week’s annual wedgying at Haslingden.

This was the third and final day of our Beer Festival, which by all accounts had been a huge success. I’d been up for a couple of hours on the Saturday afternoon to catch some of our 3rd XI game, sampled a beer and listened to the afternoon singer Louis Devere who had been great, setting up on the balcony and singing as the game continued

I was impressed with the way it had all come together. Credit to the secretary for organising and all those involved in making it work. This will hopefully be the first of many such events and with the help of your feedback, we’ll refine and develop these into real community events.

Back to today; I arrived with the little man, who is becoming quite a regular now, about half an hour in. We were batting and had lost a couple of early wickets, Matt and Chris Oddie both out. This had brought Allan Armer and professional Thikshila de Silva together, who had commenced rebuilding. As we reached the clubhouse the score was 45-2 and the scoreboard was starting to look a bit brighter.

Bowling from one end for East Lancs was Phillip Aspinall, who likely had the shortest journey to the ground of all players. He had left us over the winter, and has been doing very well for East Lancs this year. He had picked up the early wicket of Chris, caught behind, but Armer and de Silva never looked troubled, steadily building a total as he and Bolton toiled their way through 10 overs each.

It was the change of bowling that saw the breakthrough, East Lancs professional Angelo Jayasinghe dropping one short, and Allan seeming to reach for it a bit, not getting all of it and picking out Aspinall at deep midwicket (cow).

Ethan Houldsworth (1) and Daniel Briggs (7) stuck around ably for a time, batting in support of de Silva who had passed 50 and was batting a little more freely. Nazakat Hussain cane in at 6 and fell LBW to Bolton (3-60) for just two runs and this triggered a mini collapse as Clifford (4), Basharat (0) and Maher (6) all fell cheaply. We had gone from 136-5 to 156-9 with Sanka 96* and in desperate need of someone to stick with him.

Enter Paul Newton. He saw out the over meaning Sanka would get a chance to reach three figures for the first time for GHCC.

A two off the third ball of the next over moved him to 98, and the field was moved in to encourage him to hit over the top. Sanka didn’t need any invitation to do this and went at the very next ball, only succeeding to sky the ball straight up towards the waiting mid on fielder…. Then this happened.

He deserved a life, having batted with such assurance, and following another two glorious Newton defensive prods, each met by huge cheers from the watching crowd, he pushed a single and strode through to 100.

From this point, he sought to have some fun. Ramp shots and reverse sweeps began to accompany the familiar cover drives and back foot punches, always measured with a single off the 4th or 5th ball of the over followed by another elaborate forward defence, and massive crowd cheer, from Newton.

By the time he holed out to long off to give Aspinall his second wicket, Sanka had reached a magnificent 141, with 18 fours and a six. The last wicket partnership was 52 and Newton had contributed perhaps the best 0* of all time.

We closed 208 all out.

2nd Innings

Such positivity at a remarkable innings somewhat masked the fact this was still a gettable score, and when East Lancs got off to a decent start, it was clear we would need to be at our best to come out on top. De Silva trapped Paul Turner LBW and Oddie’s decision to turn to the spin of Newton early proved successful as Aspinall (0) fell to a sharp legside catch by Armer, before professional Jayasinghe (4) was cleaned up by one that simply didn’t bounce.

Joe Bolton and Harry Caton dug in, and slowly began to recover the innings, but when Bolton (18) was also bowled by Newton, East lancs were 74-5 and struggling. Oddie brought himself on to bowl and proved as effective as Newton, his 10.3 overs yielding just 22 runs.

De Silva picked up the wicket of Caton, caught behind, and quickly followed this up by bowling Adam Bolton and Adeel Mohammed, both for ducks. The score was 86-8 and the game looked like being wrapped up early. Matt Oddie got his first wicket, Mark Bolton caught by Faheem Basharat, but  John Turner was batting well and fought his way to an impressive 43 with 6 fours and a six, before finding Nazakat Hussain at long off. East Lancs all out for 132.

12 points! A third victory in 5 games and, with Milnrow having lost at Bacup, we’re off the foot of the table as we reach the halfway stage.

Man of the match has to go to de Silva who not only hit one of the most entertaining innings I’ve seen in years, but followed this up with bowling figures of 4-13 from 13 overs with 6 maidens. Top effort.

A great weekend for the club, a successful festival, a T20 victory, and another League win seeing us slowly beginning to recover after what was a terrible start to the season.

Next week we welcome Middleton to the Cliffe, note that the game is being played on Saturday owing to cup commitments for some clubs on Sunday.

Here’s to having another victory to report on.

On to the next one

 

ALR

Match Report – 1st XI vs Nelson CC – Cliffe Park – 16th June 2019

After two straight away games which gave us our first win of 2019 at Rawtenstall, followed by a narrow derby day defeat at Rishton, we returned to the Cliffe on Sunday feeling positive as we welcomed Nelson.

Another week of almost incessant rain had abated, and the ever impressive drainage system had done its job, meaning although showers were forecast throughout the afternoon, it was likely we would get a game in.

Team News

Captain Matt Oddie and VC Allan Armer were unavailable for this game, meaning call ups for Zeain Ali and Chris Oddie, who would keep wicket. Chairman Stuart Maher would captain for the day.

1st Innings

As ever, we lost the toss, and were invited to bat. Matt Bunn, who has looked increasingly impressive in his run of consistent appearances, reprised his opening role, today joined by Chris Oddie.

And in what is becoming a recurring theme, we got off to a solid if unspectacular start. The pair resolute in defence and rotating the strike well whilst taking every opportunity to score against Nelson’s openers Bradley and the particularly impressive Thomson.

Runs were hard to come by, Nelson’s field placings were unorthodox but very effective and indicative that they knew their bowlers well, however as Bunn and Oddie got used to the conditions they started to find a few gaps and the score began to build. They passed 50 before Chris was caught behind for 23 in Thomson’s 10th over. This brought in professional Thikshila de Silva, on the back of concurrent scores of 82 and 91.

But it was Bunn who looked to take the game to Nelson, noticeably playing much more aggressively instantly once joined by Sanka. This didn’t last long however, he was caught to a fine diving catch by the Nelson professional Sanjika Ridma attempting to punch the ball over the legside infield. He scored 26.

Zeain joined Sanka and struggled in the face of spin from both ends. Nazir and Ridma tying down the run rate. Indeed this pressure caused the big wicket of de Silva to fall, run out attempting a second run to the sweeper on the legside boundary. Watching from the balcony we had the over before noted the fielder had a ‘good arm’, and he used it here, pinning the ball into the keeper’s gloves, who did the rest.

Faheem fell for 2 runs, and then as the rain came, Zeain also went, for an extremely hard earned 4. And suddenly our fine start had become 81-5. Another couple of maidens were dug out by Jack and Briggsy, before the umpires took us off.

Rain Delay

A mini monsoon threatened to end proceedings there and then, but just as quickly as it arrived, it cleared up and following a few minutes of Bunny running up and down with a sponge roller, we were back on.

5 overs lost – 10 left to look to set a manageable target. This would, on the face of it, be a challenge from 81-5, but analysis had shown Nelson’s games this season had shown scores of around 100-120, so we felt anything over this would give us a good chance.

We passed 40 overs and were still short of 100, but then a big straight six from Briggs off Nazir set us going. He fell, bringing in Kaz to partner Jack, and the scoring rate started to pick up. Ridma bowled out his overs with one still to bowl from the Dog and Otter end and Nelson’s decision to bring back the seam bowling of Bradley proved costly; jack despatching him into the car park three times, before sneaking a single to retain the strike for the last over.

He tried to give Nazir the same treatment first ball of the last over, but missed and was bowled. A potentially vital 34 had moved the score to 135-7.

Clifford joined Masood for the last 5 deliveries and the pair managed to add another 9 runs including a remarkable three to a dug out Yorker which didn’t get off the wicket, yet had two unsuccessful and poorly backed up runout attempts.

We ended on 144-7, with our friends DLS granting us another 5 for the lost overs. Nelson would require 150 from their 45.

Tea break

Following a hastily arranged Mikey Perrin tea (thanks Mikey), the players were back out, refreshed and fancying our chances.

2nd Innings

An early LBW for Sanka saw Crotty fall for a duck, but Khurram Nazir and Lewis Bradley both took the game to us, each hitting Faheem into the car park. Faheem was replaced by Maher and immediately he had the dangerous Nazir caught to a brilliant one-handed diving catch from Sanka, Nelson 37-2 in the 10th over.

Sanka was proving unplayable at the other end, and he clean bowled Lewis Bradley for 13 in the next over. 37-3.

The talented Pettinger was joined by professional Ridma, but with Sanka flying and Stuart tying the batsmen down at the other end, the run rate slowed dramatically. They added a further 9 before Ridma got a leading edge to a Maher delivery, the ball looping up and seeming set to fall safe around level with the stumps short of what would have been mid off. But out of nowhere came Sanka; running in from cover, he full length Klinsmann dived, taking the ball inches from the ground at the very end of his reach. Chris Oddie later said it was ‘the greatest catch he’d ever seen live’. Whails it was admittedly very special, he’s clearly never seen a 3rd XI game with ALR at gully.

Runs continued to be hard to come by, and when Jack Bradley (one of five Bradley’s in today’s Nelson team) was run out by some fine work from Zeain, Nelson were 57-5 and struggling.

Sanka completed 10 overs with unbelievable figures of 2-7 with 5 maidens, and was replaced by Kaz Masood as the skies darkened. Rain was due, and the Nelson batsmen knew it. We’ve had some work done on our scoreboard over the winter, meaning not only does it now work, it also has a live DLS par score showing. This showed that Nelson were some way behind.

Pettinger and Thomson looked to attack where they could, but Masood and Maher, aided by a markedly improved fielding display, kept the rate well below the par score, and when the rains came after 24 overs, Nelson were 70-5, with the par score 86.

In such a strong position, our lads were hoping to get back out there to seek to bowl out our opposition, but unlike the earlier shower, the rain this time filled in and showed no sign of abating. The umpires gave it every chance, but at 7pm the decision was made to call it. Captains shook hands and we picked up our second victory of the season.

GHCC WIN

10 points! We now have 2 wins in 3 and whilst we find ourselves still bottom of the table but we’re no longer cut off.

image courtesy of Nigel Stockley / lancashireleague.com

Summary

Another impressive performance, and one that showed we have the capability to post a defendable score on a day Sanka didn’t go big with the bat. Sanka really was a class apart second innings though, two remarkable catches and his bowling unplayable throughout. He really is looking to have found his feet having now adapted to conditions in the UK.

One note – Apologies to any visitors who found there was no food available on Sunday. Our caterer was called away last minute for a family emergency and we were unable to find alternative provision.

Next Week

Next week sees T20 away at Church on Friday, a FOURTH attempt to play our Worsley Cup game at Clitheroe on Saturday and then a trip to Haslingden on Sunday. Here’s to another victory or three to report on.

 

ALR

Match Report – 2nd XI vs Nelson CC – Away – 16th June 2019

A bit of a shock to have a game on today following the recent Monsoon season. I have packed the car with every variation of coats and jackets I could put my hands on.

Today we make the short journey up the M65 to Nelson. We need to get back to winning ways following last 2 poor defeats. As we arrive at the ground the weather appears fine with breaks of sunshine through the clouds…..

So, what can I tell you about Nelson……..well obviously the birthplace of Horatio…….albeit from the ground you can’t see the docks where he would have parked his boat. The story goes he lost his eye in nearby Colne (or was it Corsica – not sure). Anyway, let’s hope our “Voyage” is worth the while…..and we “Sail” home with a “HMS” victory…………as we “wave” goodbye to our run of defeats. A few stumpings from Ben “Jolly” Rogers would be good as well.

We win toss and Captain Paul Houldsworth (in Russ’ absence) decides to bowl.

1st Innings:

Bottom Whiteheads to open bowling from Scoreboard end, whilst 3rd Team Captain Ste Schofield opens from clubhouse end.

Early Wicket:- bowled Ste. 23-1 off 5 overs.

Chance:- to slips, unlucky as a difficult chance to Andy Brown. Nelson move their score on to 36-1 off 10 overs. Some good bowling at both ends from Ste and Tanny.

Change of bowler as Ethan Houldsworth comes in for Tanny.

Another change of bowler As Alex Kennedy replaces Ste.

Wicket:- bowled Alex stumped Ben as the batsman impersonates someone off Strictly Come Dancing doing the Mumba down the wicket. Score is 59-2

We reach drinks (which is unusual of late as the only fluids I have seen is the rain tipping down. Score – 87-2.

Captain Paul mixes up our attack with another change of bowler as MC Ammer comes on for Ethan.

Fitness Alert:- Ste is like a magnet to the ball today putting in some miles in the field….fielding really well.

Wicket:- bowled Ammer caught Ethan. Score has moved to 114-3. Change of bowler as Joel on for Alex.

Wicket:- bowled Joel caught…..yes you guessed it…..Ste. 123-4

Weather Alert:- Yes……Rain starts to come down. The game continues as the players stay out there….hopefully only a shower….change of bowler as Harris on for Ammer. 156-4

Change bowler from the clubhouse end as Tanny on for Joel. Their batsman having a good knock and with 6 overs left moves on to his half century. Well batted (the round of applause is deafening from the 3 people watching). Heard later he got £1.22 in his collection……will lend him 8p to get a pint of Orange😊.

Wicket:- the Nelson young batsman out caught & bowled Tanny. Well batted for 22. Score creeps up to 195-5.

Wicket:- bowled Tanny. 195-6…..he would have been on a hat trick but end of over.

Wicket:- bowled Harris caught behind. 195-7

Wicket:- LBW bowled Harris.

Nelson finish on 197-8.

Good performance especially at the end and some really strong fielding.

2nd Innings:

Ben Rogers and Alex Kennedy to open batting.

Unfortunately the early partnership is broken as Wicket:- Ben out. In comes Andy Brown at 3. Score is 7-1.

Wicket:- Alex caught behind frustratingly as looked set. Score 29-2. Ethan in at 4.

A good partnership forming with Andy and Ethan as we move score on to 43-2 off 15 overs.

Wicket:- Andy bowled. Score on 44-3. Harris Masood in next.

The new pair don’t last long together as they go for a very tight run…..Wicket:- Ethan run out. Score 50-4. Mr Happy in next.

Wicket:- Joel (Mr Unhappy) bowled. Score 60-5….albeit we do have a good chance here with the overs left.

Captain Paul in next. Another strong innings here could lead us to victory.

As drinks break arrives score moved to 62-5.

Hate to say it but above us the clouds appear to be closing in again…..Score 84-5….20 overs left. Need 114 off the remaining overs.

Captain Houldsworth starting to hit out….6….and a 4.

Wicket!- Harris bowled. Score 112-6. Shovey in next as the rain starts to form.

Unfortunately, rain stops play with score on 114-6.

Various conversations now being had with various scores being called out as everyone tries to calculate the Duckworth Lewis (thought this was an Estate Agents!) Marcus (our scorer) informs me we are behind the run rate.

30 minutes on……..Doesn’t look like we will get back on.

Captain Paul shakes the hand of the Nelson Captain as Game called off. According to our scorer Marcus we get 4 points as we were behind Run rate.

Summary

Unfortunately, the weather ruins another weekend of cricket for our lads. I truly felt if the rain hadn’t arrived we would have gone on to win this game.

Difficult to pick a player of the match, but will give it to Ste Schofield for his tireless efforts in the field. Well done Ste.

On to next week……

Neil Kennedy

Match Report – 1st XI vs Rishton CC – Away – 9th June 2019

On the back of last week’s win at Rawtenstall, we went into today’s local derby game with a renewed sense of confidence, one not remotely diminished by the poor weather, which had put paid to the previous two days’ scheduled fixtures.

Today was brighter, one of those grey days with the remnants of puddles from previous wetness and a little drizzle in the air but not enough to consider it at any point raining. Today we would have a game. And what a game.

1st Innings

Arriving at Rishton, I found we were batting, and following last weeks solid start, we would see the Oddie/Bunn combination once again at the top of the order.

Rishton’s chairman would umpire today at square leg, as one of the standing umpires was not present.

We got off to a fine start, taking 17 off the Rishton captain’s first three overs, before he took himself off, turning to the spin of Mall to pair their professional Amjad.

From this point, progress was slow. Oddie fell with the score on 39, bowled by Mall, bringing professional de Silva to the crease. He and Bunn battled well under difficult conditions, moving the score to 69 before Bunn was trapped LBW by the particularly impressive Mall.

Allan Armer came in as Amjad was replaced with the leg spin of Eddleston. On the back of his explosive 56 last week, hopes were high of further entertainment this week. Alas it was not to be; Eddleston dropped one short and, having sensed an opportunity to cash in, Armer hit it hard, but straight to the man at cover.

Kaz Masood (3) and Jack Hussain (3) both stuck around for a while, supporting Sanka who was quietly going about his business at the other end, and Danny Briggs (6), facing his old team also provided able support, without being able to get the ball away freely.

Sanka Picks up the Pace

The wicket of Briggs seemed to trip a switch in Sanka, who started to hit boundaries for fun. He passed 50 and in no time was approaching what would have been a well deserved century.

He took Eddleston for three concurrent sixes at the start of an over, before attempting to give the fourth ball the same treatment, and being caught on the edge, at the top of long on’s reach, from a shot that seemed to come off the toe of the bat. A remarkable 91 from 80 balls, with the last 51 of those coming in just 22 balls.

Following Sanka’s dismissal, Paul Clifford continued to take the game to Rishton, hitting a six and two fours in a run a ball 23, before Maher and Newton contributed another 24, including a big 6 off the pro for the latter, helping us to reach 211-9.

A competitive score, but one Rishton would have gone into the tea break feeling they could chase.

2nd Innings

We opened the bowling with the combination of de Silva and Maher. A trip to the bar to catch the end of the football meant I missed the first wicket, Taylor caught by Briggs off Maher leaving Rishton 20-1, but bringing the dangerous Mansoor Amjad to the crease.

He and Patel put on 82 for the second wicket, grinding out runs as our spinners, Briggs and the in-form Newton made run scoring difficult without ever looking like taking a wicket. With overs in hand, the game was getting away from us. We needed a wicket, we certainly needed Amjad out.

Oddie threw the ball to Faheem, and very first ball he got the breakthrough. Surprising Amjad with a little extra pace than he was perhaps expecting and trapping him LBW. When he followed this up with the subsequent wickets of Patel (44) and Sanderson (7), and Leathert fell at the other end caught by Bunn off the bowling of Maher, Rishton were 146-5 and looking some way off the target.

Their captain Boddie was still there, and we’ve seen before how capable a batsman he can be, but he needed somebody to stick with him. Afsak Patel more than provided this service, not only supporting, but taking 20 off one over to relieve the pressure of a building requires run rate and leave our opponents needing 4 an over with 7 to go.

Patel was out, caught behind off the returning de Silva, and for the second straight week, we took the game to the last over.

Last Over

Rishton needed four to win, Maher to bowl, Boddie on strike.

First ball – dot – through to the keeper – 4 off 5

Second ball – 2 to long off – 2 required off 4

Field all brought in to prevent the single, forcing the batsman to hit over the top to score

Third ball – SIX – slightly short and clobbered over the legside towards the scoreboard. Rishton win, and Boddie reached 50 in the process.

Summary

Not the result we were after, but a great game to watch, as all of the derbies between ourselves and Rishton have been since our move to the Lancashire League.

We move on to next week, still rooted to the foot of the table but with many positives to take. We’ve been much more competitive in recent weeks and whilst at times this season we’ve been outplayed, this result was nothing of the sort. A game of fine margins that we were right in to the very last and had a few things fallen our way, we could have easily been walking away with a second straight victory.

Next Week

Next week is a busy one, seeing us play T20 away at Church on Friday, before we try for a third time to play our Worsley Cup game at Clitheroe on Saturday, then our 1st and 2nd XIs face Nelson on Sunday.

Here’s to a dry weekend, and one with a victory or four to report on.

Match Report – 2nd XI vs Church CC – Home – 9th June 2019

After a washout yesterday where the 1st and 3rd team games were postponed due to waterlogged pitches, we welcome our near neighbours Church to The Cliffe.

I don’t believe there is anything more I can tell you about Church that you all already don’t know from my previous encounters with this club this season to date (I make it 6 including Hyndburn District games). My views of Church haven’t “Altered” though…….we have “congregated” at the ground so……..let’s “Christen” the weekend with a win……..and “Pray” we get a result….and hope “Aah Men” work well as a team. Anyway, enough of that.

The weather is fine and looking forward to a good game.

We are batting…..missed the toss so not sure who won.

 

1st Innings:

Hamza and Ben to open the innings. First couple of overs not much to report in runs but this is soon changed as….Wicket:- Hamza caught. Score 10-1.

In comes Dr Zeain at 3….not dressed in his white coat this week but playing instead.

Shot for 4:- nice shot Ben. Zeain also joins the party with a 4 & 6. The 6 managed to take one bounce then hit Hamza’s car….which sources at the ground tell me it has just been put up for sale. Anyway, comes with an added feature now……a dent!

Incident Alert:- a nice shot for 4 is stopped by their fielder by his foot….great piece of fielding stopping the ball inches from the boundary rope…apart from when he returned to pick the ball up his foot was grounded outside the rope….surely a 4? 2 runs signalled, and the fielder remains very quiet…..great sportsmanship.

Wicket:- Zeain out LBW playing an aggressive shot. Score 27-2. Ethan Houldsworth in at 4

Car Park Announcement:-

Hamza moves car from where Zeain struck it to another part of the car park……..is it only me that finds it funny that he moves it in front of “Cars parked at Own Risk” sign.

Wicket:- Ben caught behind. 37-3. Unlucky as was batting well and looked set. Harris Masood in at 5….albeit doesn’t last long as is run out. 37-4 Captain Russ in next.

Newsflash:- Dobbo is here….must be free to get on today.

Ethan hits a single resulting in Captain Russ “sprinting” to make ground. Russ duly turns to what seems to be thanking Ethan for the run, stating……”what you doing you numpty”.

Wicket:- Russ caught. Score moved on to 46-5.

Paul Houldsworth in next. Father and Son partnership can hopefully stabilise proceedings and get us out of trouble.

Unfortunately not…..Wicket:- Ethan run out (don’t want to be part of the debate in the Houldsworth household later!). 47-6. Shovey in next, but doesn’t last long…Wicket:- Shovey out. 48-7.

An order reshuffle by the captain sends Alex Kennedy in next. Need someone to stay with Paul. This is also a first with Alex batting with his Coach for the first time in a competitive match.

Shot:- 6…Paul nearly takes his daughter out with a great shot…but great family teamwork as Ethan plucks the ball out of the air before it hits his sister….Well done Ethan.

Score on 59-7.

Paul and Alex seem to have stopped the wicket fall with some nice shots from Paul and some good defensive batting from Alex. After putting on a decent partnership (for today anyway)…..Wicket:- Alex caught behind final ball before drinks. Score 77-8.

MC Ammer in next – with clear instructions from the captain to stay there. Unfortunately,……Wicket:- Ammer bowled. Score 78-9. Must state at this point later in the day at Rishton Ammer did say that if the bat had hit the ball it would have gone for a 6….but as Paul reminded him……it didn’t!!

Bottom Whiteheads in last to try and get us to 100…….nice time in report for a Sponsorship mention and thanks for supporting the club……

Quite factual really as today probably doesn’t need to stay open that late as we will be finished early!

Wicket:- Tanny caught. We finish on 90 all out.

In summary not one of our best batting performances bar runs from Paul Houldsworth and a too brief partnership between Alex and Paul. Some silly run outs also added to our woes.

 

2nd Innings:

Tanny to open bowling from the Dog and Otter end. Paul to open from the Scoreboard end….hoping we get off to a good start with a couple of early wickets.

Early exchanges are tight albeit we can’t seem to find a breakthrough. Change of bowler as Ethan comes on for Tanny.

Score is 17-0 off 9 overs.

Change of bowler at the other end as Alex replaces Paul who has bowled excellently with 5 overs, 0 wickets for 2 runs. Score is creeping up at 24-0 off 11 overs.

Some more tight exchanges between bowlers and batters sees score move on to 46-0….off 17 overs. We desperately need a wicket but doesn’t look like we will get one.

Anyway we do……Wicket:- bowled Alex caught Harris. Score 47-1.

Change bowler as Zeain replaces Ethan. The captain is mixing the bowling up to either try and get a breakthrough or realising the game is slipping share the workload around.

Change bowler as Ammer comes on for Alex…..(to bring some Gas…still don’t know what this means or whether he works in a petrol station……anyway lets “pump” it up Ammer!. Score moved on to 68–1.

Newsflash:-

Don’t know what’s worse, watching our team struggle like this……or sitting with Mr Happy!! Actually, looks kind of happy in this photo….or he has wind!

Unfortunately, the game moves on to 27 overs and Church need 1 to win. Shortly after…..Game Over.

Summary – we didn’t seem to get going today with either bat or ball.

Player of Match

Has to be Paul Houldsworth for his batting performance of 36 not out and then bowling figures of 5 overs 0 for 2.

On to the next one…..you’ll be pleased to know not before another visit to Church next Friday in the T20 game…..will report back whether the Sky Sports Shed is open or the bar.

Neil Kennedy