PROUD FORMER MEMBERS OF THE SOUTH LANCASHIRE LEAGUE,
THE BOLTON & DISTRICT CRICKET ASSOCIATION
AND THE CENTRAL LANCASHIRE CRICKET LEAGUE
FOUNDER MEMBERS OF THE GREATER MANCHESTER CRICKET LEAGUE
3RDS FINISH WITH A MISERABLE DAY IN THE HILLS
The 3rds travelled to Littleborough under threatening skies and toiled in the field for nearly three hours as the hosts made their way to 166-5 at tea. It was a springy wicket after the heavy roller had done its work, hardly surprising as the groundsman hadn’t prepared a wicket and roped off the square assuming the season had finished (despite their being a first XI game on Sunday!). Jack Barton bowled well but Mike Ferry grabbed the first two wickets with ‘Boro struggling to get the ball off the square and failing to find the boundary at all in the first 20 overs. With wickets in the tent however, you can always expect a late flurry and 166-5 was a par score which gave both sides hope. All that was ended at tea as the heavens opened without a breath of wind to blow it away. However, the wind suddenly got up and the game resumed. The league rules meant that the game would end 10 overs after six o’clock, so it was obvious that if the batting side got the upper hand, the fielding side would slow down the over rate and if the bowlers got on top, the batters would shut up shop. In the event is was the latter after first James Evans fell flat on his posterior and comically ran out Matt Harling and then got out, followed by Sam Brown and Mike Ferry. In the end it was left to Alex Cunliffe to bore the pants off the ‘Boro fielders and bat out for the two points we would have had if we’d all gone home at the 12.30 start time.
The firsts points last weekend assured them of safety so with Royton in the last Lancashire KO spot, it’s time to look upward with a view to slipping into fifth place. Rochdale and Werneth play each other on Sunday so Rochdale will be trying to put things to bed on Saturday. Despite the situation at the bottom of the 2nd XI table being a lot tenser, the CLL league table on the website is a week out of date so nobody is any the wiser. The seconds are in a bit of bother next to bottom with not a single point gleaned from the last six games so with Littleborough bottom, Saturday’s game at Manchester Road is going to be a nail biter.
BEN AT WORK
The firsts grabbed a vital and nerve jangling win over Heywood on Saturday in a game restricted to 25 overs by the foul weather that followed two days of wall to wall sunshine. On a day when a number of CLL games were called off, including the 2nds clash at Heywood, things got underway almost as soon as the rain stopped at Manchester Road as the investment in those drains a decade ago continues to bear fruit. Griff set off like a man possessed with Mass playing the supporting role as the ball flew to all parts. Once he went for a scintillating 47, the scoring rate dropped and wickets began to fall at inopportune times. Then just as the innings seemed to stall, Joe Brown (28) came up with a cameo knock that is fast becoming his forte and despite another mini-tumble of wickets the innings closed on a respectable though a little disappointing 152-6. Bobby Cross and Danny Pawson then effectively had the game won for the visitors with match winning opening stand that knocked off more than half the runs, but when they went, for some explicable reason, needing less than one a ball to win it, Heywood imploded and Ben Chapman leapt into that void of uncertainty taking a match defining four wickets in five balls over the space of two overs. Dean Morris was cleverly mixing it up at the other end with quicker deliveries interspersed with floaters, but it was Big Ben again, in his second spell as he did last week, who throttled the life out of the .middle and late order finishing with 5-46 as the last six Heywood wickets tumbled for less than 50 and they fell to a very unlikely 10 run defeat.
2NDS FINISH WITH A BANG
The seconds ended a seven game losing spell with an astonishing performance against the champions Walsden on Sunday. They had already rattled up 0ver 300 in an earlier fixture at Walsden and lost the game, but Sunday’s 355-4 was a bridge too far, even for the runaway league leaders. Chris Lord top scored with an imperious 149 but there were half centuries for Ian Morris and Liam Dorsey as well which put the season to bed nicely after losing the previous day to a Littleborough side who are rock bottom and didn’t look particularly interested in playing at all. A young 3rd XI learned the hard way that they need to concentrate on occupying the crease as they threw away a winning position at Thornham. On a wicket that held no demons whatsoever, Thornham’s 203 should have been 30 runs too few, but a number of batsmen got in and then got out when they shouldn’t have done. George Rudd (46) top scored and there were promising innings from Dan Ainscough and Ben Sykes and some bludgeoning from Harry and Fez and a nice bowling spell from Kieron Doyle as Nick’s boys fell ten runs short with overs to spare. The firsts had a weekend to forget with two away trips that yielded nothing at all. Littleborough took full advantage of a weakened bowling attack with a ten wicket chasedown of 214 on Saturday and Walsden’s 255 was 70 too many on Sunday despite another four wicket haul for Ben Chapman.