21ST - Despite having one of those silly summer weddings to contend with, a weakened Walsden showed why they are top of the league with a seven wicket win at Manchester Road. Spirits were high after comprehensive wins over the second and third placed sides in recent weeks, but with Walsden pro in irrepressible form bowling his 23 overs and taking 4-22, the batting only managed to score 124 which was never going to be enough. Walsden’s batsmen survived a couple of scares, but the wicket suddenly looked a lot more benign than before tea with the bowlers struggling to extract much life.
Pic: Dave in classic defensive mode..
The seconds also tasted defeat at Walsden, albeit in a closer game in which they finished ten runs short and so, unusually, it was left to the thirds to fly the flag with a hard earned victory against Littleborough. Chris Royle (23) and Sam Brown (48) put on fifty for the 1st wicket, but the slow paced wicket made it hard work to build on that, although Simon Fleming and Andy Lord pushed the score to 154 all out off the last ball of the innings. Littleborough got off to a great start and at 90-1 looked to have the game sewn up, but a clinical direct hit run-out by Gareth Lloyd opened the door for 114 years worth of experience to win the points as Geoff Griffiths (4-31) and Steve Eccles (4-34) ensured that the visitors were 133 all out to complete a very much needed win.
20th - Florence Olivia Jennings arrived in the world today !
Congratulations to Mum and Dad.
15th - The firsts produced arguably their best performance of the season to beat third placed Heywood at Manchester Road on Saturday, but the beating handed out to Ashton on Sunday was up there with the most comprehensive ever recorded by Clifton in the CLL.
It was that man Madu who again produced the fireworks at Ashton on Sunday. After the disappointment of not taking a wicket on Saturday, he roared back to record figures of 8-16 as the hosts were rolled out for just 40. That’s a back to back record of 9,6,5,0 and 8; or 28 wickets in 5 games for the speedmeister. The only blip was Deano’s late dismissal to take away the 10 wicket win as the side were back to watch most of the second XI game at Clifton. There, Danny Hill was producing his own eight wicket demolition of Ashton’s second XI, eclipsing even Madu’s performance with 8-10. Earlier the batsmen had scored 203-8 and again no one batsman dominated with most chipping in, Dave Wild top scoring with 47 and Jack Unwin scoring 38.
Having beaten second placed Milnrow last week, it was the turn of third placed Heywood to come a cropper at Manchester Road on Saturday. Dean Morris (69) and Milindu Athuada (74 not out) put on 141 for the first wicket before Madu came out and crashed 30 in eight balls, losing three of Heywood’s balls in the process. The rest then came in and crash bang walloped their way to 222-8. Matt Wright and Greg Jennings then produced a great piece of tandem seam and spin bowling and grabbed five wickets apiece as the visitors were dismissed for 137. However, the in-form seconds suffered from illness, injury and unavailability and got well and truly battered at Heywood where they were just 50 all out and that absence blight carried through to the thirds who had six juniors in the side, including four players making their debuts for the trip to table toppers Littleborough Lakeside. The lads performed quite well in the eight wicket defeat, but the thirds now find themselves nine points adrift at the bottom of the table.
Pic: Madu’s Yorker has the batsman in all sorts of bother.
50 for Dean, relishing his new opening bat spot.
… and a welcome 50 for Milla who thanks his maker having struggled to find any form this season.
The firsts bowed out of the T20 on Monday in constant drizzle and filthy conditions. Men of the match were undoubtedly the umpires. Good luck to Middleton in the finals on Sunday.
8TH - The new Sri Lankan T20 premier league, an attempt by the Sri Lankan cricket authorities to emulate the success of the IPL and no doubt to alleviate their well documented financial crisis, could mean the end of Sri Lankan professionals in England. No fewer than 107 Sri Lankan players and 56 overseas players have been drafted in to the competition which starts in early August, including Madu, Rochdale pro Malinda Warnapur, Egerton pro Amal Athulamudali and former pro Chinthaka Jayasinghe, now plying his trade in Northern Ireland. The problems that those clubs are going to have in finding deputies for the remainder of the season, is bound to influence the decisions of clubs looking to sign professionals for 2013 who will simply not take the risk that their pro could disappear in August. Rochdale’s pro has been a massive boost to their performances this season and Madu has just hit form with 20 wickets in three games and many may feel that it is short sighted in that it may hamper the development of Sri Lankan players, many of whom have further developed their skills in English conditions and become better players.
The lure of the money and the thrill of the competition will be too great for those players to resist and the lure of playing alongside the greats of world cricket is no comparison to a rainy day in Central Lancashire. Chintha finds himself in the same side as Chris Gayle, Athulamudali will share a dressing room with Tillakaratne Dilshan and Brad Hodge, Warnapur will play alongside Sanath Jayasuriya and Saeed Ajmal and Madu will rub shoulders with Fidel Edwards not to mention the captaincy of Muttiah Muralitharan.
Further details can be found HERE.
7TH - The weather forecasters got it hopelessly wrong on Saturday, but nobody was complaining as both sides put together terrific victories after mopping up the week’s deluge.
The firsts had to ask the groundsman to cut a new wicket at Manchester Road as the planned wicket was wet through despite being covered. Liam Dorsey won the toss and put second placed Milnrow in to bat in a match reduced to 32 overs. Two balls into the match, the Milnrow professional was on his way back to the pavilion as Madu continued his blistering recent form. Greg was weighing in at the bottom end as well and the high flyers had no answer as they crumbled to 37-7 with Madu grabbing five of them. There was a recovery of sorts, but Greg eventually prized out the last three and visitors were back in the hutch for just 73 with Greg taking 5-26 and Madu 5-36.. If the batting was as potent as the bowling of late, then Clifton would be a force to be reckoned with, but prolific Milnrow pro Naeem began the jitters with the first ball as Chris Lord was plum lbw to a virtual long-hop. Naeem ended up with the best figures of the day with his 5-24, but the other bowlers couldn’t support him effectively and after a bit of huffing and puffing, the runs were knocked off for five with overs to spare. Adam Holt top scored with 26 and Tom Derbyshire saw things through with a patient 20 not out.
Pics: Jehangir lofts it to Jim Ainscough who took the catch.
Madu gets a fifth wicket with the help of an LBW decision.
The seconds kept up their impressive form at Milnrow with a 10 wicket thumping of the hosts. Rob Meredith just can’t seem to stop taking wickets recently and followed up last week’s 7-32 with 6-24 as the hosts were summarily dispatched for just 50. Following a smart run out by Jamie Royle, Richard Borritt claimed the other three in a remarkable burst of three successive wicket maidens to finish with figures of 3-3-0-3. Despite Matt Derbyshire having to retire hurt with the score on 15, Ian Morris and Chris Thorpe saw the side home.
Sadly, the seconds’ improvements have not been transferred to the thirds who visited a Prestwich ground that has suffered more from the weather than most with a large area roped of due to being underwater. Fortunately, the playing area is large enough for the game to go ahead anyway and batting first on a less than helpful wicket, they posted a more than useful 175 with a number of batsmen making useful contributions. However, the bowlers failed to take advantage of the conditions and an opening stand of 130 effectively ended the game as a contest. Two late wickets were little consolation as the hosts ran out eight wicket winners.