Andrew Law-Riding 1 Comment

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.

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