So to the first of two consecutive August double header weekends, with Clitheroe and Crompton the opposition. First up, Clitheroe on Saturday, with the 1st XI at home.
August is holiday season, and today’s line up omitted such regular names as Patrick Swanney, Allan Armer, Paul Newton and captain Paul Houldsworth. Such holiday issues also affect clubs off the field too, and 1995-1997 2nd XI scorer Richard Law-Riding had been brought out of retirement at the cost of ‘a few Morettis’
Only that didn’t happen, unlike in 1995-1997, he now has a job, and whilst present, he was unable to take up his position at the start owing to some urgent task that needed sorting. Moretti on hold, and we needed a scorer….
I arrived at the ground pondering whether to sit on the balcony or commence a few gentle laps of the field. Instead within 5 minutes I have a laptop and a scorebox to commandeer. I protest that I need to leave briefly in an hour, but with a distinct lack of available alternatives, I’ve got the job. Woop.
In came two players for Lancashire League debuts, Mark Leach and, having returned to the field for a T20 game the previous week following several years’ absence, Matthew Houldsworth.
Cloudy, overcast conditions meant the game was able to start on time, with Stuart Maher losing the toss and, after a week of persistent rain, we were predictably asked to bat.
Richard Shovelton opened with Matt Oddie, and with Marcus Sharp and Fawad Alam bowling in conditions extremely favourable for the fielding side, we found runs extremely hard to come by. That said, in the seven overs I watched from the box before tagging in Chairman/Captain and now Scorer Stuart for a stint scoring (village we know but needs must – I did genuinely have to leave briefly) there were more overs on the board than runs.
On my return, both Shovey and Matt were out, and the score had crawled forward, and we were into the 30s as the drinks break approached.
Phil Aspinall (39) and Ash (45) dug in, seeing off the opening bowlers and picking up runs where the few opportunities to do so arose. But when their wickets fell in quick succession, followed by the attacking Jack first ball, we were 104-5 with only 6 overs to go. Sohail Ali was out trying to force the issue, but Chris Oddie and Matt Houldsworth scrambled a further few runs, and we closed on a rather modest 129-6.
Having helped roll and sweep the wicket at tea, I’m despatched again to the scorebox. Brother Richard had taken over midway through the first innings but again had work business to attend to. Clitheroe began the run chase, with Aspinall and Maher doing all they could to defend our total in (marginally) improving batting conditions.
Lang and Mulligan saw off the pair, taking Clitheroe to 35 before the former skied one off the bowling of Zeain Ali, his first 1st XI league wicket (he did get the Rishton professional out in the T20 last year). This brought the Clitheroe captain Dewhurst to the crease and he and Mulligan broke the back of the chase. By the time he was out, to a great catch by Ash off the bowling of Leach, another maiden 1st XI wicket, the score was 90. Professional Alam came in and saw Clitheroe home, Mulligan reaching an impressive 50 in the process of hitting the winning runs.
So no points, a disappointing result but not entirely unexpected against last year’s champions with several senior players missing. There were a few positives to take from the game, the return of Matt (who you’ll still never run out) and wickets for Zeain and Mark, and plenty to ponder ahead of the next weekend.
Oh and we need to get the scoreboard fixed – we’re already on it – apologies to anybody it annoyed, the issues were beyond our control