26th - Sunday was, appropriately, the only day of the bank holiday weekend when M27 and the rest of the area saw any sun and, where other grounds in the CLL failed to recover from Saturday’s deluge despite the weather, tellingly Manchester Road didn’t. This enabled the firsts to move into sixth spot and open up a five point cushion over Monton & Weaste in seventh and an eight point gap over visitors Royton in the chase for a premier league place in next season’s new look Central Lancashire League. That requires a top eight finish and with local rival Monton and Weaste to play twice in the last month, victory over Royton on Sunday was a real ten-pointer.
Despite the favourable drying conditions at Clifton, there was the inevitable late start and a match reduced to 30 overs. The visitors broke a cardinal cricketing sin by failing to bat out all their overs thanks largely to another haul for professional Madu Perera who took 6-40 as Royton were bundled out for 85. Milla went early but Adam Holt and Dean Morris steadied the ship before Holty top edged a lifter (pic). A mini collapse of sorts followed, but Madu came to the crease and survived a few scares before finishing the game in the best way possible by pinging one into the ball-stop fence (pic).
The seconds did not have any such joy at Royton despite five wickets for Rob Reade. They first restricted the home side to 124 which the skipper said was disappointing as they should have kept the hosts to below 100. How right he was, as the batting then crumbled from 80-4 to 98 all out leaving them looking anxiously over their shoulders in their quest for a top eight spot.
The thirds game at Royton on Bank Holiday Monday was a total washout, meaning that the remaining two games are must win affairs to avoid the threat of relegation.
25th - The chance of a rare double over Norden was washed away on Saturday as the firsts didn’t bowl a ball over in Rochdale. The seconds got a start, but with several interruptions, Norden were still batting approaching 5-30pm and at 189-8 the final deluge put paid to that game as well.
Pic: Geoff Griff plugs away in the gloom at Manchester Road.
18th - After the ‘all cylinders’ win against Middleton last week, it was a distinctly 2nd gear performance against Crompton that resulted in a disappointing and unexpected defeat. Batting first, wickets fell at regular intervals and but for a partnership approaching fifty between Jim Ainscough and Liam Dorsey, the 115 total could have been much worse. However, at tea the prognosis was that, if the bowlers used the conditions well, the match was still winnable. The Crompton approach to the difficult condition was ‘if it moves, hit it’ and that plan worked well as, despite losing wickets regularly, the ball was flying to the boundary with equal regularity. Greg Jennings took the first four wickets, but Madu couldn’t find a way through with the exception of one stump shattering explosion, and the defeat was confirmed with Crompton having five wickets in hand. (PIC: Liam drives a juicy full toss to the boundary)
The seconds had a better day of it at Crompton, but they had to rely on a late order partnership between Richard Borrit and Andy Tocher to see them home. Wickets had been shared earlier and Chris Lord got the reply off to a decent start, but wickets tumbled in the middle order leaving Boz and Toch to see it off.
On Sunday, Dave Wild’s much anticipated return to first team action disappeared into the drizzle as the firsts game was called off without a ball being bowled at Rochdale. The seconds vastly under strength team could only manage 115 at Manchester Road with only Geoff Griffiths providing any resistance. The game turned on a throw at the stumps which, according to all on the ground except the umpire, saw a Rochdale batsman run out by several feet. That batsman then went on to win the game for the visitors with 49 not out.
The thirds went off to Saddleworth with a mixture of young and very young juniors and players dragged out of retirement for the bottom of the table clash. The side had to wait until 4.30 whilst the hosts battled the ground conditions and a 20 over clash resulted. The side did well to restrict the hosts to 122-4 and started the response well with Anthony Walsh showing why he is being constantly badgered to end his voluntary retirement. However, once he went, despite batting well, the run rate climbed and eventually the innings closed on 84-7 just eight runs short of a bonus point. Highlight of the day for everyone on the Yorkshire - Lancashire border except Jack Barton, was his decision to plough into Saddleworth’s grass midden in pursuit of the ball. Those with long memories will remember David Critchley doing the same at Adlington many years ago, but this was a more spectacular head to toe version which resulted in his being banned from wicket celebrations because of the smell! Luckily, Mark Unwin was on hand to record the moment for posterity.
LOOKS PRETTY INNOCENT DOESN’T IT?
BUT BELOW LURKED UNSEEN DANGER.
WHICH “SMELLY” JACK
FAILED TO NOTICE IN
HIS USUAL 110% CHASE
FOR THE BALL.
11th - The firsts broke the Middleton bogey on Saturday thanks to a bowling display described as comprehensive by the skipper who admitted to having a grin from ear to ear in the visitors’ dressing room. On a good looking wicket, the side found themselves on 110-6 after Adam Holt (35) and Dean Morris (37) had got going but then lost their wicket. In stepped Dave Barton, Liam Dorsey and Jim Ainscough who pushed the score to a competitive 153 at tea. Madu then grabbed 6-49 as the hosts were bundled out for 96 having been 93-6. Dean Morris took 2-10 and Greg Jennings 1-28 and there was a run out at the end which helped to cement the side in a top eight spot for the run in to the season.
The seconds suffered once again from the dearth of available players with three late cry-offs adding to the problem. As a result they could only manage 96 at Manchester Road; a total that the visitors had no trouble in overhauling.
7th - UNDER 10S SECURE FIRST SILVERWARE OF THE SEASON FOR CCC
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4th - The Duckworths were out in force again on Saturday as they were last week and the firsts registered another Duckkie win and another score in excess of 200, but this time several batsmen contributed to the winning score which augers well for the rest of the season. Adam Holt continued his return to form with 47 and Madu scored 37 in a total of 223-8. Sadly a weakened second XI suffered at the hands of Duckworth and Lewis despite capturing seven Werneth wickets. Ian Morris (27) and Richard Borritt (23) were the leading contributors to a score of 117 before D&L reduced the target to 93.
The thirds had a great win at Rochdale Catholic Club whilst the flash floods were washing Swinton away. Andy Tocher’s unbeaten run of captaincy moved on to two as the side set the hosts a total of 193. Sam Brown made up for running out Chris Royle in the second over by scoring a best ever 88. Andy Lord then added a quickfire 50 and there were other contributions lower down the order, one of which wasn’t Jack Barton who registered another duck! Andy Lord then continued where he left off with the bat by taking six wickets and he was supported by Rob Reade and Gareth Lloyd with two each as the hosts were 103 all out. There was also another debutant from the junior section as Dillon Patel joined the team in their 90 run victory.
1st - Dean Morris took 7-52 in Lancashire’s under 17’s 2 day game, but once again the weather intervened and the match was drawn.