The season got off to a bright but bitty start in the first round of the National Knockout against Highfield on Sunday. The bowlers did their work well with three wickets apiece for skipper Greg and debutant Callum Parkinson as the visitors were summarily dismissed for 79, but the batsmen made hard work of it after being 32-1 in reply and succumbing to 40-6. Indeed, but for a sprightly knock of 22no from Andy Lord, it could have been quite embarrassing as numbers 4,5,6 and 7 made just seven between them. An unbroken partnership of 29, the highest of the match, settled the game with Greg finishing 8no.





The Season started pretty poorly for the firsts and seconds as both failed to chase down totals posted by the opposition. The firsts failed to follow up on Saturday’s friendly win at Bury despite bowling promoted Royton out for 196. In reply, Will Davidson was unlucky to get out after a decent start, but then Callum Parkinson and deputy pro Alex Davies looked to have put the game out of reach as both scored half centuries in taking the score to 117-1. Both then fell when looking comfortable and Ben Chapman looked out of touch after arriving from the heatwaves and concrete roads he batted on in Oz. Dean Morris and Tom Derbyshire both looked comfortable but again got out just as Royton were starting to struggle and Greg Jennings provided a late flourish before the lights went out (literally in the case of the scoreboard) on the reply with Steve Cheetham becoming the third batsman to register the roundest of round zeros. The seconds fared little better despite only chasing 150 and fell nine short with a full eight overs to spare leaving the thirds (below) to fly the flag on the opening weekend.




George Rudd put away his guitar for a few hours to play in the opening third XI game of the NMCL season and ended it with a maiden senior half century under his belt. After reducing Elton Vale to 5 for 5, the visitors would probably been happy to register 86, but George was having none of it as he blasted his way to an eight wicket win. Delighted debutant skipper Nick reports that it was a superb start by the thirds following his well won toss and what a start it was with the visitors being 0-3 before scoring their first runs in the eighth over!  The score of 5 for 5 was not achieved until over 15, with Andy Lord and Jack Barton shining. The middle order made the score more respectable but Mike Ferry and Sam Dorsey entered the fray and mopped up the tail with Barty ending with remarkable figures of 3 for 3 off 9 overs. Nick was quick to praise the discipline shown in the field to support the bowlers. The Clifton reply was shaky but when Andy Lord joined Georgie at 10-2, he steadied the ship and carefully guided George to his half century which included three text book cover drives for four. “ A fantastic team performance and a great start to the season” according to the jubilant skipper.






Callum Parkinson’s first game 40 and second game 60 turned into a top class century against a Norden side who have traditionally been a bit of a bogey side in recent years and true to form, Callum’s efforts resulted in him, disappointingly having to settle for becoming one of that rare breed of centurions who finish on the losing side as the hoodoo continued. The fragility of the middle order was not tested this week as 234 were rattled up for just four wickets with Alex Davies scoring 39, Will Davidson 32 and Ben Chapman a welcome 32 not out. Steve Cheetham then reduced Norden to 10-2 and the hosts then remained on 20-2 for fully four overs before he bowled a wide to move the score to 21. At this point the jinx struck as Cheets’ groin ‘popped’ and that was the end of his match winning spell. To be fair, Norden pro Danny Salpietro capitalised expertly on the Clifton jinx by scoring a chanceless 124 not out as the hosts moved, almost effortlessly, to 236-5 to claim the points.

BUTTERFINGERS – Ben Chapman escapes a stumping as the Norden keeper fumbles (more pics on Facebook)

The seconds fared little better chasing 233-7 despite Jim Ainscough and Ian Morris taking the score to 97-1 after Chris Royle perished early. Andy Tocher came in after a mini collapse and scored an excellent 51 before committing the cardinal sin and getting out immediately afterwards. The innings closed on 186-7 with Mozzer’s side claiming a point. Earlier, 14 year old Alex Cunliffe enhanced his growing reputation with three cheap wickets including that of the ubiquitous ‘Beamer’ in a spell of well controlled line and length bowling which, to a large extent, is all that is required on April wickets.




The thirds went top of the NMCL division two after two games in which the oppositions’ scores were chased down for the loss of just three wickets.

Last week’s eight wicket win was eclipsed on Saturday as teenagers George Rudd and Chris Royle and 12 year old Sam Dorsey knocked off Prestwich’s 123-6 with some disdain and 16 overs to spare.

The hard work had already been done by then as the bowlers and fielders squeezed the life out of Prestwich’s batsmen, with Andy Lord and Jack Barton restricting them to 18-1 off the first 19 overs. It was the sort of wicket on which you could bat all day, but scoring runs was an altogether different proposition and Prestwich struggled against continued tight bowling from Alex Cunliffe and Sam Dorsey, to manufacture the ones and twos needed to cement the innings. However, with wickets in hand, the middle and tail were able to launch an assault but the bowling and fielding continued to strangle the batsmen despite their managing to clout the odd boundary. Chris Royle and George Rudd then showed poise and maturity in picking off singles almost at will and peppering the boundary when bad balls appeared. George, by his own admission, changed his mind on a shot and got out for 31, but Chris Royle (48no) and Sam Dorsey (29no) saw the side home.