Welcome to the Clifton Cricket Club website
CLUB NEWS from 2006
FOR NEWS FROM 2005 and PREVIOUS YEARS CLICK HERE
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT TIMES LONG GONE, PLEASE REFER TO THE HISTORY PAGE.
†December 7th There were returns for old faces and welcomes for new ones at the Annual General Meeting held recently.
Chris Haslam returns as Secretary after his excursion into the world of Rugby League with Swinton, and Dave Wild returns as first XI vice captain. The second XI will be run by Rob Meredith and Liam Dorsey whilst in the thirds, Tony Potter has handed over the reins to Phil Royle with Mark Unwin bringing his unique knowledge of the juniors into his vice captain role.
†October 24th - A FACE FROM THE PAST was revealed this week as the story of an ex-pro was revealed. A century ago, almost to the day, Harold Watson, along with his brother, decided to part company with Clifton, for whom he had been professional since 1902, to try his luck in New Zealand. Now, a century on, this photograph has winged itís way five thousand miles back in the opposite direction, courtesy of the National Cricket Museum of New Zealand, so that it can join our gallery of photographs of past professionals. The photograph was taken in 1924 after his Wellington side had won the Plunket Shield. He died in Auckland NZ in 1958.
†October 14th - The Club Golf Day, organised by Paul Garner on Saturday 14th October 2006 at Boysnope Park Golf Club was Another resounding success, but our trust in the nations police force is placed into question as Jim Ainscoughs arresting performance gives him the spoils thanks to his criminal handicap!!
†September 30th - CRICKET FORCE TO CONTINUE The highly successful ECB cricket force weekend which took place in April will be repeated again in 2007. No dates as yet †watch this space
†September 24th In the sweltering heat and in front of a more than decent crowd which belied the calendar which showed September 23rd, the 2006 season fizzled out as the thirds went down to defeat at the hands of Littleborough. If the cricket had been as hot as the weather and the celebratory after match curry, then Tony Potters last game in charge would have contributed to a memorable day. However, defeat by sixty runs, with over fifty of those coming in yet another last wicket stand, this time between Andrew Lord (31*) and Dave Rogers (25*), did nothing to dispel the positives of what has been a memorable season for the club. Littleborough were let off the hook in being allowed to score 177, after being 69-7, but once again the reply stuttered, losing four wickets for less than twenty. That was a bridge too far for the middle and late order, though they did hang on to deny the visitors maximum points.
September 19th - Yes.. cricket is still alive and well at Clifton after the seconds and firsts wound up the season last week, but after toiling away in exceptionally humid conditions to restrict title chasers Prestwich to 113 all out, some poor batting on a perfectly good wicket handed Prestwich an unlikely win. The oppositions traditional array of left handers proved difficult for the bowling attack early on, though they never really took the initiative, scoring for long periods at around two an over. David Dempster, one of a number of late call ups as players once again failed to appreciate that the skipper is not psychic, finally prised out a wicket and Steve Eccles then capitalised on some suicidal slogging opening the door for Tony Potter to come on and mop up, as he has done so often in the past, finishing with 5-12. After losing Phil Royle the early order the capitulated to 14-4 before another mature innings by Scott Bradley (30) steadied the ship. The late order then showed how easy batting was, but by then the opposition had their tails up and a couple more quick wickets left the score at 60-9. A last wicket stand of 29 then really showed how easy paced the wicket was with Richard Dempster showing what an enormous all round talent he is with a chanceless 13 until a nip-backer just, and only just, nudged the off bail which wobbled and fell.
The curtain falls next Saturday with a home game against Littleborough after which players, spectators and curry monsters are invited to a curry night (venue to be decided).
A late request from the LCB resulted in the club staging the Lancashire Shield Final on Sunday after the game was called off last week. The Shield is for clubs in leagues which do not employ professionals and is their version of the Lancashire Knockout. The clubs involved were Vertex from Manchester and the exotically named Degham Hibbert from Bolton. Aside from providing the players with a venue, it should also give the club a few brownie points down at HQ, which, with some pretty hefty grant applications in the offing, can do the clubs status nothing but good. Following a last wicket partnership of sixty one, the Bolton side won by ninety runs, gaining revenge for their defeat in the final two years ago against the same opposition.
September 12th - Werneth pro Mark Vermeulen has been banned from English first-class and league cricket for 10 years for throwing a ball at spectators.The 27-year-old had to be restrained by club officials in the Central Lancashire League game between Werneth and Ashton. Vermeulen, who played eight Tests and 32 one-dayers, lost his cool after struggling with bat and ball. The ball did not hit anyone and he was led back to the pavilion before his team conceded the match. League chairman Howard Donsfield told the Oldham Advertiser: "I was at the game and hope I don't ever see anything like it again - it was a sad sight for cricket. "It's not just about spectators - there was a 15-year-old boy among Vermeulen's team-mates and it's not the kind of example he should set." Vermeulen has been in trouble with cricket authorities before.
In 1996 he was banned from schools cricket for knocking out his stumps after being given out. In 2003 he was sent home from Zimbabwe's tour of England for leaving the ground on his own after twice being dismissed for ducks on the third day of the second Test.
September 10th - OUT with a bang ! The curtain fell on a most extraordinary season in almost perfect circumstances as the firsts and seconds amassed sixteen points out of twenty to complete a memorable campaign.
And for professional Chinthaka Jayasinghe, his plane journey back to Columbo will be all the sweeter after he tore apart the Crompton attack to score 144 not out. Added to the skippers 88, it meant that the side came excruciatingly close to the magic 300 for a second time this season as they rattled up 294-2. The professional was also amongst the wickets as Crompton were then dismissed for 150 with Aaron Vincec taking his maiden English wicket ! On Saturday, they had to settle for a point as Rochdaleís 208 proved a bridge too far as the early order got a little bogged down and they finished thirty runs short. Difficult to know how the table works out at the moment, especially as Werneth appear to have conceded their game with Ashton with the game in the balance †more on that to come no doubt, but a final position just outside the top half is some achievement after the start of the season.
The seconds have under achieved over the season, but they certainly didnít over the weekend as first Rochdaleís runner-up ambitions took a severe dent and then Crompton were annihilated on Sunday. Rochdale won the toss on Saturday and elected to bat; a decision they were left to rue as they were bowled out for 148 with Stephen Thorpe getting 7-47. The reply started well but after losing Geoff Griffiths and Paul Dempster it was stuttering on 50 for 3 before Liam Dorsey 38 steadied the innings. However, there was time to very nearly throw it away again but they eventually managed to scrape through for a thrilling one wicket win.
On Sunday it was another telling bowling performance which started the rout as Crompton were bowled out for 148 with skipper Rob Meredith getting 6-27. In reply they finished the season with the maximum in terms of cricket victories; winning by ten wickets with Geoff Griffiths 64 not out and Paul Dempster 63 not out.
For the thirds, as is usual in these situations when six teams have to be found for the weekend, it was a case of battle away and see what happens. Unfortunately, the three stalwarts, Ian Davidson, Tony Potter and Phil Royle had a disappointing time by their own standards, against two very strong sides. However, this allowed the blossoming youth to come to the fore and produce some very promising performances as Richard and Michael Dempster, Andrew Lord, Scott Bradley, Liam Holt and Danny Hill produced batting, bowling and fielding performances of some promise which should have those who werenít able to turn out at the weekend, looking over their shoulders. Michael Dempster and Scott Bradley deserve special mention as their afternoon plans were rudely interrupted at a very late stage by late drop-outs. Andrew Lord also deserves credit for four wickets against a very strong Swinton Moorside on an unhelpful wicket. For the record, both games were lost, but in neither case were the side disgraced.
August 29th - SEVEN wins out of NINE and a second and then a third league double of the season and Itís still hard to believe that the firsts couldnít win a game in the first two months of the season.
A systematic dismantling of Unsworth on Saturday proved the point that the side have real potential to be a force in the CLL next season if the balance of the side can be maintained over winter. After Nick Kennedy reduced the hosts from 100+ for one wicket to 175-9 with 6-44, the ease with which Gary Garner (83no) and Andy Griffiths (85no) knocked off the required runs with no alarms whatsoever, proved the point. It also meant that Unsworth became the victims of a two game batting blitz by the CCC line-up which realised 472 runs for the loss of just two wickets ! On Sunday, the treatment was meted out to Milnrow as Gary and David Garner (109 and 66no) piled up 274-3 before Chris Tye took 5-55 in reducing the visitors to 159 all out.
Itís a long way to April 2007, but if the current momentum can be maintained..who knows?
Meanwhile, the seconds were far from convincing as they held on for a point after recovering from 18-3 chasing 239. The credit goes to Paul Dempster whos 96no was the backbone of a terrific stand with Oliver Dunn (29no) which rescued the side from 68-6 to finish with a point on 210-6. Another defeat on Sunday meant a miserable weekend, but Rob Meredith was full of praise for his young side and the way they battled against a much stronger outfit.
The thirds made it seven rained off games out of fifteen on Bank Holiday Monday †spare a thought for opponents Thornham though †that was their ELEVENTH two pointer !
August 22nd - Working on the premise that a handshake is as good as a written contract when dealing with Sri Lankan cricketers, then the club will welcome it's second Sri Lankan into the fold next season. Hirantha Wijesinghe is a right-hand bat and right-arm offbreak bowler who is currently playing at Ashton, but who has agreed to become the club's overseas amateur for 2007. The twenty seven year old plays for Galle CC in Sri Lanka and visited the club on Tuesday to speak to officials including Team Manager Geoff Garner who is excited at the prospect of having three spinners in the side next year. Ideally, he said, we needed an opening 'quickie', but being able to field Wijesinghe alongside Nick Kennedy and the rising talent of David Dempster as a three pronged spin attack will make the side something a little different. With other new players in the offing as well, plans are well underway for the club's tilt at CLL honours in 2007.
August 6th Professional Chinthaka Jayasinghe will be returning to Clifton next season to continue the excellent service he has given the club over the last two years. The first XI responded magnificently to the news, with a 7 wicket win over Werneth. Chris Tye took the fight to the opposition immediately and soon had the visitors reeling. He followed up his 5 wicket haul last week with a better return of 6 wickets this week and Nick Kennedy also chipped in with 3 wickets for only 1 run. Werneth were easily were dismissed for only 100 runs. On the batting front, Skipper Gary Garner went early on, but Chinthaka and Andrew Griffiths took the score on entertainingly before Chinta was unluckily out for 26, c&b when an "exocet rocket" hurtled itís way towards the bowlers forehead. Young Griff was out soon after for 30+ runs and then Aaron Vincec and David Garner steered the side home to victory with plenty of overs to spare.
The 2nd XI were narrowly defeated at Werneth. Chasing a score of 186, they were bowled out for 164. Werneth batted first and were on the rack struggling at 54 for 4 until a partnership of almost 100 got them to a score of 186 for 8. The pick of the bowlers was Rob Meredith with 4 for 52 from 18 overs and Steve Thorpe with 3 for 64 from 13 overs. Clifton's innings saw what seemed like a different wicket emerge over the tea interval and the 2nds ended up with 164 all out. Geoff Griffiths was the pick of the batsmen with a well grafted 59. Anthony Walsh gave solid support but he was run out for 20 along with two other middle order batsmen, and this effectively lost the momentum of the innings.
The 3rd XI recorded their first ever victory over Rochdale CC when they bowled the home side out for only 77 runs with Taylor Marshall picking up 3 for 18 and Scott Davis mopping up the tail with 4 for 14. Rochdale set an aggressive field from the onset and Clifton lost early wickets against a rampant attack. Ronnie Gambles (19) held the middle order together and Taylor Marshall steered Clifton home to victory with 23 not out in a total of 81 for 8
August 5th The first team took on CLL Table toppers Heywood on Saturday and almost pulled off a surprise victory. Batting first, the team accumulated 224 with Aaron Vincec and Andrew Griffiths both hitting half centuries and Pro Chinthaka Jayasinghe hitting 68. Unfortunately though, the team once again fell 30 to 40 runs short of the anticipated score after dominating the Heywood bowling. West Indian Test opening batsman Sherwin Campbell again hit an assured half century and the home side's total was passed with wickets and overs to spare.
The 2nd XI were also defeated at Heywood. Chasing a score of 237 for 7, they were bowled out for 148. Top scorers were Grant Cordin with another half century and Geoff Griffiths with 39. Chris Higgs made a return to Clifton after about a decade's absence and took 2 for 68 from 17 overs
Sunday say the 1st XI chalk up a thrilling victory away to Radcliffe who were restricted to 209 for 9 in their allotted 50 overs. Chris Tye picked up a well deserved five wicket haul and Professional Chinthaka Jayasinghe picked up four. On the batting front, skipper Gary Garner opened the batting and hit an assured half century. Pro Chinthaka Jayasinghe then made a majestic 96 runs and the game was almost in the bag. However, overs had slipped by and the last arrived with nine needed. David Garner and Dave Wild scampered three leaving the skipper's son on strike. Not known for his big hitting, the two Dave's had a chat and noted that, as the keeper had come up to the wicket, fine leg had dropped out of the circle and square leg come up. At the last second, Dave Garner lurched to off and pulled the biggest six over square leg that has ever left his bat, giving his side a thrilling victory by 4 wickets !
The Second XI also picked up maximum points at home to Radcliffe. Batting first, they scored a whopping 267 for 6 with Jamie Royle scoring a magnificent 110. Grant Cordin had another good knock with 45 and the bowlers soon let Radcliffe know they were in a game with Rob Meredith picking up 3 for 18 from 9 overs and Scott Davis picking up 4 wickets for 44 runs. Radcliffe were eventually dismissed for 153.
A severely depleted Third XI also secured a deserved victory over Farnworth Social Circle. Farnworth batted first and were soon in trouble as Ryan Cusick ripped through the top order taking the first 4 wickets in a devastating spell and finished with figures of 4 for 28 off 7 overs. Dave Rogers supported well with 2 for 24 from 14 overs and Mark Unwin chipping in with 2 for 32. Phil Royle hit an assured 61 and Clifton passed the total of 107 with 12 overs to spare.
-What a fantastic weekend it has been for all senior sides at Clifton CC this
weekend with all games ending up with wins for the club. Saturday saw all three
senior sides in action. The first took on
The Seconds secured a close victory at home after chasing a total of 229. Steve Thorpe with 3 for 56 was the pick of the bowlers and Geoff Griffiths got the side off to a steady start in reply, with a solid 44. However, the wickets soon tumbled and with the score on 93 for 6, things did not look good until Steve Thorpe hit 60 not out and was well supported by Oliver Dunn (26) and Richard Borritt (32 not out) to steer the side home to an unlikely victory.
Third XI also secured a fabulous victory over Rochdale Catholic Club. Batting
sunny day at
The Second XI also picked up maximum points at Ashton after holding the opposition to 167 for 9 from the 50 allotted overs. Steve Thorpe bowled straight through the innings to end up with 2 for 77 but certainly deserved better figures and Richard Borritt picked up 3 for 25. After starting their innings, the Second XI slumped to 29 for 3 before an unusually mature and patient innings of 86 not out by Grant Cordin and a good supporting innings of 33 from Steve McManus saw Clifton home to victory.
July 17th -Even the bearded wonder of radio 4 cricket commentary fame would be surprised to hear about three weekend defeats at one club, despite two centurions and a half centurion, but that's how it panned out in three remarkable games of cricket for our three teams - all ending in defeat.
The firsts had to face bottom side Royton, with only two regular bowlers and worst fears were realised as Royton plundered 267-6 with the thirteen overs by the 'occasional' bowlers costing ninety three runs. It was a sterling performance by Chris Tye and Chinthaka Jayasinghe in the stifling heat, to keep it to that and at tea, knowing the batting strength outweighed the bowling to some tune, there was a degree of cautious optimism. However, in a game which twisted and turned it proved a bridge too far despite an awesome knock by the professional which brought him an undefeated 139 runs and the side finished an agonising eight runs short of their target.
In the second XI game, despite a rapid fire half century by Grant Cordin, the home side registered an unlikely 95 run victory, with the game still having 22 overs left to run. Chasing, amazingly, the identical score as the firsts, they were 172 all out in just 28 overs.
After setting a score of 216, thanks to a cultured 115 from stand in skipper Phil Royle, and then reducing the opposition to 133-8, with Rochdale Catholic Club's eleventh man in hospital, it seemed inconceivable that the thirds could lose their game on Saturday. A last wicket stand of 84 put paid to that notion as the visitors capitalised on the benign playing surface and some lacklustre bowling and fielding to grab an unlikely win.
July 10th - The firsts used their 'get out of jail' card at Norden, as a change of luck led to the weather doing us a favour at last. Chasing an unlikely 301 for victory, the side, already hampered by holiday calls, lost Dave Wild and Chris Tye to late illness. However, at 91-5, the persistent drizzle became a little too persistent and the umpires called it a day. Evergreen Geoff Griffiths got a late call up and made sure there wasn't going to be any embarrassing collapses by carrying his bat through the innings.
The seconds, also with a severely depleted side, at last broke the losing run with a good win in the corresponding fixture. A good tight bowling performance, including 4-18 from one of last week's absentees, Richard Borritt, was instrumental in removing Norden for 114; a total which never seriously troubled the batting line up, giving the side max points when others could well have had to settle for two as the rains came to the region shortly after the conclusion.
The thirds lost their fourth game out of eight to the weather at home to Thornham. It was disappointing that the opposition didn't make a game of it by choosing to bat on until 6-15 leaving a target of 182 in around twenty five overs. Tony Potter mopped up the tail in spectacular fashion taking six for ten.
The under 11s picked up the first silverware of the season on Sunday when they retained the Radcliffe Trophy - see juniors page.
July 3rd - LONG STANDING CLUB RECORD BROKEN AT LAST. After a century and five years, the club's record first eleven score has finally been surpassed ! You have to go back to 1901 to find the Clifton first eleven's record score of 295-8 against Alderley Edge - until Saturday that is, when the history books were re-written as the firsts picked up winning points whilst rattling up 298-2 against Unsworth. How fitting it was that the club professional Chinthaka Jayasinghe, who himself broke the club individual scoring record with his 173 last season, should smash sixteen off the last over to clinch the record and celebrate in his own inimitable way, the birth of his first child with an unbeaten century. The only sadness was that the magical 300 could not be passed for the first time and, on the day, that the last pair could not be separated to force maximum points from the day's efforts. Half Centuries from both David and Gary Garner plus Andy Griffiths falling marginally short of the same achievement, completed the landmark score. A weakened side, plus defeat to the same side in Tuesday's 20/twenty game made the achievement all the sweeter.
However, it was the seconds who really suffered for the loss of around eighteen players on the day as, with seven juniors; six of them under fifteen, they went down by eight wickets in the corresponding fixture. It was not all doom and gloom though, as the young players aquitted theselves well and contributed greatly to a game which was by no means one sided. Geoff Griffiths (pic) held the innings together (82) , but others chipped in and the final total of 191 was a credit to the whole side. However, when Neil Barlow was unable to complete the first over effectively due to a back strain, the writing was on the wall and the tinies, plus Steve Eccles, Stephen Birch and an extremely weary Geoff Griffiths, could not muster enough fire power to seriously trouble the opposition.
Speaking of fire power, the thirds were stranded in the dressing room for an hour witnessing the mother and father of all thunderstorms on Sunday. Earlier they had scored 190-9 (Phil Royle 66) but that was as far as it went.
June 27th - Halwathurage Devmi Sapna Jayasinghe came into the world at 3.20 on Monday afternoon, weighing 6lb 12 oz and mother and baby are doing just fine !! It was a far better delivery than anything that the father has ever managed. He fainted in the theatre but luckily it was at the start of proceedings so he was round in time to watch the birth - what a tart !!
A third June win has put the firsts within striking distance of moving away from the lower reaches of the division following Sunday's more than comfortable win against Milnrow. A win against Unsworth next week will lift the side above their Bury rivals and off the bottom for the first time this season. Milnrow, who's rattled up 303-1 last week, were reduced to 110 all out; a score which would have been better still had the Milnrow professional been given out when he was just two. Despite a slight hiccup when in-form David Garner and unfortunate Aaron Vincec were out, the runs were knocked off with ease as father-to-be Chinthaka Jayasinghe played an unusually composed innings to see his side to victory after Andy Griffiths had laid the foundations with an aggressive fifty which included twenty in one over. Earlier, Nick Kennedy had mopped up the tail with 4-19, but even he would acknowledge that Chris Tye's return to his early season form in removing three early wickets was the key to the win. With the Milnrow batsmen seemingly keen to get back to the pavilion to watch football, their skipper would have been mortified to see his late order charging down the wicket with almost twenty overs left. Needless to say, Wooly and Nick Kennedy were having none of that. LADIES HAVE THEIR DAY TOO - click for pic page.
Norden pro Asif Mujtaba's provided a masterclass as both wickets and a chanceless 89 not out gave his Norden side the win on Saturday after the firsts lost their last nine wickets for fifty four runs. Despite Andy Griffiths, Gary Garner and Chinthaka Jayasinghe setting up the innings at 120-1, a total collapse to the Norden spinners ensued and 174 on that track was never going to be enough. All three perished in the thirties and forties before the rest of the batting crumbled to tight bowling and rash shots; several of them being caught in the deep by strategically placed fielders. Despite another first over scalp by Chris Tye, Mujtaba took control and the side's second defeat of the month was inevitable. Abiding memory of the day ? Watching the unfortunate Grant Cordin playing off the back foot to Mujtaba's undiagnosed quicker ball. Sorry Grant !
An unprecedented sixth straight defeat for the seconds resulted from two more disappointing performances over the weekend. Despite a maiden CLL half century from Scott Davis on Saturday, it was again a case of 'not enough runs' on both occasions. It was a good game against Norden on Saturday, batting first and getting off to a good start with Scott Davis and Paul Dempster putting on eighty for the first wicket. However another collapse ensued in the middle order leaving the side on 100 for 4. Steve Thorpe and Scott Davis then revived the momentum but when Steve Thorpe was out for 23 there was another collapse before Scotty was the last man out on 90 with the score on 172......... not enough. The bowling and fielding gave them a chance at 100 for 5 but defeat was confirmed in the last over. On Sunday again the toss was won and Rob Meredith chose to bat again on a short boundary. Another good start by Geoff Griffiths (35), Paul Dempster (24), Jamie Royle (49) and Dave Dempster (29) was again wasted, however, as the rest of the lower order only scored 18 runs which left the side on 185 for 6. As expected, not enough runs again. The bowling was poor at the beginning and Steve Thorpe conceded 16 of one over which didn't help. Milnrow got the runs comfortably in the end. "Get tougher" was the skipper's message at the end. "The key to success is building targets big enough to defend and our batting is not good enough at this level. 185 may have been good enough in the past, but at this level 210-230 is simply par for the course".
June 20th Dave Wild and Dave Garner at last showed some of the late order resistance which has been missing from the firsts this season. It quickly became apparent from April, that removing the first four or five batsmen did not expose a tail in this league, so it was nice to see the side recover from 90-6 to go on and win their second league game of the season. Both Daves scored maiden CLL half centuries as the score rose to 216 and with Lee Wolstenholme weighing in with five wickets, Royton fell twenty runs short, though they did hang on with nine down to deny us maximum points. Dave Garner, along with Dad, made it a double celebration with victory in Friday night's twenty20 game, but it was a close thing until Garner and Son got going in the last three overs of the second innings, it was probably one of the dullest twenty20 games ever witnessed, but the win against a lacklustre and seemingly disinterested Monton & Weaste, keeps the side in the competition. It was the bowling and fielding that made the difference with the visitors restricted to 103 and, although they made hard work of it by losing three cheap wickets, the Garner's eventually saw it off.
The seconds suffered at the hands of Royton and the currently outstanding Manchester Road playing surface as they were made to chase 250 plus. Again, they were unable to find the batsman to go on to make the match winning innings, though Geoff Griffiths passed the half century mark again as they responded with another 200+ score, but fell well short of the required total.
It was a day off for the firsts and seconds on Saturday as the thirds got a rare Saturday outing at Manchester Road looking for revenge for the cup tie bowl out defeat earlier in the season at Glodwick. It was not to be however, as they suffered one of those 'off' days that only they can do, Bowled out for just 75 (including a last wicket stand of 26) on a perfect batting track, they were well and truly stuffed by seven wickets. On Sunday, they handed a second club their first win of the season when Greenmount got off the mark with a five wicket win in the drizzle to end a truly forgettable weekend for the side.
June 15th Planning permission has been granted by Salford Council, to raise the height of the existing ball-stop fences and erect another along the Manchester Road side of the ground.
June 11th A third successive score in the eighties for Chinthaka Jayasinghe does not disguise the fact that the teams are simply not scoring enough runs at the moment, as both sides went down on excellent batting tracks. The firsts looked, at last, to be putting the game beyond the opposition when Middleton were staring down the barrel at a score of 135-1 with half the overs left. The final total of 228 was a desperate disappointment for all concerned and Middleton eventually stuttered their way to a two wicket win with an over and a half to spare. Similarly, the seconds failed to chase a score just over two hundred despite almost half the side getting well into double figures and then failing to go on to make the match winning score. Both sides were in the game and in winning positions for much of the time, but the instinct to kill off the match was beyond them.
Not so the thirds who used seven bowlers to restrict Greenmount to 153 on a perfect playing surface. As expected, it was never going to be enough and, thanks to 74 not out from Phil Royle, the runs were amassed with over 21 overs still remaining. Credit to Dave Rogers and Taylor Marshall for prising out four wickets apiece on an unhelpful track.
June 4th MAX LEAGUE POINTS AT LAST !......but Wood Cup / Burton Cup progress is halted at round 1
The glorious sunny weather brought runs galore (almost 950 in the first team matches alone) and a long awaited win for the firsts at Werneth. Scores in the late eighties from both Chithaka Jayasinghe and Gary Garner meant that the middle order and tail could make hay to take the score to 243-9 before another decent four wicket haul by Nick Kennedy left the home side 15 runs short and the whole of Clifton breathing a collective sigh of relief. It was tempered on Sunday however, when, after rattling up 237-7 with Chinthaka scoring 87 to emulate his 88 on Saturday, the Wood Cup dream was ended in the last over against Norden. Earlier, Nick Kennedy had blitzed his way to 52 not out in the last few overs to set what seemed a respectable total, but despite removing chief threat Asif Mujtaba, Norden were able to score at around nine an over for the last eight overs to clinch a last over victory.
Thorpe factor five not enough
A superb maiden century from Chris Thorpe (pic) aided and abetted by five wickets from big brother Steve were not enough to prevent the seconds from slipping to an unlikely defeat in the corresponding fixture. Chasing 225, they fell 13 runs short in Saturday's league match and then tumbled out of the cup on Sunday to an eighty run thrashing at Norden who elected to bat on a good batting strip. Despite bowling well for the first twenty five overs restricting Norden to 61 for 3 they batted very well to reach 233. Even then, the skipper thought this was a par score on a good wicket and a fast outfield. The reply started well, but the team needed one of the top four to get a big score and it was disappointing when Geoff Griffiths, Paul Dempster, Jim Ainscough, Chris Thorpe and Grant Cordin all got starts but did not go on to make the match winning innings. Some questionable umpiring decisions towards to latter end of the innings effectively ended resistance and they finished a disappointing 168 all out with seven overs left.
Farcical summer weather continues as Glodwick, who beat our thirds in a cup-tie bowl out when looking beaten before the rain came, have progressed to the semi-finals - courtesy of a toss of the coin against Thornham !!
May 29th - A triple Nelson of defeats on a wet, cold and windy weekend tells but half of the true story of a forgettable Bank Holiday weekend for the first team. They slipped to another defeat against Monton & Weaste on Saturday, but at least the side showed some grit and were in the game right up to the end and they grabbed a deserved point in defeat against Radcliffe on Sunday, but an exciting game against Nelson was marred by off the field antics which deserve no more than a passing mention.
POSITIVES were a grafted fifty for Andy Griffiths at Monton & Weaste and a great six wicket haul for Nick Kennedy against Radcliffe on Sunday. Monday's four wicket defeat against Nelson was a decent all round performance by the side, though Chintha will be disappointed not to have made more impression, especially as the Nelson pro, aided by a good sixth wicket stand, won them the game almost single handedly. It was a rain affected game which saw the lads claw their way to 139 after 37 overs. This was reduced to 128 after yet more rain, but when Nelson were reduced to 11-2 and then 64-6, things looked good. However, the sixth wicket pair worked the ball superbly well and the game was lost with an over to spare. All good experience though and you can't help but feel that the first win isn't far off.
The seconds continued their win one / lose one streak with defeat at Monton and a smashing all round win at Radcliffe where the whole team contributed. Saturday's spectacular middle and tail collapse to 101 all out was a disappointment though, but with the batting talent in the side, it's not likely to happen that often.
May 22nd - It was a little hard to bear on Saturday when, having beaten the weather when so many other clubs couldn't, the firsts went down to Littleborough. Thanks to the sheer hard work put in by players and officials, the covers AND sheets were put on, then taken off on countless occasions, but after all that, the match was decided by yet another highly debatable not out decision given against an opposing professional. It was a real pity that the match ended in such acrimony especially as, (hit me over the head with a blunt object if you don't agree) in the reverse situation, we would have done the same thing. It's beginning to sound like sour grapes, but once again the rub of the green went inexorably against the club. The seconds also went down to defeat up at Littleborough in what was possibly the only first and second XI double fixture completed for many a mile. Professional Chinthaka Jayasinghe scored his first half century of the season and stand in skipper Stephen Birch took four wickets for the seconds.
Sunday's cup-ties against Norden didn't even reach the point of removing the covers, so it's weekday evenings for both teams until the ties are decided. As for the forecast - we may catch a glimpse of the sun, sometime Thursday we're told !!
May 15th - Two '55s' is normally an order at the club bar, but the desperate truth is that, for the second week in succession, the firsts could only manage fifty five runs in their innings.
OK, there were excuses again, but they are starting to wear a bit thin when players and spectators alike are talking about lack of application and unwillingness to graft. Those same people are also quite certain that things will come good in the end and that talent and technique are two pre-requisites that are not in short supply in the squad. However, the longer we have to wait for that first league win and the greater the build up of tension. At the moment team spirit is good and it's especially important that it stays that way. The lack of application even filtered down to the seconds who came off worst in an exciting finish at Manchester Road. Paul Dempster again held the innings together with yet another half-century, but, despite a brave knock from Steve Thorpe, it's fair to say that the skipper was less than satisfied with some of the shots he saw played chasing Ashton's 177 in which Stephen Birch took 4-49.
Lowerhouse will not remember their first ever trip to Clifton fondly as, with a little help from the weather (for a change), the firsts picked up their first win of the season on Saturday to move into the second round of the Inter League Club Knockout (Bank Holiday Monday May 29th). Between the showers, Lowerhouse were restricted to 75-9 leaving a victory total of 76 in 25 or so overs. Chinthaka Jayasinghe and evergreen Tony Potter both picked up four wickets in the nine wicket win. Meanwhile, at a freezing cold Littleborough, the thirds beat the home team by eight wickets with Geoff Griffiths again hitting form with 66 and Ian Davidson taking five wickets.
May 8th - Sixty six players splashed about in the rain on Sunday as players from Clifton, Rochdale and Roe Green got soaking wet and ended up with exactly what they would have had if they'd gone home at two o'clock - two points apiece from drawn games. The weather did nothing to lift the gloom of Saturday's humiliation at the hands of Crompton when the firsts went down by 175 runs, this despite reducing Rochdale to a promising 100-5 before abandonment. The high spot of the weekend was Chris Tye's enhancement of his growing reputation, capturing eight of the twelve wickets to fall.
The seconds came nearest to beating both the weather and Rochdale, but despite Grant Cordin's typically ebullient knock of 38, they had to acceed to the umpires wishes, still thirty runs short of a second victory of the weekend. Rob Meredith was particularly proud of his side on Saturday, facing a bowling attack he described as the best second string he's faced. He singled out Paul Dempster for particular praise when, after struggling through a torrid early spell he came out with yet another half century. The skipper himself saw his five wicket haul on Sunday evaporate into the rain, but the signs for the second string are good so far.
And so to Saturday's debacle. A temporary blip or a portent of serious batting problems? What is certain is that the firsts badly need to get that first win under their belts. The skipper rightly pointed to adverse batting conditions and some questionable umpiring, but he also acknowledged that the batting was woeful and that a number of players are yet to jump on to the steep learning curve required. "Toughen Up" was his message to his troops, suggesting that some players are still a little overawed by their new surroundings.
Almost unnoticed was the Bolton Association's all time highest runs scorer's decision to relinquish a thirty odd year hold on first team cricket as Geoff Griffiths made his third team debut in the gentler surroundings of Roe Green. "Nervous as hell" was his summary before the game, but a cultured unbeaten half century in the rain affected game will have quelled those feelings for next week's trip to Littleborough. One of his reasons for the step down was the feeling that he was struggling on the big grounds. Perhaps they'll rope off two thirds of Littleborough for him !
May 1st - The firsts fell to former West Indies' star Sherwin Campbell's 93 in Saturday's game at Heywood, but had much the better of Sunday's encounter against Oldham before rain intervened. Campbell plundered almost two thirds of his side's runs when chasing 153 after one of those collapses we hoped we'd left in the B&DCA. On arrival I was told by the gateman that his team were being 'slapped around' but from being close to a hundred for one, the middle order disintegrated around Gary Garner. Then, despite promising bowling efforts from all the bowlers, Campbell showed his class, finding gaps in the large field with ease and Heywood ran out four wicket victors. It was a different tale on Sunday however as, with rain threatening, the skipper was able to declare against Oldham, fresh from an impressive win over Middleton, after forty overs with 200 on the board. Built around Gary Garner's 83, Chinthaka chipped in with 41 as did Andy Griffiths with 29. However, although the rain relented, the light closed in with Oldham on 92-4. The performance will have given the team confidence though, as well as the first points on the C.L.L. board.
The seconds had a belting weekend with victory over Heywood giving them maximum points chasing a total of 183 in which Steve Thorpe took 6-64. Jim Ainscough got past last week's 49 with 55 and others chipped in, notably Chris Thorpe with a classy 40no, in a four wicket win. It was a moral victory on Sunday too, as Paul Dempster rattled up an impressive century inside thirty overs to allow Rob Meredith to declare on 191-1. However, the rain brought proceedings to a close with the hosts on 54-4. It looks as though, if they can keep their heads, the seconds could have a good season.
Farce of the day on Sunday, was at Glodwick as the thirds cup tie victory was well in hand with a score of 138-3 with a quarter of the overs remaining. Ian Davidson and Tom Clarke has rattled up fifties when the umpires decided that a result was unlikely given the lost time during the innings. A bowl out ensued and, suffice to say that we scored nil, and they didn't. Another cup run comes to an early end ! Bogey side Rochdale fielded in the rain but batted in sunshine on Monday and once again came out on top after a poor batting display. Under the watchful eye of the pro grinning from ear to ear, the bowlers defended the meagre 91 well, but there was no real cutting edge and they went down to a four wicket defeat.
April 30th - LEE Wolstenholme was a runaway winner of the AJ Grant Trophy at Hopwood on Saturday. Playing off 10 he returned a 63 to give him a four-shot win over 17-handicapper John Hind.
April 23rd - Normally, double defeat for the first and seconds would signify doom and gloom, but the frenetic build up to Sunday's games meant that normality would never be the order of the day. O.K. a double win would have been nice, but the experience of being at Manchester Road alone was enough to leave most people gagging for more.
Thankfully, the MET office were utterly and completely wrong about the weather, as testified by the glow of burnt faces in the clubhouse after the game. This, plus a lot of local interest, some welcome support from many old friends in the B&DCA and the Bolton League's mystifying decision to call off all their games, meant that the ground was as full as it has been for any of the recent representative games.
The cricket was good too, even on a wicket which, despite the excellent drainage and covers, was as slow as anyone has ever seen. Credit then to Aaron Vincec for adapting immediately to the conditions with a knock of 33 which sadly was more a knock of promise rather than a match winning innings. Gary Garner batted as though he'd been working on the batting order all night (which apparantly he had) and there was encouraging late order resilience from Nick Kennedy and Geoff Griffiths. Chintha and Chris Tye both bowled exceptionally well for their three wickets apiece but the deciding factor was a third wicket stand in which both batsmen in a Walsden side, which included two Australians, a Sri Lankan and a South African, scored impressive half centuries. The only real disappointment was the inability to register our first point which would have come at 153. Sadly, both Liam Dorsey and Chris Tye tried to get there in one shot and perished in the process. Gary Garner was quick to point out that the two practice games which the opposition had squeezed in had made a lot of difference to their preparation. However, the external conditions in which the game was played must also have been a deciding factor, so the double header next week and the chance to perform away from home will be a relief to the players.
The seconds also went down, but Rob Meredith seemed upbeat in his match report. Having lost the toss, which was important, Walsden had without doubt the best of the wicket. However he was quick to point out that his side did not apply themselves at all with only Jimmy Ainscough (49) showing any sort of form. After tea, the wicket had dried out but the bowlers did not perform well at all which resulted in Walsden knocking off the runs with only 2 wickets down and just short of 30 overs left. No doubt they will be looking forward to playing at home next Sunday.
All of which left the thirds as the only wiinners of the weekend. On a wicket on which every run was worth three, it was a day for older heads to master the conditions better and Ian Davidon's greying mullet was decisive as his 5-14 helped the side to a comfortable four wicket win.
April 14th - The Management Committee of the club would like to say a huge THANK YOU to all players (both senior and junior), members and parents of junior members who all contributed to making the event a huge success. A great deal of credit should go to Tony Potter for organising the event and huge thanks should got to the Cooper Buildbase (Swinton) and Mark Unwin who were able to provide several tons of gravel for the work on the car park at the rear of the Club House.
There were many sterling contributors to the event - Steve Dicks did a sterling job on cutting the hedges alongside the boundary edge and produced a finish that looks like a sprit level had been used. Great job Steve ! Trevor Hay and Steve Lord must have gone home smelling like a pig farmer with the amount of manure they wheel barrowed into the skip. A thankless task and one in which we are all eternally grateful. Tom Morris marshalled the troops with his usual efficiency and June Robins did a great job in cutting back all the overgrown shrubs etc. Big thanks also go to Billy and Liam Dorsey who led the painting crew of Paul Garner, Steve Birch, Grant Cordin, Michael Hay, Andrew Lord and Dave Wild. Several Juniors (Adam Rogers, Michael, David and Richard Dempster, Jack Unwin, Christopher Royle, Michael Ferry and Jake) also chipped in with valuable contributions with the sweeping brushes and paint brushes.
Norman Selvester did an excellent job of staining all the benches and Jake's mother gave valuable input into paining the edging stones on the Boundary and Neville used his welding skills in the garage. Geoff Griffiths and Dave Rogers cleared the path around the ground and Phil Royle marshalled the troops with the work on the car park at the rear of the Club. A big thanks also goes to Siobhan for providing the troops with essential refreshments.
March 28th - A welcome face at the penultimate net of the close season heralds a return 'home' for Jimmy Ainscough after his exile at Roe Green. Meanwhile, catching a different bus are Dave & Greg Jennings who return to Leigh. Dave Hamilton has also left for pastures new after some memorable performances over the last few seasons before the disappointment, by his own high standards, of 2005 - we wish him well.
March 27th - Chintha's domestic season has come to an end and it's been a disappointing winter for the big chap; perhaps he has other things on his mind, like the ever growing swelling around Jeeva's midriff !!
The sorry tale reads thus:
Premier League Batting 15 1 288 67 20.57
Premier League Bowling 41 9 100 1
Limited Over Batting 7 2 62 12.40
Limited Over Bowling 57 11 168 9
20/20 batting 3 1 29 14.50
20/20 bowling 5 0 35 5
March 17th - The club are delighted to announce that Aaron Vincec of The University of Western Australia will be joining the club next month. After performing well in third grade cricket, including a century against Greg Dimery's Mount Lawley club, Aaron moved into grade two cricket where he has more than held his own.
March 7th - There are 929 clubs registered to take part in NatWest CricketForce 2006 and Clifton is to be one of them. NatWest CricketForce encourages cricket supporters, their friends and families to give something back to their local community cricket club by volunteering to undertake major renovations to clubhouses and grounds. Plus it's a great fun day and a chance to meet players and officials of the club. Why not grab a paintbrush and turn up on one of the cricketforce days on the weekend of April 8/9 ?
February 27th - Club Secretary Jim Riley has announced that he intends to step down after the March meeting. Jim the pipe sucker has been in office for fifteen months and joins a list of modern day Secretaries who have found the love of a good woman whilst in office !!
January 28th - Clever Jeeva Jayasinghe has outgunned her all-rounder hubby by producing their best performance of the season by far by announcing the imminent arrival of baby Chintha in the summer! It's a move that, had the ladies of Clifton gone to the bookies last Summer, would have won them a fortune as it was the most widely predicted event of 2006. Warmest Clifton congratulations to a smashing couple.
January 27th - NEW SIGNING ANNOUNCED - Nick
Previous club: Haslingden
Batting style: Right handed lower order
Bowling style: Left arm spin
Fielding position: Slip
Nick Kennedy is a left arm orthodox bowler and right hand batsman; he also has a reputation for being an outstanding slip fielder. He has played his cricket at Radcliffe and represented the CLL team.
January 20th - The Bolton Evening News has reported that Radcliffe Cricket Club's recent turmoil has had a disappointing result for Clifton in that Vice Captain Steve Holt is to return there as captain for the 2006 season. Their club was split at the recent AGM when a large number of players threatened to leave following the democratic election of a new Chairman. A subsequent meeting ratified the changes so chaos prevails, but they did clearly state that Steve is back with the new regime for 2006. If this comes to fruition, I'm sure all at Clifton wish him good luck.