3rdXIdinner 3 small.jpgThe Central Lancashire League and North Manchester League Dinners took place on November 9th. In the third XI, Phil Royle and Dave Rogers snaffled the bowling and batting prizes.

Let’s just have a closer look at that bowling prize again. I could have sworn Warren Hegg presented the trophies on the night, but it seems that ‘thing’ of Addams family fame got in on the act. Shame on you ‘thing’.

3rdXIdinner 2 small.jpg


Home game mayhem looms

The 2007 season is hardly cold in the archive box, before the worrying starts for 2008. Normally a home cup draw is good news, but not for the thirds who have been drawn at home in the opening two rounds of next season’s NMCL knockout. With the firsts committed to Lancashire knockout AND Cockspur cup dates, fixture mayhem looms already AND the league has put the season back a week so league games don’t finish until mid September making fixture juggling an additional problem. With the groundsman hoping to to some overdue work on the wicket ends next September, it’s already looking like a grim job to fit them all in.


September 25th  - Dave Rogers' late season wicket burst has handed him the league bowling prize for division two of the NMCL, and he won't be alone in his walk to the trophy table as skipper Phil Royle has once again won the batting prize. Roggers took more than half his wickets in the last three games of the season to nick the prize from under the noses of the other contenders, wheras it was the opposite for the skipper who's late season dip in form almost, but not quite, gave others hope for optimism.































































































































September 16th  - ADAMS FAMILY FLY IN  -  Former professional Stuart Adams, who emigrated to Australia fifteen years ago, was back in the country. He staged an 'old friends' match at Bradshaw on September 22nd, only hours after landing and former team mates and opponents turned up to play, including Gary Garner. Also representing Clifton was Andrew Kilner who was in the 1983 championship side and a certain highly controversial umpire who kept giving CLL wides much to the dismay of the Bolton League bowlers. Former B&DCA  players David Tattersall and Ian Moss were also present and the number of greying barnets would have made Phil Royle feel right at home. Stuart was professional in 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984 and 1985, making him the first Clifton professional to be in a championship winning side (1983) under the captaincy of Phil Royle. The rumour mongers had a ball in the bar after the game with the most confident one being a return to Kearsley for Mel Whittle and Steve Dublin !!   Meanwhile Tonge have replaced Adil Nisar with Chintha's mate Amila Wettesinghe.



The under 13s won the championship play off match last Saturday without losing a wicket !  See junior page for team photo.

Under 9's match reports

The club's youngest side have played a couple of games recently. Jim Ainscough (himself a former junior) reports, also on the junior page.



September 16th  - The second XI have won the Courage Cup for the last six competition, to partly make up for the disappointment of letting the trophy for the combined points total slip away in the last weekend, In the end there was a comfortable three point gap at the top. Congratulations to Rob Meredith and his team - the first senior trophy to be won in the CLL.


The thirds finished the season with a win over title chasing Broadway after a good contest at Manchester Road on Saturday. Wickets were shared as the eventual runners up were reduced to 118-9 beforeone of those infuriating last wicket partnerships, fuelled by poor fielding and bowling, allowed them to escape to set a challenging 150. After a poor start in the face of some hostile bowling, DaVId Dempster and Jamie Royle (68) steadied the ship before a few jitters late on. However, Oliver Dunn steerd the ball through point to win the game by three wickets. Just who will be playing against the thirds next season is still in the balance until the rest of the weekend's results are in.


Meanwhile, the final CLL shakeup is complete and, as feared, the final weekend's results were just not enough to hold off Rochdale who, apart from winning the first division, also won the trophy for the combined 1st/2ndXI points total, by just two points. Both Clifton sides finished third which is a great achievement for our second season in the CLL and something to build upon next season. Well done and a big slap on the back to all concerned on and off the field !!


September 9th  -  Firsts smash high score record (again !!)


The earlier suggestion that the 372 posted against Monton and Weaste a mere fortnight ago, would outlive most of us as a club record, was made to look ridiculous at the weekend.  Chinthaka Umesh Jayasinghe bowed out of Clifton in the best way possible on Sunday, when he smashed a club record 180 helping his side to and club and league record 415-4. The popular pro who is still to find a position for next season, smashed SEVENTEEN sixes and seven fours in an innings that lasted just eighty balls. The club's record score has now been broken three times inside two seasons. For the record, Royton contributed 288 which means an aggregate total in excess of 700 which also just has to be a record. Hiranthe Wijesinghe also donated a leaving present of 75 and Gary Garner (54 in 30 balls) and Qaiser Malik (41no in 21 balls) completed the job. Remarkably, the skipper confided that, at one stage whilst in the field, he feared that they might actually lose the game as Royton went for it with all guns blazing.


Almost forgotten is Saturday's defeat at Heywood who posted 262 batting first. The way the side is batting, that wasn't out of the question, but in the end, all that we had to show was a point. However, that does not tell the whole story as the batsmen got within twenty of the Heywood score after being 14-4. Qaiser Malik scored a superb second century of the season and the middle and late order rallied around him but Bobby Cross' majestic century for Heywood proved a bridge too far.

Royton seconds, gained ample revenge for their defeat  earlier in the season by comfortably beating the seconds.  In a reversal of roles, the seconds managed to beat Heywood very convincingly on Saturday after Paul Dempster's spectacular late season return to form continued with 78.

The thirds were soundly beaten by a strong Swinton Moorside outfit who were looking to secure their place in the division as were we last week. It was a good workout against some lively bowling with Liam Holt taking the plaudits with 43 during which, having been hit on the head by a pacy Australian, he smashed the next ball for a huge, ball losing six. The ever youthful Dave Rogers weighed in with 6-52 but the game was lost by 70 runs.


So we, we get our breath back and await the shakedown of the weekend scores to see where the final 1st and 2nd XI placings leave us and whether we managed to hang on to that coveted aggregate points trophy for combined 1st and 2nd XIs points totals.


September 2nd

Dave Rogers went through the pain barrier to end the third team's run of defeats and any lingering relegation fears by breaking Littleborough's potentially match winning partnership and then demolishing the tail as he took 7 for 35 on Saturday. Clifton posted a challenging 198-6 with a number of useful innings though nobody managed a half century. Littleborough then saw both openers back in the tent with seven on the board before a partnership developed which took the score within fifty of victory before Roggers broke through. Sunday saw a return to the July and August deluge with play abandoned at both venues for the firsts and seconds. The seconds did manage a few overs in their vital game against Walsden, but the rain put paid to any marginal chance of catching them for this season.


August 26th   The seconds found Monton and Weaste 2nd XI in stubborn mood as they hung on to deprive them of maximum points having made no attempt to go for the runs on Saturday, but they had no such problem on Sunday as, for the second week in a row, Paul Dempster and Geoff Griffiths knocked off the runs for a ten wicket win. The way the Clifton wicket is playing at the moment meant that Crompton's 180 was unlikely to be enough but both openers got into the seventies to register a convincing win. 

The firsts didn't have it all their own way at Crompton, but came away with five points nonetheless. Having bowled out Crompton for 118 with Chris Tye once again the pick of the bowlers, they lost seven wickets in the chase but still consolidated third place and made inroads into Norden's second spot as they were beaten on the day. Gary Garner and Nick Kennedy both left the ground with injuries, with Nick in particular a worry for next week.

The thirds spoiled the weekend's win record with defeat at Prestwich where they were unable to defend 222. For the second time this season Phil Royle scored a century and ended up on the losing side. It was also his second century against Prestwich.


Firsts smash high score record

August 25th

Last year's eclipse of the 1st XI's 1901 record score of 295-7, when Unsworth were on the receiving end of a 298-2  scoreline was memorable, but there was a certain feeling that there was no way that another century would pass before the record was broken again. AND SO IT PROVED as on Saturday the firsts set a record of 372-2 which can rightly claim to have a very good chance of outliving anyone who was there to see it. The unfortunate Monton & Weaste bowling attack had no respite as, even when a wicket fell, incoming batsmen tore into the attack from ball one. Chris Lord (47) set up a platform with Hiranthe Wijesinghe which saw the hundred come up inside twenty overs and when he perished, professional Chinthaka Jayasinghe weighed in with 80 off 63 balls and with VJ scoring at over a run a ball as well, 200 was eclipsed in no time, quickly followed by 250 and when Chintha fell, Gary Garner announced his intentions with a four over extra cover first ball in a scintillating knock of 62no in just 29 balls. BUT the real hero was VJ who's remarkable 150 not out came in 138 balls with a procession of class shots with not a slog in sight making him a prime target for any 2008 pro-hunters.

THEN Chris Tye ripped out danger man Jason Maddox in his first over and with fielders all round the bat, he dispelled any fears of failing to nail the full five points by capturing two more prize wickets making way for David Dempster, who had earlier taken a stunning catch at backward square, to mop up the tail with three wickets for four runs.


August 9th


Tonge professional Adil Nisar has been confirmed as the club's professional for 2008. Adil is now based in England and has been professional at Tonge since 2001 and holds the club's record highest individual score of 239 not out achieved in 2006 when he scored 1842 runs. He was also the winner of the Bolton League professional's prize in 2004. His highest first class score is 232, scored in a total of  almost 6000 first class runs and 3000 one day runs. He is unusual in that the left arm bat also bowls right arm leg spin and his best perfromances have been a consistent 4-28 (First class), 4-26 (one-day) and 4-21 (20/20). Adil becomes the club's 35th professional.


August 8th


The 1st team match at Milnrow was curtailed by rain again on Saturday. Batting first, Clifton made 206-9 with Chris Lord hitting a fine half century and Chinta scoring 40. Bad light eventually stopped play with Milnrow on 40-0 and the points were shared


The 2nds suffered a close defeat in the corresponding home game. After bowling Milnrow out for 196 (Steve Thorpe 4-40, Rob Meredith 2-31 off 15 overs) a couple of unfortunate run outs saw the momentum of the innings fade away. What looked like a comfortable stroll turned out to hanging on in the last over to save a point finishing on 174-9. David Dempster top scoring on 66 with Geoff Griffiths also scoring 20 before before falling victim  to a "bat before wicket" decision !


The 3rd Team's home game to Roe Green on Sunday saw an exciting game that ended up in complete chaos at the end when the game was either a tie or a 1 run victory to Clifton. Clifton batted first and posted a score of 158 all out. Jamie Royle top scoring with an excellent knock of 86 and Chris Thorpe providing useful support with 26. The visitors seemed to be coasting to victory before strategic bowling changes changed the direction of the game in Clifton's side. With 5 runs needed from the last over, Oliver Dunn bowled the last man out with 1 run still remaining to find that the scorebox had added another run to the total making the game a tie. Captains and umpire collaberated and the result ended up with a much needed victory for the home side. Tony Potter picking up 6-28 and Oliver Dunn 3-37. 


August 1st 

The first team suffered a defeat at home to Crompton on Saturday only managing to post a score of 90 against some lively bowling from West Indian Test bowler Darren Sammy who took 8 for 48 on what seemed like an early season wicket. Crompton bagged an easy victory with a seven wicket win and Sammy ending up on 38 not out. Sunday saw an enthralling finish to the game against Ashton. Chasing a modest score of 147 (Nick Kennedy 5 wickets), Clifton surpassed the score with only one wicket remaining to win by one wicket. Qaiser Malik top scoring on 37 Not Out

Meanwhile, the 2nd continued their Championship pursuit with a 5 wicket win away at Crompton. Steve Thorpe bagged 8 for 31 in Crompton's total of 65 all out and Clifton's batsmen made light work of polishing off the total despite loosing a couple of late wickets. Ian Morris top scoring with 34


The hastiliy arranged 3rd team game against Littleborough saw a defeat for the local side. Chasing a score of 217-8, Clifton ended the game on 161-9 with Phil Royle achieving yet another unbeaten century, finishing on 115 not out.


100 Not Out !!!! !

Young Dean Morris achieved the magical milestone on Friday night in an under 12's match at home to Worsley. Congratulations Dean and let’s hope there's lots more to come in future years. !!! 


 July 9th........The firsts and seconds completed a double double of wins against luckless Werneth, following up last week's successes with two more on Saturday. The firsts made altogether easier work of it than last week as they restricted the bottom side to 146-9 on a decent wicket, before knocking off the runs with seventeen overs to spare. Nick Kennedy stole the show in the field with five wickets for twenty six miserly runs as Werneth struggled to ever get above three an over and suffered three run outs in the attempt,

Gary Garner (54no) then saw his side home after Wije unluckily played on via his chest and Chintha smashed the deputy professional for three fours in an over before launching a missile straight at square leg in the same over. The seconds demolished an under strength Werneth 2nds by eight wickets after bowling them out for 84 with Rob Meredith, Steve Thorpe and Chris Higgs all claiming three. Run machine Ian Morris then hit 61 not out in the reply.
























































W A S H O U T (S)

Guess what ?...... the thirds were left looking at a soggy outfield and driving rain again on Sunday as not a ball was bowled AND the T- 20 competition in which we felt we could do so well, came to a soggy end in Friday's quarter final as the teams were asked to bowl at stumps. We lost 2-0. 



 July 1st........The firsts stole a march on the rest of the sides at the top, to leap into third spot as only three games were played in the C.L.L. on Saturday. Watching Werneth bat was like watching the Clifton of three or four years ago as, having recovered from 2-2, they marched to 120-3 before losing their last seven wickets for nineteen runs. Earlier, a solid batting performance on a soggy wicket posted 151-7 in the 39 overs available with Hiranthe Wijesinghe again registering a half century and David Garner a solid 42 including some unintentional damage to the Werneth pavilion (for a change!) as a huge six demolished a slate on the roof.


Chintha took the bowling honours with three wickets for twelve in nine economical overs, but the rest of the bowlers chipped in with Nick Kennedy recovering from a mauling in his first two overs to change the game with two wickets in two balls after Chintha had provided the pivotal moment by removing Werneth's top scorer. Chris Tye, Qaiser Malik and Raki Mahmood also struck before Grant Cordin's direct hit from the deep finished the match. Earlier his two mighty blows for six had helped put the match just beyond the bottom side's reach. Meanwhile, Rochdale, who make a habit of playing when nobody else does, did it again, but this time they didn't capitalise to extend their sizeable gap at the top as they went down to their first defeat of the season at Walsden.

The seconds made it a double dose of misery for the Oldham based side as another epic batting collapse saw the visitors slump from 91-2 to 122 all out; a total which was never going to trouble the hosts with in-form Ian Morris registering another half century. Other batsmen contributed as well and the resulting six wicket win also boosted their league placing to third as the second XI fixtures were decimated to the same extent as the firsts. David Dempster again took the bowling honours to warm up nicely for his CLL under 18 representative game on Sunday. His four wickets during the big collapse, costing him 36 runs.


AND - it's a good job the weather forecasters aren't paid on results as the downpour at 1pm on Sunday meant that some players couldn't even get to the ground for the third team game. Walshy was trapped on the pavilion steps by thunder and lightning, hail and tempest for a good half hour and the game was abandoned before the due start time. Oh Well, perhaps the thirds will manage their eighth game of the season next week !

 July 1st........

Not Cricket !  The BBC teletext service provided a full nineteen pages of cancelled games on Saturday as the whole of Lancashire and Cumbria watched the rain fall on to cricket fields far and wide in an appropriate end to the wettest June on record. At least the forecasters will be happy - they got it right for once.

SUNDAY  and July arrived with exactly the same as rain came and then went, but the final decision to call it a day absolutely right as the rain continued for the rest of the daylight hours. That makes it seven out of sixteen lost to the weather for the firsts, but better is predicted - at the end of  July !!??

MEANWHILE the eternity that was a week trying to play the cup ties ended in double disappointment as both sides crashed out. After four days' deluge Oldham firsts must have thought they'd died and gone to heaven when they turned up to chase the firsts 158 on Wednesday and Thursday. The wicket was dry and flat and they had no trouble knocking off the runs. Not so at Littleborough where the wicket was as close to unplayable as a wicket gets, but the game was already beyond the seconds having fallen to 64-6 the previous night chasing 205, so it was a case of going through the motions to get the game finished and they capitulated to 77 all out.



 June 24th..........The big weekend for the firsts and seconds started well despite a Friday night drubbing in the 20/twenty game with Radcliffe which meant an away tie in the quarter final. The real cricket started at 1-45 on Saturday and both sides came away with convincing wins putting them in good heart for Sunday's cup ties. Both 1sts and 2nds batted first and Gary Garner's team once again surpassed the 200 mark and kept going, as the skipper, plus Hiranthe Wijesinghe and Chinthaka all scored half centuries in a score of 245-7.

The visitors from Middleton were then stunned by early wickets from Raki Mahmood and Chris Tye which set them on the back foot from the start and when the remaining bowlers kept the foot on the throat, a final score of 119 was more than deserved with Nick Kennedy grabbing three wickets and Raki, Chris Tye and Qaiser Malik all finishing with two.

The seconds had an up and down sort of day which resulted in a 46 run win at Middleton. A poor start saw Jim Ainscough and Ian Morris at the wicket with 28-2 showing on the scoreboard. A stand of 130 was then spoiled, much to the skipper's displeasure, with a late order collapse which saw 160-2 descend to 183 all out with overs to spare. Rob Meredith's half time rocket worked though, as he and Chris Higgs then tore into the Middleton early order reducing them to 0-2 after five overs and 25-5 shortly afterwards. A final score of 137 never seriously troubled the visitors with Chris Higgs finishing with 4-34, whilst earlier Ian Morris finished with 73 and Jim Ainscough with 53.


Both sides will return to their Cup Ties on Monday with the firsts achieving nothing but yet another lost toss and awaiting the chance to bat. In true cricket tradition, armies of workers descended onto the field after a morning deluge, had the playing area within ten minutes of a start and down it came again. The rain had been so heavy that, for the first time since their purchase, water had crept convincingly underneath the covers, but alas, all the efforts of the volunteers under the watchful eye of the groundsman counted for nothing. At least the seconds got a start with Littleborough batting out most of their overs, but it's a long trip into the hills in prospect for at least two nights during the week.


 June 17th      Sunday  -  TOP FOUR SPOT STILL ON

Another thrilling game ended in victory for the first XI at home to Ashton after an eleventh score for the season in excess of two hundred proved just enough. Chris Lord (56) and Chintha (86) were prime movers in a score of 258-7, despite a rare failure from skipper Gary Garner. 

Grant Cordin then provided his own last gasp cameo with 37 off ten balls to put the match beyond the plucky visitors who, spurred on by wily Anil Rideegamanagedera, very nearly nicked it at the end. However, with 200 on the board and only three down, Chintha and Qasir Malik bowled straight and full and it was all just too much for the visitors in the end as they finished on 245-9.

The seconds once again proved their frailty on a grafting wicket as they went down to Ashton. Despite setting a total of 129 which they can normally devour in their sleep, a bit of sport in the wicket proved too much despite a half century from Ian Morris and they failed to even manage three figures in reply. The bowling was up to scratch as usual, and if one bowler is off form, others can do the job. David Dempster took four of the Ashton wickets to fall and Chris Higgs three. However, it's starting to look as though their inability to cope with such playing surfaces with the bat could cost them at the end of the season. The fixtureless thirds arranged a friendly at East Lancs Paper Mill and a young side came away with a resounding 115 run win. Fourteen year old Liam Holt made a maiden half century and debutant Andy Tocher took four wickets for five runs showing the depth of talent at the club.


The firsts managed an away win at last on Saturday, despite previous away form and an absolutely appalling weather forecast, as they picked up maximum points at Radcliffe. The seconds repeated the treatment at Manchester Road with sixteen year old David Dempster scoring an astonishing 125 out of  the seconds winning total of 191. The firsts contest was an exciting back and forth affair with both sides having good spells in the game, but Raki Mahmood's bowling spell after Radcliffe's second wicket pair had seemingly grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck, proved decisive. There were contributions from a number of batsmen to support Gary Garner's solid knock of sixty as a final total of 210, which owed much to Chris Tye's last over exploits, threw down the gauntlet on a pitch which was as good as you could expect after a week of rain. Hiranthe Wijesinghe then knocked over an opener in his first over, but Radcliffe scored freely and a number of dropped half chances, and some which were less difficult, had them in the driving seat at the 25 over half way stage. Enter Raki who, to be fair, benefited from a great spell at the other end by Qaiser Malik who had slowed the rate down. He ripped through the middle order and the other bowlers chipped in with wickets of their own and a twenty five run win was assured.

The seconds had it all their own way from the start and never really looked in danger of losing the game. Amazing then that four batsmen scored ducks and the rest managed only sixty as David Dempster, after riding some early luck, smashed the ball to all parts to single handedly, with the exception of a vital century partnership with Liam Dorsey, set a winning total. The rest of the team did then thankfully join in as Steve Thorpe removed six Radcliffe batsmen culminating in their ending twelve short, despite a rather worrying last wicket partnership threatening to spoil the ten point double.


friday  -  TWENTY PLENTY

The firsts defied free scoring Unsworth and the weather to smash a remarkable 233-3 in the latest twenty20 game, to book a place in the knockout stages with a game still to play. Star of the show was undoubtedly skipper Gary Garner who will be looking to the record books to see if his formidable 149 not out is a CLL record for this competition. To be fair, the visitors were a shadow of the side that beat us in the league game on Sunday, but to score at almost twelve an over against anyone takes some doing, especially when Chris Lord and Chintha were back in the pavilion after three overs with the score 12-2. Hiranthe Wijesinghe scored fifty in a massive partnership with the skipper then Raki Mahmood weighed in with five wickets that cost him just shy of eleven an over, including a return catch that made Darren Sammy's effort to dismiss Michael Vaughan last week, look like a dolly. So it's Radcliffe at home next Friday with the incentive of finishing top of the group.


 June 11th  The firsts very nearly came back from the dead to grab an unlikely win at Unsworth on Saturday. The four leafed clover found by Nick Kennedy looked to be doing the trick as they chased down 293-7, having at one stage, to look at a scoreboard that read 200-1 with sixteen overs remaining. Chris Lord and Hiranthe Wijesinghe both scored opening half centuries and Gary Garner followed up with one of his own after Chinthaka suffered one of his rare failures. Qaiser Malik then weighed in with some lusty blows in his 43, but when he and Gary Garner both went to catches in the deep which would both have been sixes at Clifton, it all became a bit too much and the late order huffed and puffed to 268-9.

The seconds carried the flag again with Geoff Griffiths (74) and Ian Morris (64) helping to post a decent total once again in 227-6. David Dempster and Rob Meredith took three wickets apiece as Unsworth then folded to 145 all out to give the side another deserved win and, if results went well elsewhere, propel the team into a top four spot 


The thirds found bogey team Rochdale impossible to beat yet again as the Gods conspired against them on Sunday. Batting first, stalwart Phil Royle scored 88 in a final total of 206-7, but Dave Rogers limped out of the action after two overs and despite a valiant effort from the other bowlers and some fielding which went from the sublime to the downright dodgy, an exciting match was lost by just one wicket.


A 20-twenty victory at Monton for the firsts on Friday night set things up nicely for the final two games in the group stages which are both at home on the next two Fridays. It was a one sided contest to be fair, with the hosts managing only one boundary in the entire innings and succumbing for 76 all out to the last ball of the 20 overs. The win inside twelve overs for the loss of a single wicket was a formality, leaving things nicely set for Fridays' encounters against Unsworth (this week) and Radcliffe on the 22nd.


 June 4th The firsts and seconds booked a double date in the second round of their respective cup competitions on Sunday at the expense of high flying Crompton. The firsts batted first and it was a stop start sort of affair with early wickets falling then a quickfire six-per-over partnership followed by a period of consolidation after a mini collapse and the grand finale which finally realised 270 all out with a wasted over to spare

. Crompton professional, the former West Indies test paceman Tino Best, bowled some quick stuff down the hill, but there wasn't much guile about it and Chintha in particular rode the storm with some ease before falling to the most innocuous of deliveries to a medium pace bowler two short of what would have been a majestic and well deserved century. Other players weighed in with telling contributions as well and the same players weighed in with wickets after a lightning start to the Crompton innings which put sixty on the board in no time, descended into despair and a resounding 146 run victory with Chintha the pick of the all-rounders with 4-24 to add to his 98. Others made vital contributions at vital times as well. Qaiser Malik once again showed his all round potential with 28 and 3-11, Nick Kennedy weighed in with 32 and 2-10 and Gary Garner and Grant Cordin both made important twenty somethings at either end of the innings. A surprise win at Littleborough means that it's Oldham at home in the next round with every possibility of a semi-final place in the offing.

Meanwhile, the seconds had to be content with a 34 run win after they looked to be on course for a more resounding win over Crompton 2nds. However, a late rally from the hosts proved little more than a minor inconvenience as Ian Morris' 83 proved to be the main difference between the two sides. Richard Borrit was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, but once again it was an all round team effort which saw them into round two.


On SATURDAY Karl Brown, the former Atherton starlet and son of former Clifton pro Paul, proved the difference between the sides as the firsts had to settle for a single point in the encounter against Milnrow. He added to his ninety runs by taking vital wickets and only a brave innings from the skipper (66no) and a solid last wicket accumulation took the score past the 75% mark. It was a similar story for the depleted seconds where Liam Dorsey's 61 was the only highspot in a game which saw the team's 173-9 eclipsed by six wickets with lots of overs to spare.


 May 29th    The skipper's words were unrepeatable when asked about his team's performance in the season's most important game to date on Saturday. Having coaxed him out of slitting his throat he revealed that his side failed to compete in any area of the contest against league leaders Rochdale. Even after keeping Rochdale to a more than acceptable 207-8, he was unhappy that they got twenty plus runs more than they should have done and despite some disquiet about some of the decisions which went against the batsmen, he was particularly scathing about the batting display that realised just 91 runs. AND it was a very similar story of umpiring decisions, poor batting and even worse bowling for the thirds who were well beaten at Broadway despite handy knocks from youngsters Matt Rawlinson and Sam Cullen. 


SO it was left to the seconds to fly the flag again, and so they did with a comfortable 38 run win against Rochdale 2nds. The most senior man in the side, Geoff Griffiths got the ball rolling with 63 before the youngest, David Dempster, enhanced his growing reputation with five wickets.


SUNDAY came and, despite the worst weather forecast of the entire weather beaten season, a full game was possible for both sides. However it was PERISHING cold and in the sub-zero temperatures and biting wind, it was a total role-reversal as the firsts registered an important win and the seconds were humiliated at the hands of Walsden who, by all accounts, enjoyed their victory just a little too much for some. The firsts stole the show on the day though, rattling up 252-9 in the allotted 43 overs with Chinthaka making up for his wayward shot on Saturday, with a typically belligerent 75, well supported by Chris Lord with 68. Although there was a late collapse from 200-3, the wickets to fall were punctuated by boundaries and the skipper was much happier than 24 hours earlier. The bowlers then stuck to the task admirably, despite a good partnership for the second Walsden wicket, with Nick Kennedy (4-51) removing any lingering doubts about a match winning partnership developing. The only negative was the inability to get the max 5 points with the visitors finishing on 214-9. The seconds, without Griffiths, Meredith, Cordin, Dorsey and others, chased 200 plus in the Yorkshire hills and were dismissed for a miserable 60. Stand-in skipper Ian Morris offered no excuses except for the weakened bowling attack. "Bad batting" was the summary - enough said. 

FOOTNOTE - noticing Chintha limping I enquired about his health. "Not injured" he said "just so cold I could not be running !"


BANK HOLIDAY MONDAY saw the thirds achieve their customary first round cup exit, despite hammering the same opposition just over a week ago. Despite the heroics of Oliver Dunn (48no) in a last wicket stand of seventy which almost doubled the score, the final total of 148 didn't look competitive. So it proved as the last wicket partnership was negated by one of similar proportions for the first Prestwich wicket and, despite a couple of scares, the visitors sailed home by five wickets. 


 May 22nd   The weather had the last word again as the firsts and last year's champions, Heywood battled each other and the weather in a vain attempt to get a result on Saturday.

After starting the match late, each side would supposedly get 45 overs each, but with the clouds gathering again it was obvious to all present that there would be further interruptions. Chris Lord and Hiranthe Wijesinghe took the score to 60 before the big one came and over two hours were lost. It then became a case of finding the right time to declare, providing that the batsmen could set a total, which they managed with aplomb; finally declaring on 219-4 off just 28 overs. The 31 that Chris Lord scored after the rain came off just 15 balls, Hiranthe made his maiden Clifton half century at a run a ball, then Gary Garner (46no off 27 balls) and Chinthaka Jayasinghe (47 off 25 balls) scored 122 off 14 overs to give the game a chance to achieve a result despite the odds. Heywood lost two quick wickets to give the lads hope, but then Bobby Cross and Sherwin Campbell put on their own master class with a nine-an-over burst which had them favourites for a while. Chris Lord's catch to dismiss Sherwin Campbell at long on effectively ended that chase and then when Dave Wild smartly stumped Bobby Cross off what looked, for all the world, like a Qaiser Malik wide, the balance tipped in the home side's favour, but bad light meant an early end to proceedings at 152-5. A great game to watch, but a fifth rained off game out of seven to further frustrate players and spectators alike. The seconds didn't even bowl a ball at Heywood which was under water after a late downpour.


SUNDAY..... and at last a day free of rain !

 OUT....batted, bowled and fielded was the description of the conclusion of the saga of the National Knockout against Hyde for the firsts. A score of 152-7 in which in-form skipper Gary Garner scored 54, was never going to be enough and so it  proved as the hosts ran out five wicket winners. You never like to lose a game, but it somehow felt OK to get this one out of the way. SO it's on to the big test at table-toppers Rochdale next Saturday and a home game against Werneth on Sunday.

MEANWHILE Phil Royle plundered yet another century against his favourite team, Prestwich as the thirds picked up a four point win with another old stager, Dave Rogers picking up four wickets. A century opening partnership with Sam Cullen (47) paved the way for a score of 247-7 and Prestwich, though gamely going for the runs early doors, eventually settled for 140-9 to deprive the 3rds of the maximum five points. 


May 15th It was another dour damp weekend as a hundred and ten players and ten umpires attempted in vain to get a result in the five matches against Littleborough, Middleton and Greenmount. The firsts had another good day with the bat on Saturday, rattling up 246-6 between the showers (Chintha and Gary Garner both 75), before a halt was called with the visitors on 43-1. The freescoring seconds however found themselves hanging on at 59-8 after bowling out the hosts for 109. Lack of the art of graft perhaps ?!!  Sunday was a complete washout (unless you count the thirds getting to 11-0) making the whole weekend a damp squib.

Roll on next weekend.


May 8th

There was an unsatisfactory end to the day's events in leafy Cheshire in the second round of the National Knockout competition when the rain intervened for a final time at 7-20. Despite losing both Steve Davies and Rakeb Mahmood to illness and being unable to play either the professional or overseas amateur, the side did exceptionally well to recover from 18-3 to post a testing 191-7 before the rains came. Chris Lord (61) held the innings together with Nick Kennedy (35) allowing Qaiser Malik (35) and notably last minute stand in Grant Cordin (40 not out) to take the score along to within sight of the double century. GC was especially brutal, smashing 40 off 20 balls, despite missing four in succession in the penultimate over. Then the weather intervened and Hyde were set 85 to win off twenty overs, but the gathering clouds put paid to that scenario. Then the confusion really set in as the hosts appeared unwilling to replay on May 20th (a free date for both clubs), or take option two, to bowl at stumps (despite being the proud owners of an indoor centre) or even to toss a coin. Watch this space for the outcome of that one !

Sunday provided  a similar, though less bizarre script as Radcliffe posted a similar total, only for the match to be thwarted by the weather and it was almost exactly the same with the seconds and thirds, although the seconds did declare early to try to force a result but it was not to be. Grant Cordin had once again made the declaration possible as his rich run of form continued with a brisk 75.

On Saturday The firsts did well to recover from an onslaught by Monton Weaste's Jason Maddox, a first baller for Chintha and a bout of illness which swept the dressing room and prevented Steve Davies from playing, to hang on for a draw at Monton. With a number of players under the weather, Qaiser Malik rescued the side from 77-5 chasing an imposing total in excess of 230. Meanwhile, the seconds march on despite Ian Morris unluckily adjudged LBW on 99, to notch another resounding win. The thirds had to settle for a draw as well after an extraordinary middle order collapse which resulted in finding my good self umpiring at square leg at 7.15 and batting at 7.22 ! 


May 1st  Good as it gets !  said the skipper to his troops as the players prepared for a well deserved tea interval after demolishing Norden for just sixty six runs. Pick of the bowlers was Eddie Shah with four for nineteen, but it was Chris Tye who got the all important wicket of Asif Mujtaba, bowling the former Pakistan vice captain round his legs. Last season's leading professional run scorer and wicket taker returned home empty handed from what could be his last visit to Manchester Road as he emigrates to the USA next year after eleven fantastic seasons with Norden.


The rest of the bowlers backed up well and the fielding was also immaculate, summed up beautifully by Hiranthe Wijesinghe's spectacular catch at long off. From then on, despite a couple of hiccups, it was the Chintha show as the pro, who warmed up nicely with 73 deputising for Bradshaw on Saturday, slaughtered the Norden bowling in scoring 51 not out as the 67 needed for victory was achieved by eight wickets at around 4.30pm.


The seconds had an equally impressive victory over at Norden where another big score was the fillip for a great game of cricket which yielded the right result. Geoff Griifiths patiently constructed fifty allowed Grant Cordin to enter the fray late and smash a superb 62 not out which included a twenty seven ball half century in the final total of  245-7. Raki Mahmood further proved his all rounder status by bludgeoning 45 and then taking three Norden wickets as they were dismissed for 202. Steve Thorpe's second spell proved decisive as Norden threatened briefly to win the game after recovering from 6-2 and he finished with five for sixty nine. The icing on the cake was Rob Meredith emulating Hiranthe Wijesinghe's effort for the firsts with a spectacular one handed catch in the deep.


On Saturday, Tony Potter spoiled what looked like being a good game as the thirds ran out easy winners against Greenmount. Chasing 166 of which evergreen Phil Royle contributed 93 not out, Mr Potter was introduced at 83-2. He proceeded to induce more than palpable impressions of startled rabbits from the remaining Greenmount batsmen as he single handedly routed them with eight for fourteen, including six clean bowled.


April 24th Despite the pre-season promise, the first league game of the season at Oldham offered no clues whatsoever as to how the new look side will fare in the forthcoming season. 

On paper, it looks as though the side were fortunate to escape with two points after being rained off defending 137 with the hosts on 52-0, but this tells nothing about the match as a whole which was interrupted seven times and played for long periods in drizzle and rain. Batting first after losing the toss, the wicket behaved like a petulant teenager for the first fifteen overs with balls flying off at all angles before the strip started to quieten down a bit. Gary Garner held the innings together with a patient knock of 47, but he had the endure watching his partners fall in all sorts of ways, including comical run outs, before finally falling himself near the close of the innings. The deviations conjured up by the bowlers also defeated the wicketkeeper to some extent, with forty runs coming in extras. When the players took to the field to defend the score, the first couple of overs showed some promise before the rains descended and the ball began to resemble a bar of Palmolive. Meanwhile the seconds had rattled up an impressive 282-7 at Manchester Road with Chris Lord scoring a chanceless 144 before falling to a big hit in the last over. However the time spent drying and recovering the ball from all parts eventually conspired as the gloom descended and the players were brought off for bad light to share the four points on offer.


On Saturday the firsts made it three out of three in their build up to the first league game of the season, with another convincing win and another devastating batting performance.

And it was the newly landed professional Chinthaka Jayasinghe who stole the show with an unbeaten century and three wickets to boot. David Garner weighed in with 59 in a total of 255-5. All the bowlers then chipped in, including new overseas player Hiranthe Wijesinghe, as Egerton, who’s professional doesn’t arrive until later in the week, were dismissed for 130.


April 20th The selectors had an unenviable job this week as the three warm up matches played at the weekend all ended in convincing wins for the firsts and seconds. With the pro and overseas amateur still in Sri Lanka, the whole team performed well creating the sort of headache for the selectors that everyone likes. The new boys shone for the firsts, although old boys Ian Morris and David Dempster made telling contributions as well. On Saturday the first and second teams both beat Elton in pre-season friendlies with Chris Lord aiding the firsts cause with a well made 50 not out. Fellow ex Eagley player Qaiser Malik (pic) went one better on Sunday though, with a thrilling century in the National Knockout against the Liverpool Competition side Newton-Le-Willows. The seconds owed their success to an all round effort which saw several batsmen getting in useful knocks in their 199 total. 


March 1st Chintha’s Bloomfield side, failed to make the
semi-final of the Sri Lankan 20-20 competition after tieing their last game and
going out on run rate despite being unbeaten. In the three games Chintha scored
131 runs in 78 balls including sixteen fours and four sixes. He also weighed in
with three wickets at a respectable 6.8 per over. This ended the domestic
season for the professional who returned to Clifton for a third season.


February 27th Courses for Umpires and for Scorers will take place at Roe Green Cricket
Club in April. The scorers course is on Sunday April 15th  from 10am
until 1pm, cost £3.00 payable on the day. Refreshments available. The umpires
meet a week later on the 22nd – same time , same place, same price.
Anyone wishing to attend either event, e-mail DAVID HEAP at david@heap2588.freeserve.co.uk


class season ended in two heavy defeats by 10 wickets and 174 runs, but it’s
been a satisfactory winter for him on a personal note. 


February 13th The move to the Central Lancashire League at the start of 2006 is still showing dividends for the club as new blood is being attracted to swell the playing ranks. There have been several changes to the playing staff already
with others possibly in the offing as well. Meanwhile, off on his merry way goes home grown Andy Griffiths; off to try his luck down the road at Darcy Lever. Hope he’s able to pull a deaf ‘un as the comments start to fly when he makes his way to the crease against some old adversaries !

Chris Lord (Eagley CC)
Hiranthe Wijesinghe (Ashton CC)
Raki Mahmood (Astley Bridge)
Eddie Shah (Swinton Moorside CC)
Steve Davies (Prestwich CC)

Andrew Griffiths (Darcy Lever CC)
Aaron Vincec (Australia)

Paul Smith (Irby CC)
Stephen Birch (retired)




January 20th Mayhem spoiled the start of the indoor season as arrangements for indoor practice went awry.