SUBLIME TO THE RIDICULOUS
Whilst the firsts were enjoying one of the most comprehensive demolition jobs on table toppers Littleborough on Saturday, the seconds were sitting red faced in the bar after being dismissed for 89 after being 78-0.
However, it was up in the Pennines where the headlines were being written as, after red hot phone lines to all parts from Friday evening to Saturday lunchtime had still not managed to secure a deputy pro for stricken Cameron, the Jennings gang were sending the hosts back to their own bar with just 48 runs to show for their afternoon’s work. Big spendingLittleborough included Chris Schofield in their ranks, who six years ago was rubbing shoulders with the Kiwis as he represented England in Durban, but Greg’s grafters recovered from an uninspiring 112-6 to post 158-8 with Dean Morris holding the innings together with a knock of 61 not out. Steve Cheetham, who has been looking menacing all season, then took centre stage with a vengeance as he ripped out batsman after batsman to finish with figures of 7-18 against the side who stood equal top at the start of proceedings leaving some of the ‘boro faithful scratching their heads whilst trying to remember a lower total.
At Clifton, Chris Lord scored 66 for the seconds, but was backed up by scores of 7,0,0,1,3,2,0,0 and 0 leaving bemused Mike Hay on 4 no after a collapse so dramatic that Christine in the tea-room could not provide the necessary sustenance on time and the players had to wait until after Royton’s nine wicket win to be fed.
Pics: Rob Meredith brings the 11 runs for 10 wickets decline to a close. Cheets finishes the job at Littleborough with his seventh wicket as his fan club looks on.
CLL JUNIORS TAKE CENTRE STAGE
The Central Lancashire League’s under 12s were in action at Clifton on Sunday 2nd when they entertained the Wigan and District Junior Cricket League’s finest. The WDJCL draws from such clubs as Haydock, Leigh, Norley Hall and Winstanley Park, but they were no match for the CLL boys who ran out easy winners with Sam Dorsey contributing 66 of the CLL’s runs. Harry Golland and Robert Lord made it three Cliftoners in the CLL ranks.
June 8th - EXTRANORDENARY
The firsts were involved in a remarkable game of cricket which swung one way and the other during the Clifton innings and then ultimately resulted in a one run defeat after the Norden supporters and players had all but given up on the points.
Norden batted first and Boz removed the opener after bamboozling him for the entirety of his first over before eliciting an edge that was gleefully taken by Dors (pic). The lads had to wait until the introduction of deputy professional Ochert Erasmus before grabbing a second, but what a wicket it was as prolific pro Michael Price tried an injudicious lap shot which caught the glove and looped over Dors (pic) to be snaffled by the slip cordon. Ocky went on the take seven Norden wickets for 45 as he managed to spin the ball a long way in the dry conditions and the hosts were 161 all out at tea. It could and should have been better as the usually reliable Clifton hands managed to drop five catches of which at least three could be described as ‘regulation’ catches that should have been taken.
The Clifton innings started well with 43 runs on the board in no time, but then Ocky, Lachie and Adam went in quick succession; all to rather poor shots and suddenly we were 48-3. Tom Derbyshire tried hard to steady the ship with Dean Morris, but Tom’s confidence is in pieces at the moment and he fell shortly after, bringing Cheets to the crease. Deano and Cheets then grafted away against the attritional spin of Makin and Fitton and then got the upper hand in a stand of almost eighty which took the side within twenty of victory with five overs remaining. Incredibly, both then got out, Deano for a marvellous 66 and the two new batsmen found the wiles of Makin and Fitton too much and despite scampering singles, could not find that one boundary that would have finished the game resulting in an agonising one run defeat.
There the bad news ends as the seconds and thirds managed great wins in the June sunshine. The seconds had to chase 240-4 at Manchester Road after Norden again took to the crease first. A hard, true track and lighting outfield however, meant that it only needed some patient and sensible batsmanship to master the conditions and Jim Ainscough with 79 and Chris Lord with a marvellous 101 did just that in an opening stand of 205 which effectively put the game to bed and sealed the points in a six wicket victory.
The thirds put out a side made up entirely of players who had not featured in the second XI the previous day and pulled off a great victory over Royton to reach the Hodson Cup semi-finals. A poor start to the innings saw the scoreboard reading 5-2, but Geoff Griff and young Sam Dorsey steadied the ship before both fell when they were in their twenties. There was the another mini collapse before Andy Tocher (77) and Ollie Dunn (39) came together to bludgeon more than eight an over for the last 13 overs to take the score to an unlikely 200-8. There followed one of those occasions which those of us who are a little longer in the tooth can recall happening on occasions throughout our careers; that being when a bowler forgets how to bowl. It happened famously in the eighties when professional Stuart Adams suddenly lost the ability to let go of the ball and it happened again on Sunday and of course it just had to be…. yes… Jack Barton. His one (14 ball) over cost 27 runs, but incredibly he took the wicket of the Royton opener, but suddenly, after only two overs, instead of chasing 200, Royton were chasing 165. However, the bowling and fielding from the rest of the side was good and Ollie Dunn took three good catches and supported by good catches by Geoff Griff, Sam Brown and Chris Royle and an effective five bowler attack, Royton eventually lost their last wicket with the score on 189.
LACKLUSTRE 1STS BOW OUT OF T20
Most of a decent sized crowd at Manchester Road left disappointed on Friday evening as the 1sts failed to make it out of the group stages of the CLL T20 competition. Batting first Lachie and Adam had 33 on the board inside the first four overs, but there followed a slump in the run rate brought about by a regular loss of wickets which resulted in a disappointing total of 124-8. Although Unsworth had to wait until the final over to complete the seven wicket win, in truth they seldom looked anything but fully in charge and it is they and Monton & Weaste who progress to the quarter finals.
WEEKEND OF June 15th
ALL TO PLAY FOR
With the obvious exception of the CLL’s T20 competition, the club’s senior teams remain alive and kicking on fronts as the firsts and seconds emulated the thirds performance a week ago to progress to their respective Cup Semi-Finals.
The pathways were vastly different but the end results were the same as the firsts relied upon the fire power of what has become possibly the best bowling attack in the league and the seconds showed again that they bat deep. At Rochdale, a late start due to the overnight rain didn’t deter Greg’s side who ripped into the home side who capitulated from an opening stand of 20, to 87 all out. Again, no one bowler shone as for the second game in a row every member of the attack captured wickets with the skipper and Boz claiming three apiece and Cheets andWrighty two. An opening stand of 50 between Holty and stand in pro Alex Davies settled the issue and despite a minor, but nevertheless disconcerting tumble of wickets thereafter, a five wicket win was secured with 25 overs to spare.
The seconds piled up 256-7 on a Manchester Road surface that showed no signs of overnight rain. Yet another opening stand of 100 provided the launch pad for the innings with Chris Lord (46) and Jim Ainscough (57) doing the damage. Goodness knows what might have happened if one of the top order had gone on to play a really major innings as several got starts and the got out with James Evans (48) being next highest scorer, at the same time running out skipper Ian making it a family double as Deano was nicely left short by Tom Derbyshire in the firsts’ game. However, the bowlers had to toil hard to achieve the win as Rochdale’s fourth wicket put on 118 after finding themselves 35-3. That partnership was split was a nonchalant one handed catch by Rob Reade but Rochdale’s confidence had been lifted by then and they attacked the remaining 100 needed for victory with some aplomb. Indeed, it took a good tight final two over from Danny Hill to leave Ollie Dunn needing to defend the last over with only ten needed. He rose to that challenge with a gritty six balls that saw Rochdale’s centurion dismissed and a further scalp to add some gloss, without conceding a single run to give the side victory by eight runs after a marvellous game.
HATS OFF TO HARRY
It was a day to remember for Harry Southern as the thirds travelled to Thornham to take on a very strong side. With a previous senior cricket high of 42, Harry launched himself into a one-man crusade to beat down the home side’s 229-6 and clattered the Thornham attack to all parts scoring 103 not out and joining an elite band of players who score centuries but still end up on the losing side. He did however keep his side in the game until the target went out of reach with about four overs to go, the innings closing on 202-6. In the end, the depleted thirds felt that with one additional bowler in the side, they could have won the game against opposition that contained some players that would not have looked out of place at a higher level.
It was a much improved all round performance on Saturday that proved the undoing of visitors Middleton but remarkably, the seconds emulated last week’s first XI outcome, going down by a single run. Deputy pro Ochert Erasmus stole the headlines with 79 not out in the seven wicket victory, but it was a good all-round performance with all five bowlers taking wickets and the batting showing little of last week’s fragility in a seven wicket win. Matt Wright stole the bowling plaudits with four wickets and although Ocky wasn’t able to follow up his seven wicket haul of last week, he did repeat his useful little habit of removing prolific run-scoring professionals in his first over as Zaidi, with 400 runs to his name in June already, was tempted to sweep on 41 and was plum lbw as the visitors posted 161. Lachie was promoted to opener in an attempt to prise him out of his poor run of form and he looked good until the slightest tinge of doubt crept into a drive and he stopped on the shot and was caught. Similarly Tommy D was promoted, this time to number 3 but he did not show any qualms as he batted in the sort of assured manner that we saw last season before falling to another less than cut and dried lbw decision.
PIC Ocky drives to bring up his half century. The seconds are desperate for just one of their talented array of batsmen to emulate Lordy’s 100 from last week and provide a match winning innings, but again, though several got good starts, the chasing down of Middleton’s modest 209-8 became a real trial as the run rate fell each time a wicket was lost. Chris Lord (36) and Ian Morris (39) presided over a decent start but the middle order got truly bogged down leaving the tail with a daunting 44 runs to find off the last 4 overs. They almost pulled off the impossible though with Harry Southern warming up for Sunday’s main event with some lusty blows before falling one short with a ball remaining.
BEN ON BOARD
Ben Chapman has completed his transfer to the club from Monton & Weaste and is eligible to play from next Sunday. Ben has been brought up at Monton & Weaste and Clifton will be his first ever move. He signed off from Monton & Weaste on Saturday by scoring 92 against Ashton.
THIRD TEAM FRIENDLY CONFIRMED
The thirds will play a friendly against Middleton next Saturday to fill a three week void in their fixtures whilst at the same time ensuring that there will be Saturday cricket on the ground.
TOM IN TOWN FOR THE OSCARS
Our very own Tom Morris has been shortlisted for a Lancashire Cricket Board OSCA; awards that are aimed at recognising those volunteers and young people who give so much of their time and enthusiasm to the game. This year Tom has been shortlisted in the “Lifetime Achiever” category in recognition of all the hard work he has done at Clifton Cricket Club over the last 60 years and continues to do so today.
The setting for the dinner is the very impressive "The Point" and it will take place on Friday 19th July 2013. The Speaker will be Paul Nixon, former wicket-keeper and left-handed batsman for Leicestershire, England, England A, MCC and Kent. Roger Dakin will keep the evening flowing as Master of Ceremonies and there will be a live band from Oldham called Stifler's Mom to end what should be a fantastic evening. The other nominees are Brian Shirtcliffe of Padiham CC and Alf Walton of Denton St. Lawrence. Tickets are priced at £35 and all proceeds from the evening will be invested in grassroots cricket across Lancashire. Anyone wanting to go and support Tom please let Ian know – firstname.lastname@example.org
WEEKEND OF June 22nd
PEERLESS PRO BLOWS AWAY FIRSTS
Milnrow professional Babar Naeem may have been anonymous in the firsts’ victory at Milnrow a month ago, but he single handedly unpicked the batting line-up and then dispatched the bowling to all parts in the rain affected defeat at Manchester Road on Sunday. The visitors arrived looking at an alarming gap that has opened up between themselves and Middleton at the bottom of the table, and everyone else and when Holty and debutant Ben Chapman posted 50 for the first wicket in the 37 over contest, things looked rosy despite the bitter June conditions. However, Naeem had other ideas and probed away at the batting line up, taking wickets at vital times and reducing the score to 109-4 when Holty was out for 51 with only seven overs left. Cheets and Dean scampered another 49 to finish on 158-5, with Naeem taking all five, but that ‘par’ score should have been more challenging for the visitors who were then reduced to 10-2 as Cheets (pic) tore down the hill. However, Naeem had other ideas as he stage managed his own innings and those of his partners to perfection, amassing 87no in the process to win the game for the visitors.
Moz got himself run out for the second week in succession in the 2nds “Ducky/Lewis” win at Milnrow, but this time he was helpless in the drama as a pulled muscle had left him in the hands of James Evans and runner Harry Southern who contrived to run him out for 28 in a revised 121 run chase. Milnrow had posted 178-7 after Rob and Will took two apiece, but further rain resulted in a 20 over bish-bash at 6 per over which was achieved with 9 balls to spare. Jim Ainscough and James Evans both followed up recent good form with scores of 45 and 34.
3rds FRIENDLY PROVIDES ALL ROUND POSITIVES
The club’s under 3rd XI played a good, competitive friendly against Middleton on Saturday in a game that had some positives for the club. Middleton find themselves with a 3rd XI with no league to play in after the CLL disbanded their competition and Middleton’s application to join the NMCL was too late to be considered. It was a mixed bunch that took to the field with Aussie Lachie included for a bit of time in the middle that nearly ended 2nd ball as he was dropped on the edge. He survived another drop 10 ball later to score 47 as CCC posted 236-8. Middleton started like a train and had 100 on the board in no time, but the Clifton attack chipped away and won the game by 27 runs. Big positives were first senior wickets for Sam Dorsey and Matt Wood who both finished with two victims and a return after two years absence for Micheal Ferry who scored 29 not out in quick time and finished with 4-33. Remarkably, despite their being almost 450 runs scored, nobody managed to reach 50. It was also the fifth successive game that the 3rds have passed the 200 mark.
WEEKEND OF June 29th
Steven Cheetham re-wrote his own, the club’s and possibly the CLL’s record books on Sunday with a one man demolition of Rochdale that will live in the memory of those who saw it, for many a year.
The bare stats record that Cheets bowled 13.2 overs with 7 maidens and conceded 18 runs whilst at the same time dismissing all ten of Rochdale’s terrorised batting order. During that feat, he secured a hat trick which so excited the watching ice-cream man that he invaded the pitch and had to be gently chaperoned back to his van. Ironically, Rochdale’s total of 64 was four more than they achieved in the Wood Cup tie a few weeks ago but again it led to a comprehensive defeat for the visitors; this time by nine wickets as the top order showed more determination than in Saturday’s dismal defeat atWalsden with Cam Murray peppering the boundary with regularity in his unbeaten knock. For the record, Cheets hit the stumps six times, trapped a further two lbw and enlisted the help of Tom Derbyshire and Dean Morris to complete the rout. At one stage he had taken seven Rochdale wickets for just three runs. Remarkably one Rochdale batsman managed 41 runs before becoming Cheets tenth victim, with the next highest score being a one-shot 6 by the Rochdale number 11.
Whereas Ian Morris held his hands up and admitted that his second XI were “outplayed” by Walsden on Saturday, the same could not be said about the firsts who contrived to throw away a winning start and turn it into a pretty comprehensive defeat. Credit to the Walsden late order who batted with a controlled aggression that punished bad balls and nicked ones and twos in-between to score 123 off the last 20 overs having found themselves 78-4 after 30 and 57 off the last nine despite having seven wickets down. Even then, a score of 201-8 was probably marginally under par, but the batting that has looked brittle at times this season, were in beneficial mood in giving away their wickets with alacrity. It was not until Andy Lord arrived at number 9, that a batsman perished playing a defensive shot unless you include the two that shouldered arms and were bowled. Cam Murray’s 21 was the highest score in a total of 124 with several players getting into the teens before joining the trudge back to the Walsden verandah.
PIC: Lachie plays a square drive for four but soon became one of several who finished in the teens.
They currently top their division, the end of season winners going forward to play the winners of division 'A'.
Clifton U11s got their league season back on track this week with a thrilling victory at home against Norden. The visitors amassed a huge total of net 277 runs, the most conceded by Clifton all year, but some excellent partnerships, positive running between the wickets and sensible stroke play meant Clifton were able to score net 282 and win the game by 5 runs. This followed narrow defeats against Heywood and Rochdale, but still means the team are in line for a top three finish.