Match Report 1st XI vs Clitheroe – Home – Saturday 18th August 2018

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

Weekend Review – 2017 Season Round 10

FRIDAY 16TH JUNE

T20 v Rawtenstall CC (h)
Rawtenstall 124-6 – GHCC 125-1
GHCC win by 9 wickets

Image courtesy of Nigel Stockley and lancashireleague.com

Image courtesy of Nigel Stockley and lancashireleague.com

The Moorhouses T20 resumed on Friday with GHCC needing a win in order to retain any hope of progressing from the group following disappointing defeats against holders Church and away at Bacup.
With Harwood bowling first, Rawtenstall got off to a flyer, professional Andrew Payne hitting 2 fours and a six before falling to a stunning diving catch at cover by Ashen Silva.
Rizwan Shafiq scored an impressive 38 off just 28 balls and it looked for a time as though we would be chasing a hefty total. But a tight spell  from Ashen Silva (1-12), 3 wickets from Paul Newton and some excellent bowling at the death from Stuart Maher pegged them back, leaving us 125 to win.
In response, we were never really troubled. Allan Armer looked very good for his 25, and on another day would have been double that as he hit the ball hard straight at fielders multiple times, whilst at the other end Ash went about his business as impressively as we have become accustomed.
Allan was bowled by Adil Hussain, but this brought Hamim Miah to the crease. He hit 2 fours and 2 sixes on his way to a 25 ball 34, with Ash passing 50 as we reached the target with 2 overs to spare.
Ash closed 58* including 7 fours and a six, and this, coupled with his 1-12 meant he picked up the Moorhouses man of the match award.
So a win, which will have undoubtedly delighted some of our newest Twitter fans. For those new visiting the site, we have a comments section at the end of each post in case you need more than 140 characters to express your thoughts.
No T20 next week, but we’re back in action on Friday 30th June, travelling to Rishton for what could be a winner progresses game.

SATURDAY 17TH JUNE

2nd v Accrington CC (a) – Telegraph Cup
Accrington 204-9 – GHCC 189-9
GHCC lose by 15 runs
By Tim Holden
On a hot, sunny day in Accy the seconds came up just short in the cup quarter finals.
Captain Sohail Ali won the toss and chose to field (!). The seconds were bolstered by the inclusion of Russell Whalley and Matt Bunn but found themselves hampered early on by the late arrival of Adam Masood.
Accrington started well with the bat posting 77 before the fall of the first wicket in the 21st over. Greenwood fell just short of a half-century on 49. As Zeain Ali and Harris Masood found little swing and movement captain Solo turned to the experience of Whalley with the ball. Russ was quick to find an accurate line and length and bowled an excellent spell of ten overs for just 19 runs. He also picked up the wicket of Ramiz Hussain for a duck with an excellent delivery that moved sharply on the batsman to remove his middle stump.
Nevertheless, Accrington continued to look to score with intent against Harwood’s pace bowlers. With Adam Masood unable to bowl until the very end of the innings Geoff Allen came on and did what he always does. Tight bowling from Allen saw the Accrington batsmen frustrated as he picked up 4-32 from his ten overs.
Although a score of 200+ looked good it was still the case that Harwood required just over four an over on what looked a decent batting wicket. However, the GHCC batsmen found it difficult to score at the required rate. Opener Timmins was removed for four before poor calling from Holden ran out the unfortunate Chris Oddie. This brought Matt Bunn came to the crease though and he began to take the attack to Accrington. When he was joined in the middle by Russell Whalley hopes were renewed that Harwood might chase down the runs.
However, Accrington, with economical bowling and clever field placement, kept the rate in check. Pressure built as Whalley was removed for 35 and was soon quickly followed by Solo Ali (2). This left the late order a little too much to do. Despite a spirited effort from Adam Masood, Ammar Malik and Zeain Ali the seconds fell 16 runs short.
It was also pleasing to see the game played in the right spirit as Accrington, bucking a seeming recent trend, didn’t feel it necessary to give every single batsman an unnecessary send off. For that reason alone I wish them every success in the next round.

SATURDAY 17TH JUNE

3rd v Clitheroe CC (a)
GHCC 158-9 – Clitheroe 151-8
GHCC win by 7 runs
On Saturday our 3rd XI travelled to play Clitheroe 4 and, with captain Richard Law-Riding out likely for the season having dislocated his knee trying to Cruyff turn a ten year old, the baton was again passed to Ste Schofield.
Batting first, Matt Oddie (24) and Seb Whalley (11) set us on our way, posting 36 before Sen fell in Palmer’s first over. Palmer (4-19) wreaked havok tearing through our top order as we crumbled to 45-4.
David Holt provided some resistance with a battling 15, but when he fell we were 89-7 and struggling.
Enter Niall Holt. His 57* from 70 balls included 7 fours and a six. He was ably supported by our lower order including a 13 ball 0* from debutant Alex Kennedy, which enabled Niall to add 18 vital runs, passing 50 in the process. GHCC closed 158-9
In response, Clitheroe looked to be cruising to victory, as they reached 115-3 from 26 overs, however a magnificent spell of bowling from both Matthew Oddie (2-21) and Niall Holt (3-12) restricted Clitheroe to a further 36 runs from the last 14 overs as we pulled off an unlikely victory, as they finished 8 down and just 7 runs short of the target.
A satisfying win, with Niall Holt clearly the MVP but Ste’s captaincy reported by many to have also been a key factor.
On to the next one!

SUNDAY 18TH JUNE

1st v Lowerhouse CC (a)
Lowerhouse 333-5 – GHCC 254-6
GHCC lose by 79 runs

Image courtesy of Nigel Stockley and lancashireleague.com

Image courtesy of Nigel Stockley and lancashireleague.com

So, the sun was shining, it was baking hot, hotter than a McDonald’s Apple Pie, and Captain Chaos, the unlucky tosser, struck again and we found ourselves, not unsurprisingly, being asked to field.
But it was the second ball of the match that shaped the entire day, when Lowerhouse opener and captain Ben Heap was given not out caught behind, much to the disbelief of almost everyone in attendance, including the non-striking batsman Barlow.
We hoped that this decision would not affect the game, but a club record 175 out of a club record 333 might indicate otherwise.
Players were unhappy at the captains on field admission that he had in fact hit the ball, and unhappier at the umpires apology at the interval that he may have got it wrong.
Nonetheless on an excellent track for batting  and with memories of a good batting display at Todmorden fresh in our memories, we set off with the belief we could get the runs.
It was great to see wicketkeeper Armerstar bat beautifully for his 74, falling only to a caught and bowled off a Martin full toss.
Another (standard) 50+ score from Ashen kept us in with a sniff of a chance, but as we tried to accelerate and pull off the most remarkable of run chases, the loss of key members of the upper order and a reality check saw us confidently bat out the remaining overs, with excellent contributions throughout from Chippers, Houldsy and Yousuf saw us get to 254-6 in our 50 overs.
Perhaps the difference in the sides was illustrated by the batsman’s decision to stand  his ground and our professionals instant reaction to not claim a catch that some may well have tried to say they had. And that only cost us 132 runs too!

SUNDAY 18TH JUNE

2nd v Lowerhouse CC (h)
GHCC 163-9 – Lowerhouse 168-5
GHCC lose by 5 wickets
By Tim Holden
On Sunday the second eleven entertained Lowerhouse at The Cliffe. Solo Ali once again won the toss and with another hot day in prospect chose to bat (hooray!).
Unfortunately Harwood’s batting was not able to make this count as the early wickets of Qayoom (8), Chris Oddie (3), Adam Masood (5) and Freddie Timmins (10) saw the seconds reduced to 37-4. However, this brought the skipper, Solo Ali, to the crease and he soon set about trying to take the attack to a lively Lowerhouse side. With three fours and two sixes Ali looked well set before misjudging a drive and being stumped for 32.
Harwood continued to battle though and refused to fold. This determination was clearly seen in a fine late-order knock from Zeain Ali who finished with 32 not out.
With just over 160 on the board it always looked likely that Harwood would struggle to restrict Lowerhouse and would be in need of wickets. Things looked promising when Zeain Ali picked up the wicket of Simm in the second over.
However, Lowerhouse captain, Deakin-Pickard (and you’ll note that I’ve avoided a Captain Picard joke here) led from the front with the next generation of Lowerhouse players (ok, so I haven’t) supporting him. Lowerhouse continued to score freely with Deakin-Pickard adding a fine 89 not out. He would surely have gone on to a century had the runs been there. He was ably supported by Wright (23) and Uttley (24). Lowerhouse were home with thirteen overs to spare.
S forward to next week, where our First and Second teams face Accrington, whilst our 3rd XI make the trip to Todmorden.

Hawks Junior Cricket Update

Most of our Hawks Junior Teams have now started their seasons, and so I felt it appropriate to provide a roundup detailing how we are progressing.

Our under 9s lost their first game at home against East Lancs, but have since bounced back with wins against Clitheroe and Lowerhouse.

The Under 11s have so far blown away all sides they have faced. Four straight victories have seen Paul Newton’s side beat Enfield and both Haslingden sides, before a convincing win against Clitheroe last night, scoring 306 before restricting them to 173.

Our under 13s have won their three league games so far, beating Burnley, Church and Ramsbottom, but were soundly beaten in the cup by Lowerhouse.

A later start to the season than other sides for our Under 15s, but they remain unbeaten after two games. Victory over Lowerhouse last Wednesday was followed up with a tied game at Clitheroe, both teams scoring 112.

The Under 18s haven’t yet started. We took the decision to enter the Birchall Cup and this gets underway in early July.

So a very positive start. Overall as a Junior section we have 10 wins from 13 games and only two losses.

There will be weekly progress updates posted on this site, keeping  you informed on each of our teams. We will also look to include league tables with these updates should these become available.

PLAYED
WON
TIED
LOST
HAWKS – (ALL TEAMS)
13
10
1
2
HAWKS U9
3
2
0
1
HAWKS U11
4
4
0
0
HAWKS U13
4
3
0
1
HAWKS U15
2
1
1
0
HAWKS U18
0
0
0
0

Weekend Review – 2017 Season Round 8

FRIDAY 2nd JUNE

T20 vs Church CC (h)
GHCC 117-5 – Church 118-5

Image courtesy of Nigel Stockley and www.lancashireleague.com

Image courtesy of Nigel Stockley and www.lancashireleague.com

Report by The Wall

On Friday evening T20 cricket returned to The Cliffe with the visit of last year’s champions, Church CC. Although a somewhat daunting fixture against a strong team Great Harwood, having often seen success in the Ribblesdale League version of this competition, were confident of giving a good showing.

Friday wasn’t a great day weather-wise. It had rained fairly consistently all day but, once again, the investment in our drainage facilities clearly paid off as play started on time. GHCC skipper, Patrick Swanney, again proved to be a useless tosser as Church asked Harwood to bat first.

Ashen Silva looked to start positively with the bat and hit a couple of sixes before mistiming a pull through the legside and he went for 15. Allan Armer looked bemused, along with most of the ground, when Church confidently appealed for something that bounced. The umpires were unimpressed but it made little difference as he was unable to contribute with his usual big hitting. Hamim Miah threatened to go big with a lively 35 but it seemed that the Harwood batting could never really seize the initiative.

Church’s reply got off to a shaky start as David Kendall removed the dangerous Wolfenden for only 1. However, in doing so Kendall seemed to pick up an injury that would limit his contribution with the ball. Captain Swanney tried rotating between spin and seam but Church looked comfortable with a target that was less than a run-a-ball. Hopes were renewed when Silva removed Church’s pro Abbas. He was out to a fine catch from Matt Oddie for 35. Oddie also contributed 2-17 from his three overs of off spin. However, 28 from former Ossy batsman Francis Kinsella and 24 from Holt pushed Church close to victory. Harwood took five wickets but were never able to apply the pressure needed and Church were home with two overs to spare.

Oh, and for some reason Rhys Holt was dressed like a combination between James Bond and a Chippendale.

SATURDAY 3rd JUNE

1st v Todmorden (a)
Todmorden 274-7 – GHCC 204-7 (36 overs -Target 217)

Image courtesy of Nigel Stockley and www.lancashireleague.com

A second trip to Todmorden in a few short weeks for our 1st XI who, on the back of four straight defeats, including a convincing one in the Worsley Cup, could have been forgiven for fearing the worst.

Bowling first, we struggled to make any initial impact, as Todmorden opener Pearson and professional Smuts built a formidable partnership. When Pearson fell for 75, despite the economical bowling of Ashen Silva, the score was 175-2 with the best part of 20 overs remaining and things were looking ominous.

The reintroduction to the attack of Stuart Maher proved pivotal, with two quick wickets of Sutcliffe and the dangerous Smuts (87) halting the momentum Todmorden had built. Richard Shovelton proved equally as effective at the other end, closing with figures of 3-57 from his 11 overs as Todmorden were pegged back, yet still able to post a challenging 274-7.

The rain came during the tea interval, and whilst conditions were considered conducive to starting the run chase, the early overs were beset with several short rain delays. Allan Armer fell for 5 bringing Ashen Silva in to accompany Matthew Oddie as we chased 217 from 36 overs.

Ash batted magnificently for 92 before holing out attempting to make a final push art the target. He was ably supported by all who batted with him, alas we fell just short 13 runs short of the target.

Still, plenty of positives to take despite a further defeat. We know there are a lot of quality sides in this league, and that setbacks will come from time to time, but we are showing signs of finding our feet and will only get stronger as we go on.

On to the next one.

2nd v Todmorden (h)
Todmorden 115 – GHCC 118-9
Report by Tim Holden

Sohail Ali’s seconds got back to winning ways on Saturday with a second victory of the season against a strong Todmorden side.

After defeating the same side in the Telegraph Cup Great Harwood were able to just about sneak across the line again in a low-scoring and tense affair at The Cliffe. The seconds were missing a few players; particularly the runs of Richard Shovelton who had been elevated to the first eleven. Tod’s scorer was absolutely distraught when she realised that Jason Kayley was not playing.

Captain Solo won the toss and stuck Todmorden in. This decision was rewarded by some fine early seam bowling from Zeain Ali and Phil Aspinall (not Stephenson as the scorecard suggests). Ali picked up the two early wickets of Gee and Abbas and Aspinall’s figures would have looked a lot better but for an unfortunate drop in his final over. Harris Masood then entered the fray bowling tightly and with movement to finish with 2-16. Solo then turned to Geoff Allen who, as always, was soon amongst the wickets, ending with 4-16.

This left Harwood to chase 116 – a very similar figure to the one that Tod failed to reach in the cup a month ago. It soon looked as though there was to be no repeat of this as GHCC were quickly reduced to 24-4. However, a fifty run partnership between opening bat Holden and Aspinall looked to steady the ship. Nevertheless, in steadying said ship the run rate began to climb. Tight bowling from Tod captain Ali ably supported by fellow spinner Doyle meant that the runs didn’t exactly flow. Wickets began to fall as Harwood searched for the runs. Ten were required from the final over but Adam Masood was not to be daunted by this task and he got Harwood over the line.

A tense finish but a satisfying win.

Image courtesy of Nigel Stockley and www.lancashireleague.com

Weekend Review – 2017 Season Round 7

SATURDAY 27th MAY

3rd XI vs Rawtenstall CC (h)
Rawtenstall 103 – GHCC 104-5
Report by Wayne Fitzharris

Great Harwood’s solid batting line up secured a 5 wicket win with over twelve overs to spare to defeat a 9 man Rawtenstall line up, Great Harwood secured an impressive victory, with an undefeated Leach and Allen at the crease.

Allen won the toss, elected to field, and opened the bowling with Mark Leach and Ammar Ali. Leach opened with pacey accurate swing bowling, three failed LBW shouts later and some very strict wide decisions, Leach finally got his wicket with a swinging half volley well caught behind by Freddie Timmins.

At the other end, Spinner Ammar failed to get the accuracy he normally commands and was replaced by Aftab “Tabby” Hussain, whose variety of bowling options finally opened the game up.

Leach was replaced by schoolboy, Ethan Houldsworth, whose first bowl was a nervous large wide followed by a short pitched long hop, which hit the opening Batsman plumb on the back foot… a slowly raised finger and Houldsworth had his man and went on to bowl 5 overs for 9 runs putting the breaks on Rawtenstall’s batting effort with some accurate seam bowling.

Tabby continued with his bowling variety at the other end. Unperturbed by some loud vocal advice, Tabby persisted and took 3 wickets, 2 bowled and one caught behind by Freddie Timmins. After a brief torrential downpour and thunderstorm, covers on, covers off and lot of water dropped on the pitch,  the umpires decided to continue without delay, Tabby continued and gratefully  collected another wicket.

Joel Bentham replaced Houldsworth, and although quicker in pace, lacked accuracy at times. Yet he bowled well and was rewarded with a deserved LBW.

Geoff Allen came on to wrap up the Rawtenstall innings, All out for 103. Job Well done by Great Harwood.

 

In reply, Great Harwood were reduced to 48-3, off 11 overs, with Niall (Holt), Zeain (Ali) and Phil Aspinall out cheaply due to some very accurate sling pace bowling from Rawtenstall’s under 14 Bowler S Khan. Freddie Timmins made a welcome return contribution of 39 runs, with some splendid counter attacking shots and excellent defensive play.  He was out and replaced by Mark Leach who continued with the defence and attacking shots, taking Great Harwood from 67-5 to 103–5, Leach scoring 23 and Allen scoring 17 with over ten overs left.

The game was good humoured and well fought with good camaraderie.  High praise must go to the Rawtenstall Umpire Jim, for his ability to umpire on a neutral playing field, whilst coaching and praising his team throughout game with cigarette in hand.  It’s just part of the peculiarity of our beautiful game.

Umpires Man of the Match would have been Freddie Timmins for two fine catches and an attacking batting display which set the foundation for our win.

SUNDAY 28th MAY

1st XI vs Clitheroe CC (h)
Clitheroe 254-4 – GHCC 175

Report by Andrew Law-Riding

Following last week’s rain affected loss at Bacup, our 1st XI took on familiar opposition in league leaders Clitheroe. Despite their fine start, we had grounds for optimism, recent games have been quite close between the two sides, last year’s Ramsbottom Cup Final being one such example.

Despite the early wicket of Charlie Dewhurst, and GHCC thinking they had followed this up soon after with the key wicket of his brother Jack when a HUGE appeal for caught behind was turned down, Clitheroe built a significant score. Ross (40) Dewhurst (91) and professionalo Fawad Alam (76*) combined as they posted 254-4.

In response, Great Harwood started steadily, before both openers Allan Armer and Mas Ahmed fell with the score on 17.

Clitheroe’s strength, aside from their ability to post large scores, lies firmly with Marcus Sharp’s accuracy. He ties up an end for 15 overs meaning any run chase is hindered and must focus predominantly on the remaining overs. Professional Ashen Silva took heed of this, and saw off the threat of Sharp, ably supported by out middle order, whilst accumulating where possible on his way to a classy 70.

As the run rate increased, Clitheroe introduced professional Fawad Alam. He decimated our middle and lower order, ending up with remarkable figures of 6-19, remarkable in that three of the six wickets were taken caught at long on and two stumped as we looked to mount a challenge.

In the end we were all out for 175, 79 short meaning Clitheroe took all 12 points and remain top of the table.

On to the next one.

2nd XI vs Clitheroe CC (a)
GHCC 184 – Clitheroe 186-6
Report by Tim Holden

An entertaining game at Chatburn Road saw second eleven captain Solo Ali lose his unbeaten record.

GHCC lost the toss and were asked to bat first by Clitheroe. Some tight bowling from Clitheroe saw the run rate restricted early on, although, as usual E. Xtras contributed a handy amount to just about keep the scoreboard ticking. Things didn’t really get going until the last twenty overs when, with wickets in hand, Harwood were able to score with a little more freedom. Haris Masood wisely decided to run Tim Holden out and Clitheroe were soon regretting this decision as they were forced to chase some leather around a dangerous looking outfield. Masood hit five boundaries for his 28 runs. He was joined by Ammar Malik who took a real liking to Clitheroe’s spinners.With four sixes and two fours Malik raced to a 31-ball fifty clearing the clubhouse on at least two occasions and sending the momentum of the game in Great Harwood’s favour.

However, Clitheroe’s seconds set about the run chase in a positive fashion. Returning wicketkeeper, Freddie Timmins, took a smart legside catch off Ali as Harwood made an early breakthrough. After this though wickets proved hard to come by. Harry Lang, after picking up three wickets in the first innings, played well with the bat scoring regularly and rarely offering a chance. Timmins again thought he had a legside catch when Lang was on 27 but it was not to be as the only signal coming from the umpire was for a wide off Aftab Hussain. A deflated Harwood found it hard to apply any pressure as Lang was well supported by Mulligan (26). He rarely looked troubled throughout the rest of his knock eventually bringing up an undefeated century. In fairness, the victory for Clitheroe rarely looked in doubt.

Teas were good.

On to the next one!

MONDAY 29th MAY

3rd XI vs Rishton CC (a)
Rishton 254-4 – GHCC 190-9

Report by Wayne Fitzharris (and adapted by ALR)

Great Harwood won the toss and elected to field on what had been a rainy overcast gloomy day, the pitch was bone dry and our bowlers competed with a saturated outfield and extremely wet ball. Any hope of swing bowling was soon forgotten.

The Rishton openers put up a stand of 162 in 29 overs, with some aggressive hitting from J Hilton, Great Harwood struggled to bowl anything competitive and nearly every delivery was met with a clean hard hit, with balls leaving the ground once or twice every over.

Joel Bentham removed his wicket keeping pads to bowl 4 overs and take 3 late wickets, allowing for 2 enormous sixes. Rishton finished on 254 runs.

After a tea break spent assessing what had just happened,  Great Harwood began the chase with skipper Richard Law-Riding (28) and Matthew Oddie (13), scoring over 8 an over in the first 4 overs.  A majestic 45 from Jason Kayley and a quick scoring 35 from (Ammar) Malik gave us great hope, however, a middle order collapse and a debatable run out ensured we would struggle in what was becoming a one sided drama.

On the field, the final ten overs were played out by Joel Houldsworth and Ammar Ali, whose impressive hard hitting and steadfast defence brought at least some cheer to Great Harwood supporters as Rishton were denied their final bowling points.  Great Harwood finished on a respectable 190-9.

Game over and time for a drink. Many lessons to learn from this one, but congratulations to Hilton for his  remarkable 169 which left us with simply too much to do.

On to the next one.

Weekend Review – 2017 Season Round 6

SATURDAY 20th MAY

1st XI vs Bacup CC (a)
GHCC 143-7 – Bacup 145-5

The much anticipated trip to the so-called ‘Coldest Ground in the World’ did not disappoint in many ways, with the bright blue skies of Saturday morning swiftly replaced – just as we set off to the match – by incessant rain and drizzle. For once the forecasters had got it spot on and we hung around until the umpires decided it as fit for play at 4.15 p.m. and we commenced a 22 over game.

Skipper Swanney again proved he is an unlucky tosser as we were invited to bat by our hosts Bacup. Matt Oddie making his season debut in the 1st XI opened with Allan Armer in a new look batting line-up. After some early impetus both openers were out and it was left to the middle order to start to build a competitive score. Decent contributions from Paul and Ash got us moving before they fell in quick succession, and we were in a spot of bother at 70-odd for 5.

But then in walked Hamim Miah. After a gentle start getting to grips with the surface, he tore apart the Bacup attack, taking a particular liking to Bacup professional Kemm. 32 were to come off his second over as Hamim’s explosive hitting got us up to 143-7 from our 22 overs.

But a good lesson was learned by Mr Miah. Oh, Mr Miah. An edged drive for two down to third man, and some lazy running led the umpire to call ‘one short’. And when a further edged drive in the last over, was caught at 3rd man, it left him agonisingly short of a maiden Lancashire League 50, his 49 coming off only 18 balls.

 

After sampling the unusual but quite magnificent teas of soup, warm beef sandwich and roasted potatoes, followed by cakes and biscuits (a 3 course meal in anyone’s eyes) we looked to take the field. However the umpires spotted that it was raining and the covers were brought on.

 

Now – this is where this match report becomes difficult to write. Well difficult without invoking a charge for social media offences from the League’s eagle-eyed disciplinary team. So – diplomacy overload in the paragraphs that follow.

We were disappointed but accepted the umpires decision that the ground was fit for play the instant the rain had stopped falling, having spent quite some time before the start of the match mopping up the square and bowlers run-ups. Very slippery conditions for all and a wet ball made it difficult for the bowlers.

But – and here’s the bit I can provide an open an honest opinion on – we were faced with the first time with the farcical and quite-frankly stupid rules relating to heavily rain affected matches. As the umpires dictated that play could recommence at 7.12 pm with a further 16 overs left to bowl, Bacup could elect to chase the full target of 144. If they got the runs, fair play to them – they win. But if they didn’t get the runs, we would win. Oh no, that’s not how it works. If they didn’t get the runs – we didn’t win – it would be a no result, unless we were successful in bowling them all out in just 16 overs.

 

So we took the field somewhat bemused, and the conditions were made more difficult by restricted views from some areas of the field, and a quite farcicial run chase began. And fair play to Bacup for keeping up with the run rate of nearly ten an over. When Paul Houldsworth was given the bowl for the last over, they required 7 to win. Then the last ball, when they needed 3 to win.

An inside edge for 4 gave Bacup a win, and were understandably upset at losing. But then it dawned on us. We had only actually lost two points, as if they hadn’t have won the most we could have got was three. One bonus point was the outcome of the truncated day.

Indeed the most farcicial of scenarios was thankfully avoided. If Bacup had been 8 or 9 wickets down, and needing 3 to win off the last ball, it would have been in our own interests to deliberately lose the game as we would have earned more points in doing so. And they say we’ve come out of the chip shop league…………

In the end were glad to get out of the game with no serious injuries, particularly with some worrying moments for the professional, captain and MVP Miah slipping in the outfield. Nonetheless, no harm done.

 

On to the next one…………..

2nd XI vs Bacup CC (h)
No Result – Rain
Report by Richard Law-Riding

We turned up after a sunny morning to persistent rain and dark clouds everywhere. Covers were on, wicket ends were drenched and the run ups politely dangerous. There were no real prospects of doing anything but sitting sulking about “waiting all week for a game just for it to do this” with the interlude of a few of Geoff’s jokes lightening the mood if not the clouds.

After a couple of hours of sitting around, and the odd game of indoor cricket, the rain eased a bit, enough to motivate us to put the rope out in the faint optimism that this was for anything other than making sure the 1st team didn’t have to do this ahead of their cup game the day after.

Despite the performance of the drainage, and Aftab’s commentary from afar that because it looked “a bit less grey” out of his bedroom window in Blackburn, prospects of play were not improving whatsoever.

After an early tea, and a number of the opposition from Bacup winning a few quid on the 3:25 at Newbury despite betting on the wrong horse, we decided to move the covers to “have a look” at the wicket we weren’t going to play on. The wicket itself was alright. Of course it was, it had been covered. It was everywhere else in Hyndburn that was wet through, not just our outfield.

Game off. 3 points each. Boring.
In fact, wet and boring, which is not a pair of words often used together.

Onto next week where we travel to Clitheroe #getforward

SUNDAY 21st MAY

3rd XI vs Accrington CC (a)
GHCC 105 all out – Accrington 109-6

Unlucky Seven

Reported by Jason Kayley

The third team’s trip to Thorneyholme Road for the first game against Accrington was a tale of dropped catches and missed opportunities.

Harwood shelled seven catches in a low-scoring affair that ultimately cost them all the points.

Accrington won the toss and put Harwood in on a very green track, and it looked to be a good decision as took wickets at regular intervals.

But skipper Richard Law-Riding steadied the ship with 21, with Jason Kayley (14) and Harris Masood (11) the only batsmen to get into double figures on a very slow outfield with extras adding 37 to a modest total of 105 all out.

With Harwood needing early wickets, the visitors spurned a whole host of chances as opening bowlers returned good figures for no reward.

But that changed as Ammer Ali (3-16) and Masood (2-22) dragged Harwood back into the game. There was also a wicket for Ethan Houldsworth, making his debut in senior cricket, as he chipped in with his first wicket at this level.

But more dropped catches proved to be Harwood’s downfall as the home side reached their target with 14 balls to spare and took 12 points.

1st XI vs Lowerhouse CC (h)
Lowerhouse 239-9 – GHCC 86 all out
Report by Andrew Law-Riding

So on to Sunday, and a Lancashire cup game brought about by our 3rd place finish in the Ribblesdale League last season.

We named a young side to welcome Lowerhouse to the Cliffe, Mas Ahmed, Paul Houldsworth, Allan Armer and Paul Newton all rested and in came Adam Masood, Matthew Bunn and, for the first time this season, David Kendall and Hamza Qayoom.

Lowerhouse were asked to bat by Patrick Swanney and this initially looked to be a good decision as two early wickets reduced Lowerhouse to 34-2. However a partnership of 88 between professional Ockert Erasmus and former Padiham pro Ben Heap steadied the ship as Lowerhouse began to build a significant total.

Heap passed 50, but was then brilliantly stumped by first-time wicketkeeper Hamim Miah. From here, wickets came at regular intervals, but Erasmus remained steadfast, accumulating consistently without ever forcing the issue. He reached 100 with 3 balls left in the innings and finished 103* as Lowehouse posted 239-9.

So to the run chase. This was always going to be a tall order with our side missing many of the more experienced players. Matthew Bunn opened with debutant Hamza Qayoom and we set about the task. Despite a few signs of promise, Bunn fell, quickly followed by Matthew Oddie.

By the time a fine spell of bowling from our ex-professional Joe Hawke took the wickets of Paddy, Ash and Hamim, we were reeling at 32-5, and there was no way back, each of our young players showing reasonable resistance but never really looking as though we could mount a game winning fightback.

We were all out for 86. A heavy defeat but not one without positives to take. The tenacity of Qayoom’s innings, overs under the belt and a few wickets for our young bowlers and perhaps most of all, two catches and a stumping for Miah on his wicketkeeping debut leave us with points to ponder ahead of next week’s selection.

Not a great weekend overall, but we dust off and go again next week

Weekend Review – 2017 Season Round 5

SATURDAY 6th MAY

3rd XI v Bacup (h)
Bacup CC 3rd XI – 136 all out – GHCC 3rd XI – 137/4

Reported by Tim Holden

Our 3rd XI were back to winning ways on Saturday with a six-wicket victory over Bacup. With the threat of rain in the air the captain, Richard Law-Riding, opted to bowl first after winning the toss.

Some tight early bowling from openers David Kendall and Joel Bentham saw Great Harwood able to apply some early pressure. This paid off when Kendall was able to claim the first wicket with a leg before decision in his favour. Throughout the Bacup innings it did look as though the game was in the balance as some excellent running from their batsmen often meant that they looked like seizing the initiative. However, with overs running out and regular wickets being taken the run rate was never allowed to get out of hand.

With Harwood seemingly happy to restrict the runs, Richard Law-Riding turned to opening bowler Kendall, who clearly had other ideas. A devastating spell of four wickets in four balls, the final two being clean bowled, skittled Bacup for 136.

Replying with the bat, Harwood were able to make a steady start putting on 48 before the fall of the first wicket. The loss of Tim Holden did little to trouble fellow opener Matthew Oddie who continued in fine form; eventually contributing 70 not out.

Following two recent close defeats to Church and East Lancs the thirds were keen to wrap up maximum points and did so with overs to spare. It was a pleasing overall performance with particular mention being reserved for David Kendall with his five wickets and Oddie’s contribution with the bat.

SUNDAY 7th MAY

2nd XI vs Haslingden (a)
Haslingden CC 2nd XI – 213/7 – GHCC 2nd XI – 193 all out

Reported by Tim Holden

Our 2nd XI went into their game at Haslingden keen to build on their cup victory against Todmorden last week. Unfortunately, this wasn’t to be as they fell just twenty runs short of what would have been a fine win.

Captain, Geoff Allen, opted to field first on what looked to be a wicket that would be favourable to bowling. However, Haslingden were able to get on top early with some solid batting. Harwood’s bowlers found conditions tough and were not helped by some lapses and misjudgments in the field. Cameron Holt picked up the first wicket as Hassy’s opening batsman mistimed a pull to mid-wicket. This did little to limit the run rate as Haslingden continued their good start.

Following the drinks break Harwood found that they were able to take wickets regularly but it didn’t seem in doubt that a 200+ score was on the cards. Even with a double wicket maiden from Matthew Oddie and the usual contribution of tight bowling from skipper Allen, Harwood knew they faced a stern test with the bat.

And so it proved. Early wickets fell as Harwood quickly found themselves three down. However, as Richard Shovelton was joined at the crease by Haris Masood, the fightback started. Harwood looked on top as both batsman were rarely troubled. Nevertheless, the game turned in Haslingden’s favour with Shovelton well set on 65 not out. With the run rate beginning to creep up Shovelton was unfortunately run out going for a second.

Masood was removed soon after leaving Harwood staring at defeat. However, a lower-order mini revival sparked hopes of victory with a fine 27 from Cameron Holt. This included a “monstrous” six from Holt, which I didn’t see as I was in the toilet at the time. I should have stayed there as my return brought another wicket. With the rate pushing close to 8 an over Harwood’s final pair were unable to find the boundaries needed and were bowled out with just over two overs remaining.

1st XI vs Haslingden (h)
Haslingden 289-4
GHCC 78

Reported by Andrew Law-Riding

We were wedgied by Haslingden.
That is all.

Weekend Review – 2017 Season Round 4

SATURDAY 6th MAY

1st XI vs Rishton CC (a)

Saturday 6th May. In a season that offers so many new challenges, so many new places to visit, experience and test ourselves, to many supporters this was the date that stood out when the fixtures were released late last year.

Rishton vs Great Harwood in a competitive fixture is one that really has had supporters form both sides debating over the years. Several pre-season friendlies have taken place, but not in living memory had a fully competitive game taken place. On Saturday 6th May this would change.

GHCC headed into the game on the back of a hard-earned victory away at another of our near neighbours Enfield, and accordingly named an unchanged side. Rishton, still awaiting the arrival of professional Shaun von Berg, had turned to Littleborough professional Ryan Burl to boost their ranks for the day.

 

Having lost the toss, Great Harwood were asked to bat. Despite the early wicket of Hamim Miah, we started to build a total through Mas Ahmed and Ashen Silva. Mas fell for 12 with the score 39-2, and captain Patrick Swanney fell 15 runs later, leaving the innings in the balance. An impressive 32 from Paul Houldsworth steadied things, and when he fell with the score at 103-4, we looked set to press on towards a significant total.

However the combination of Burl and Mall in favourable conditions proved hard going for the remaining Harwood batsmen and when Silva was caught behind for a hard-earned 56, we were 128-7 and in the midst of a collapse which would see us bowled out for 147. Burl ended with figures of 5-22, with the Rishton wicketkeeper Matthew Nuttall claiming 6 victims.

 

It was imperative to get off to a good start if we were to defend this total, and Patrick opted to open the bowling with Paul Houldsworth alongside regular opening bowler Stuart Maher. This paid dividends as Paul struck in the 4th over, Chris Lambert playing on with Rishton yet to get off the mark.

Further tight bowling ensued, Maher starting with 8 overs 0-3 as the pressure began to build. This paid off in the 12th over as a frustrated Burl looked to force the issue and chipped Houldsworth to a diving Matthew Bunn at midwicket. Further wickets of Boddie and Sanderson left Rishton reeling at 34-4 as we headed to the drinks break.

The Rishton fightback commenced with Ali Hasham ably assisted by Dobson (20) before he fell LBW to Ashen Silva.

Yousuf Ali was introduced and took the wickets of Lambert and Nuttall, but the score passed 100 and with Hasham in full flow, the game was once again in the balance.

Indeed it took a special catch to turn the game back in Great Harwood’s favour. Hasham, looking to hit Maher back over his head for the boundary he needed to reach 50, was caught one-handed at long on, at the very top of a jump by Paul Newton.

Former GHCC player Danny Briggs was run out for 1 soon after, and despite a creditable effort from Scott Greaves, whose quickfire 20 gave late hope to the Rishton side, victory was ensured as Maher bowled Mall for 1. Rishton all out for 127.

 

An entertaining game to watch, and a great advert for Lancashire League cricket. The fixture really has captured the local imagination, a great thing for both clubs. Great Harwood take the bragging rights for now, but we very much look forward to many more meetings with our near neighbours.

2nd XI vs Rishton CC (h)

Our 2nd XI welcomed Rishton to the Cliffe, looking to extend an unbeaten streak running from July 2016.

Having chosen to bat first, we scored 171, with significant contributions from Richard Shovelton (46), Sohail Ali (36), and Haris Masood (31).

However Rishton made light work of this target, chasing down the total in just 26.1 overs.

SUNDAY 7th MAY

1st  XI vs Todmorden CC (a) – Worsley Cup

Following Saturday’s victory, our 1st XI faced a trip to Todmorden on Sunday in the Worsley Cup.

Todmorden had a couple of days before been voted the best ground in the Lancashire League in a poll run on twitter (we finished 4th), and whilst I personally wasn’t in attendance, from the picture shown opposite you can see why it is popular.

We also faced the League’s form batsman in Todmorden professional Kelly Smuts, who had accumulated a remarkable 388 runs in 3 games so far this season.

It was therefore of great concern when, having been asked to bat, we found ourselves 1-3 in the third over, with both openers and professional Ashen Silva all back in the pavilion without troubling the scorers.

A fine partnership of 84 between Patrick Swanney (43) and Paul Houldsworth (47) brought some much needed respectability to the score, but when they fell the wickets began to tumble once again and we were all out for just 116.

Todmorden made light work of the small run chase, reaching the target in 24.2 overs for the loss of two wickets.

2nd XI vs Todmorden CC (h) Telegraph Cup

On Sunday our 2nd XI looked to bounce back against a strong Todmorden team.

Having won the toss, captain Sohail Ali elected to bat. Despite the early wicket of Tim Holden (5), GHCC set about building a total with Matthew Oddie and Hamza Qayoom taking us to 60.

The wicket of Oddie was quickly followed by that of Richard Shovelton for a duck, and when Qayoom fell for a hard-earned 36 we found ourselves 72-4.

Ibrar Ali caused problems for the GHCC middle order. He finished with figures of 4-13 as we collapsed to 112 all out, Rhys Holt offering the only real resistance with an effective 17*.

In response, Todmorden started well and looked to be on track to progress with the score at 36-1. But a run out from Ammar Malik broke the opening partnership and, with the introduction of spinners Matthew Oddie (1-26) and particularly Amaar Ali (4-22), began a remarkable period of the game in which Todmorden lost 5 wickets for just one run.

Zaman, Doyle and Gee offered hope for Todmorden, each reaching double figures, but the spinners effectiveness had meant that our seam threat could be held back until the latter overs, and this proved dividens when Jason Kayley (2-32) and latterly Richard Shovelton (1-7) took the last three wickets. Todmorden all out just 8 runs short of their target.

GHCC progress to the next round of the Telegraph Cup where we will meet Accrington CC away on 17th June.

On to the next one.