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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

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