December 27th - The post Christmas Golf Day was well attended, with twenty five participants in all. It was a successful one for the cricketing fraternity for a change with Jimmy Ainscough and Bill Dorsey joint second (as a pair) and Paul Edwards part of the winning pair, Chris Lord, Chris Higgs and Dean Morris were part of winning Yellow Ball group and Chris Lord also won the morning nine hole competition and longest drive. Most pleasing of all though.... Rob Meredith didn't come last!
December 11th - Gareth Cross smashed 111 in 118 balls for St Kilda in the Victorian Premier League over in Oz. His eighteen fours and a six were to no avail as the match was eventually abandoned.
Seniors 9pm till 10pm on Tuesdays starting from 20th Jan at Bolton Indian Sports Centre
Juniors 7pm till 8pm on Sundays starting from 25th Jan at Bolton Indian Sports Centre
U9's will be on Wednesdays date and time to be confirmed at George Tomlinson High School, Kearsley.
December 8th - The Christmas season is now truly upon us as the Clifton dinner and presentation has taken place. There was a goodly turn out for the feast and despite MC and Chairman Ian Morris suffering from a nasty cold, a good time was had by all. It was good to see some new faces at the dinner, though sadly Tom Boardman had been whisked off to the theatre by his nearest and dearest. Good too to see Michelle Wray and Im sure that we all wish her every success with her treatment programme. Tom Morris proved his credentials as a selector, winning the competition for the best world 20-20 team and Maureen Hough showed her son that he was not the only one who was up for an award on the night, as she won the raffle. Liam Dorsey deservedly won both the Wilkinson Memorial Trophy for the most outstanding contribution to the club during 2008 and the Ken Upton Trophy for the best individual performance on the field of play for his 98 and 101 in successive days. Sam Cullen won the Jack Johnson Trophy for the prestigious title of most improved player under 18. The individual prizewinners were as follows:
1st XI Batting Prize Aqeel Mukhtar / Bowling Prize Andy Hough / Catching Prize Chris Lord
2nd XI Batting Prize Ian Morris / Bowling Prize Rob Meredith / Catching Prize Ian Morris
3rd XI Batting Prize Philip Royle (for the seventh successive year) / Bowling Prize Dave Rogers
December 5th - There have been some of the biggest changes in management personnel for many years following the clubs AGM, as the club fights against cheap supermarket alcohol and the general tightening of belts. Bill Dorsey takes on the new role as Commercial Secretary and first team skipper Chris Lord joins the Finance Committee as Assistant Secretary. Ian Eccleshare joins the clubs management committee and becomes 1st XI vice captain in his second season at the club and Tony Potter announces his retirement from cricket a year earlier than planned and becomes a non-playing member of the management committee, as does former Astley Bridge committee representative, Martyn Hough. For full details of the 2009 management structure, see the officials page.
November 28th - It was the end of an era at the monthly meeting of the clubs management committee, as Tom Boardman called it a day after fifty years service. He often recalls the days when the clubhouse door was propped shut with a fifty six pound weight and when players had to lug their gear on the bus to Edgworth. He has presided, as a committee member, Chairman and President, over some remarkable changes at the club, following in the footsteps of his father, also Thomas, who was born in the year that the club was founded. He captained both first and second teams to numerous successes during his illustrious playing career and his cover drive was a thing of beauty! His forthright, common sense views and guiding hand for upcoming committee personnel will be sorely missed...... not that he intends to be a stranger and not that he will hold back from giving his point of view when the occasion demands !
October 20th - The handicappers blew it again on 2008 CCC golf day, as the ringers ran off with the spoils ??!! Results table, click here
September 30th - Lancashires over 50s ECB County Championship final at Lords went to the last ball but ended in defeat for Tony Potters side. Needing 29 with the last pair at the wicket, one of whom was Mr Potter, they managed 25 before the last ball boundary needed for victory eluded them. Full match report here.
September 28th - There will be two new names on the North Manchester Leagues division two batting and bowling trophies this season. Phil Royle had to make do with third overall, but was the highest run scorer in the division. Dave Rogers went one better and came second but was quite a way distant of the eventual winner. Tallat Chaudhry came fourth in the bowling, but there were no other Cliftonians in the batting list.
Elsewhere, a certain Steve Dwyer has walked off with the division three bowling award and Nigel Warne topped the wicketkeeping list..
September 20th - The thirds, assuming that Littleborough will not be able to stage the seasons missing match, lost their last game of the season against a strong looking Farnworth Social Circle. In a game in which Oliver Dunn became the thirty third player to represent the third team, Tony Potter and Tallat Chaudhry gave the visitors hope with a great spell of tandem bowling which ensured that none of the last eight batsmen reached double figures after a good start from the first three. Potts finished with 4-48 and the good doctor with 4-35. The batting never matched the bowling and fielding however, with some questionable shot selection on an easy paced wicket. The exception was tummy bugged Dave Rogers who has sneaked into second place in the final batting averages with a knock of 33 which included six boundaries. His brave innings merely brought about a bit of respectability to the score after arriving at the crease at 37-6.
September 19th - THE DRINKS ARE ON IAN as Ian Holt successfully escaped with the dosh in Friday nights weakest link out-performing his rivals AND Gary Tong who was runner-up some years ago.
He went through several rounds with a 100% record before nearly blowing it in the final knockout round. Sad to relate, but hes probably won more already than his beloved Everton will win all season.
September 13th - This hotch-potch of pictures tell their own story as Werneth picked up their first ever win against CCC with a six wicket victory on the season’s last day. A disappointing 112 all out could have just been enough on a sporting wicket, but the bowling lacked incision and consistency, so Tallat Chaudhrys meteoric rise from thirds to firsts via one second XI game ended in defeat.
The seconds and thirds had better luck however, with a ten point maximum to report. Werneth seconds were reduced to 65 all out, despite an opening spell in which Steve Thorpe conceded over thirty runs in three overs. Ollie I’ve got a bad cold Dunn made amends by taking four wickets for five runs in seven overs, with Rob Meredith and Sam Cullen grabbing three apiece. It took nine Clifton batsmen to knock off the runs, but the three wicket victory was well deserved. That left the thirds to take the batting plaudits, despite run machine Phil Royle going early to a wonder catch at gully. Step in number one son Jamie (62) ably assisted by a maiden first senior half century from Adam Holt (52) to help push the score to 169-7. Prestwich then stuttered to 48 with the last legs together, before a last wicket partnership of 54 in the pleasant evening sunshine (yes, you read it right....sunshine!!) almost deprived the team of max points. However, a rash shot in the very last over, this after twenty odd overs of patient defence, saw Prestwich finally dismissed for 102.
September 6th - With The Clifton outfield more sodden than at any time since the new drains were laid in 2001 and cricketers everywhere more worried about trench foot than athletes, foot the prospect of any cricket anywhere this weekend looked as likely as Simon Fleming getting another century.
August 31ST - Despite the best efforts of all concerned, the worst August since 1912 went out on a winning note for the weather as both first and second team games were abandoned as draws.
The firsts did their best to beat the jinxed conditions of the worst August since the Titanic sunk, as they recovered from a middle order collapse to post 154 against Walsden, with Aqeel Mukhtar contributing 50, but rain intervened after tea at 100-2 and then again, terminally, at 140-6 to deprive either side of a grandstand finish.
The seconds had their arch rivals at 27-2 when the umpires decided that it was just too farcical to continue without fear of injury so the most miserable cricketing August in living memory came to a close.
On Saturday, the thirds actually saw a glimpse of the sun at one stage as a very young side which lacked any depth in bowling, could only post 69 against Rochdale, but then turned the game into a contest which was only lost thanks to a couple of dropped catches and a couple more disappointing rejections of appeals to the umpire. Dean Morris had a decent day with top score and a couple of wickets, but our third placed side had to be content with what might have been after some poor batting.
August 24th - Radcliffe pro Usman Tariq gained ample revenge for earlier defeats in the league and 20-20 competition when he almost single handedly led his side to a nine wicket win on Sunday. Having said that, he was dropped four times on a day to forget for the inconsistent firsts who could only muster 137 and then went down without a whimper.
On Saturday the firsts grabbed a draw from the jaws of victory in classic style on Saturday as local rivals Monton & Weaste escaped with two points when time ran out in the gloom with one wicket and two overs to go.
Adil Nisar plundered another fifty but the rest of the early order fell away slightly against some tight bowling. This gave some lads down the order a chance to shine and Ichara Yathahogoda (36), Liam Dorsey (34), Sam Cullen (17) and Richard Borritt (13no) did just that as they took the score to 198-9. Then lady luck took over as the visitors crumbled to 60-7 when the rain came. When the umpires called the resumption, the 7th wicket pair gritted it out as the gloom descended and despite two late wickets, the clock ticked inexorably to 8-15 and the stumps were drawn.
Spectators and players alike were left with seriously bitten nails after a weekend of nothing much more than grit and determination gave the seconds a fantastic ten point haul. The seconds did their cause no harm by bowling out Monton & Weaste for 103 and despite some alarms, the five points were captured with two wickets to spare in a game which swung this way and that for the entire match. However, compared to Sunday, that was a stroll in the park as Bobby Dazzler, skipper Rob Meredith prepared to jet off on his hols by taking ten wickets in the weekend for the first time ever. His six wickets on Sunday, added to two from Steve Thorpe and two more on debut for Tallat Chaudhry, saw Radcliffe dismissed, long before tea was ready, for just 48. Cue a procession of badly chosen shots and complacency which left the hosts on 36-9 leaving debutants Tallat and thirteen year old Tom Hubber to nudge and nurdle their way, abetted by a few handily gifted extras, to the magic 49-9.
The thirds went twenty-one better on Sunday after 2nd XI debutant Tallat returned to his beloved third XI to skittle Littleborough for just 27 ! !
His 7-16 meant that there could surely be no repeat of Saturdays nail wrencher. Don’t you believe it. By 4 o’clock he had his pads on again, but this time old heads Tony Potter and Dave Rogers prevented him going to the crease after recovering from 16-6 to clinch a less than emphatic three wicket victory.
PICTURES FROM SATURDAY 1.Sam Cullen chips a single and 2.every picture tells a story as the rain descends.3.Naz cracks a huge six on his way to 55.
August 18th - ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST
Its been a frustrating season in many ways, especially for the firsts whos team planning has been thrown into confusion on many occasions, but one thing they don’t seem to have lost is their penchant for breaking records. This time it was the 209 opening partnership record set by Andrew Griffiths and Mark Gardener on the opening day of the 2005 season against Astley & Tyldesley which was sent spiralling into history as Chris Lord (123) and Adil Nisar (136 not out) rattled up 245 against Ashton. The final total of 270-2 was all the more remarkable as rain had reduced the game to a 40 over affair and, in typical cricket fashion, the unfortunate Sunnyboy, who had his pads on and off several times awaiting his moment, was then run out without scoring. Surprisingly Ashton, who looked set to at least go down fighting, then seemed to give up on the single point they would have achieved for 209, finishing on 197-6. Andy Hough weighed in with another four wicket haul and it was also good to see local youngsters Richard Borritt and Sam Cullen involved in the action.
As far as point scoring, that was it for the weekend as both firsts and seconds had to settle for two apiece in the other three drawn games.
On Saturday, both sides got well into their strides before the forecast rain arrived. At Middleton the firsts restricted the hosts to 149-8 before stuttering to 123-7 providing a nicely balanced finish as Adil Nisar was still there on 55 not out. The rain however, put paid to any hopes of an exciting finish. Biggest sympathetic hug should go the seconds however. Their ding dong battle with Middleton at the top of the table was due to be resolved over the next few weeks as the teams meet twice, but with the side in a dominant position, the rains left Middleton in pole position. Having scored 212 with Anthony Walsh scoring another half century, Middleton were stuttering at 56-5 before the covers were applied for a final time. To make matters worse, Sunday’s game at Ashton was abandoned without a ball being bowled.
August 17th - MAGIC FIGURE FOR WIZARD NAZ
Adil Nisar’s unbeaten 191 runs for the weekend has taken him past the 1000 run mark for the season. He now has 1124 at an average of over seventy and weather permitting, could be challenging the 1500 milestone before the seasons end.
August 10th - With no play possible on Saturday in the CLL due to the poor August weather, it was left to the 3rd team to mop up the rain from the covers and sheets on the ground. Due to the hard work of the team, it was possible to hold a twenty over match against Swinton Moorside. The end result didn't go the home sides way but at least a bit of cricket was played over the weekend to keep the crowds entertained. Batting first, Clifton lost Phil Royle early on to an LBW decision but Ian Davidson continued his recent good form and kept the score ticking away nicely before eventually falling for 31. Clifton's middle order came and went but the tail saw Clifton through to 100-9 after their allotted 20 overs, 20 runs short of the skippers required target. Clifton's openers started well with both Ian Pearson an Tallat Chaudhry causing the batsmen to play and miss but some hefty blows from Swinton Moorside's middle order saw the visitors home with a couple of overs to spare. Tallat Chaudhry taking 3-44
August 3rd - Clifton's first team travelled to high flying Heywood on Saturday and dropped 40 runs short in their chase for Heywoods 227 for 8. Andy Hough was amongst the wickets again picking up 3 for 66 and Chris Tye also picking up 3 wickets. Several Clifton batsmen got into their stride but failed to take the score further on. Chris Lord started well with 34, Aqeel Muhktar scored 34 and Ichira Yahathugoda also hitting 34.
The 2nd Team made easy work out of their home fixture against Heywood who batted first and only managed to score 168-7 in their allocated overs. Pick of Clifton's bowlers were Rob Meredith with 2 for 25 and Steve Thorpe with 2 for 28. This total was never going to be enough for the home side and Geoff Griffiths opened up with 45 before Ian Morris pulverised the Heywood bowling to hit a swashbuckling 95 not out and just missing out on his century after hitting the winning runs to register a 8 wicket victory.
The 3rd team continued their run of good form with an easy victory against Greenmount. Batting first, Clifton posting 202-7 with Ian Davidson top scoring with 73 and useful contributions coming from Simon Fleming (32) and Adam Holt (24). Ian Davidson then turned in an excellent bowling performance taking 6 wickets for only 21 runs off 11 overs. Tallat Chaudhry also taking 2-22
July 27th -
The first team continued their mixed form over the weekend with 1 win and 1 loss. Saturday saw a defeat to Milnrow where the home team on posted 149 all out with Naz contributing the bulk of the runs with 81. This total was never going to be enough and Milnrow ended up victors by 6 wickets. Andy Hough taking all 4 wickets. The seconds had a relatively easy victory against Milnrow 2nds scoring 260. Ian Morris and Anthony Walsh putting on 120 for the first wicket and Richard Borritt hitting 73. The Clifton bowlers then ripped through the Milnrow innings with Steve Thorpe taking 6 wickets and Chris Higgs taking the other 4.
Sunday saw the first team return to winning form chasing 250 against Unsworth and getting the winning runs in the last over. Unsworth batted first and hit a useful 251-5 with Andy Hough again taking 4 wickets. Clifton took to the task gainfully with Adil Nisar taking the plaudits again with the bat hitting an undefeated 116. Sunny Letshela contributed well with 66 and the winning runs were hit in the last over of the game. The seconds unfortunately came unstuck against Unsworth seconds. Batting first, they amassed 197 all out with Sam Cullen hitting a 50 and Steve Thorpe contributing with a good 40. Unsworth batsmen saw off this total relatively easy ending up the victors by 7 wickets
The 3rd team ended up with a share of the points in a game against Swinton Moorside which saw the Clifton side batting first and posting a daunting 267-9 with Chris Thorpe hitting an excellent 112 and Ian Davidson hitting 56. The home side toiled in the hot conditions and took longer than normal to complete their overs which gave Clifton a relatively short period of time to get their overs in. Despite taking wickets regularly, Swinton held on for 124-8 before the overs ran out and the points were shared. Tallat Chaudhry taking 2-40 off 13 overs and Dave Rogers taking 4-24.
July 20th - With all their nearest rivals consigned to counting puddles, the seconds made some amends for recent slip-ups by gaining some ground at the top with a win over Royton. In a rain reduced game, the famous Clifton drains came to the rescue and the team took full advantage by rattling up 203-8 with Dave Wild scoring an important speedy 71 not out and other batsmen chipping in with decent knocks as well. The, when the rain returned, the mop-up experts got the game under way and were oh-so unlucky not to grab the full five points as Royton finished on 154-9.
July 13th - Sunnyboy Letshele justified his number three spot with a match winning unbeaten century in a curtailed game against Royton and then grabbed a couple of catches to complete his day. On a day when the weather was far from sunny, the 33 over game saw Chris Lord lose the toss and be put in to bat. The score rattled along nicely despite the loss of Naz and the final total of 186-4 was challenging enough, but an early order collapse put the game beyond the visitors who held on at 115-8 to deny the firsts full points. All four bowlers took two apiece in a good all round team performance.
The seconds suffered another defeat after a batting collapse at Royton. They were well placed at 136-4 with 20 overs remaining in pursuit of the home sides score just over the two hundred mark, but lost the last six in quick time to come home pointless. The 2nd XI Burton Cup tie at Middleton is over at last; as are their Burton Cup hopes as they went down by five wickets on Monday evening just eight days after the tie started.
DAVE SHOOTS DOWN ALIANS
League leaders Rochdalians had one of those days that, when we have them, as we all do, we hope that there’s another game next day to get it out of the system. Sadly for them, they didnt as Dave Rogers almost single handedly turned our third teams miserable 55-8 at one stage, into a 105 run victory. His first act was to preside over ninth and tenth wicket partnerships of 41 and 36 to finish with 24 not out and help post a score of 132. However, it was act two that really caught the eye as he ripped out the middle order to reduce the aliens from 13-0 to 15-7 !! The visitors, who have a twenty point lead at the top of the table, capitulated to 27 all out and Roggers finished with seven wickets for six runs in eight overs ! I’m sure if you ask him nicely, he’ll tell you the name of the hotel where he spent the last two weeks. The club has already arranged a 2009 pre-season tour there.
July 6th - All three teams beat the worst weather forecast of the season to come away with a result on Saturday, but the firsts once again had to be content with a single point after running out of steam at Littleborough. At 89-2 off 21 overs chasing the home sides 160-8 in a 35 over game, things looked reasonably rosy, but the middle order huffed and puffed in the run chase and fell 16 runs short in the end. The seconds closed the gap at the top with another exciting last over win after chasing down Littleboroughs 157 in a 37 over contest. Rob Meredith took 4-55 before a number of batsmen got starts before getting out, but eventually Ollie Dunn and Richard Borritt stuck around long enough to secure a two wicket win. The thirds got back to winning ways with a second win of the season over Failsworth, despite collapsing from 110-0 to 149 all out. Phil Royle and Matty Rawlinson each collected deserved half centuries before the hosts were skittled for 96 with Tallat Chaudhry, Steve Eccles and debutant Ian Pearson sharing the wickets.
The Sunday Cup ties did not go ahead as on this occasion the weather did have the last word. The seconds will probably not even travel to Middleton on Monday for their unstarted Burton Cup tie as Sunday saw it fully under water so Lake Middleton will only have been added to by Mondays even greater deluge.
The thirds do not have to return to Greenmount to tread any more water as their game was decided on a bowl-out. They even suffered the rare sight of rain stopped bowl-out as the farce was abandoned for twenty minutes with the score at 1-1. The final score as bowlers slipped and slid to the wickets was 3-2 to Greenmount after the thirds led twice. The other remarkable fact is that it took 84 balls (the equivalent of 14 overs) for the stumps to be hit five times. Greenmount now progress to the final by virtue of a win over Failsworth and two bowl outs, whereas, should we have won, it would have been a win, a disqualification and a bowl out!
June 29th - The firsts continued their Jekyll and Hyde season last weekend, with a horror show at Crompton followed up by a comprehensive victory over league leaders Radcliffe.
Only two players managed double figures on Saturday as once again the side managed to avoid getting into three figures. Strangely, there were also no ducks in the score of 98 all out. Crompton had little difficulty in reaching the target, especially when they had reached 46-0 off the first seven overs. Ian Ecc bowled well enough to come away with 2-24, but the target was passed in the 22nd over.
The team effort at mopping up the ground after the Sunday lunchtime deluge even brought a smile to Phil Royle’s face. It always rains when I’m match manager he complained, but almost immediately the clouds lifted and a thirty eight over game was under way. With the B&DCA strangely calling the Cross Cup games off and there being no BCL games, there was a decent crowd in evidence to see a good performance to dispel the gloom from the previous day.
To be fair, professional Adil Nisar turned on the class with a terrific all-round performance, but there were also positives elsewhere, particularly in the field where Radcliffe were very much outshone. It took seven wickets from the pro and some sustained pressure from the other end and in the field, to restrict the league leaders to 173 all out when they had been 134-2 with a full fourteen overs remaining. The new opening pair of Sunny and Liam Dorsey then made a decent start of thirty five before both went in quick succession. Aqeel then played an uncharacteristic loose shot and David Garner was unluckily run out before Qaiser Malik (23no) and the pro (81no) saw off the runs with an over to spare.
The Seconds had a disappointing day on Sunday, having to hang on for a point having been in the driving seat for most of the thirty over game at Radcliffe. Having restricted the opposition to 118 and then got off to a good start, the middle order fell away and the innings finished on 102-7. It was a different tale on Saturday though as the pursuit of Crompton’s total resulted in another five points. Sam Cullen’s return after injury proved effective as he off-spun his way to an impressive 6-50 as Crompton set a fair total of 180. Once Ian Morris (72) fell, wickets dropped at regular intervals, but they finally edged over the line with two wickets to spare.
The thirds had a dismal day in the hills against Fothergill and Harvey. Phil Royle’s 72 was the only high spot as five batsmen contrived ducks in a total of 124. A combination of lusty blows and bad luck then allowed the hosts to escape from 50-5 to reach their total with four wickets in hand.
June 22nd - There was a disappointing finale to the weekend which was a triumph for the club in some ways despite crashing out of the Wood Cup and the Cockspur Cup on Sunday.
Saturdays games were only half games in reality; and the players and match officials did well to get that far if truth be told, but the end result was two points apiece for both teams.
Sunday was D day in terms of all hands to th’pump and most players responded with two or three playing with minor injuries so that in the final analysis, we did it! Yes, we managed to amass exactly forty four players on the day, not to mention four scorers. Most disappointing was the demise of a full strength 1st XI who had already won handsomely at Ashton earlier in the season. They crashed to 104 all out and went down by eight wickets. Only two players reached double figures along with Mr Extras who contributed 20. The bowling was tight as Ashton needed over thirty overs to reach the total, but the result was hardly ever in doubt as the new skipper admitted to being out bowled, batted and fielded.
Step up the seconds also at full strength and displaying another great all-round effort to beat Ashton. The visitors batted first and although the opening bowlers did not make the break through, they restricted Ashton to less than three an over which left the way open for the later bowlers to pick off the batsmen at regular intervals. Rob Meredith in an unfamiliar second change role, picked up 3-19 and Jehan Yathahugoda 3-32. The 142 total shouldn’t have been any problem at all, but several batsmen got starts and then got out leaving the total a precarious 93-5 before Ian Morris and Ollie Dunn saw it through to a five wicket win.
The thirds competed admirably against the pro-less Farnworth 1sts in the Cockspur Cup in what the umpires decreed had to be a thirty over game. In truth, that was probably to our advantage and there were times in the game when a surprise looked feasible. The turning points were a high scoring last few overs to the Farnworth innings which saw them reach 160-3 and then the demise of old heads Ian Davidson and Phil Royle, both caught well in the deep. The score owed much to fifteen year old Liam Holt who scored over thirty of the final 124-7 total.
The other third team went to Greenmount for a NMCL league game and, true to their word, Greenmount played a lot of youngsters in the game but it was all a bit too much for the Clifton babes who were let down by shoddy batting and bowling from the skipper who shall remain nameless. It was the youngest of the young who stole the show with thirteen year olds Dean Morris; now becoming an old head in the side, and debutant Thomas Hubber stealing the plaudits of opposition, spectators and umpire. Young Hubber, resplendent in bright yellow helmet, pulled fours and a smashing six in his 32 not out and Dean had runs and wickets to his credit. There were also debut wickets for thirteen year old Luke Mobey and wickets and runs for fourteen year olds Umar Ibrar and Jake Holgate who also took a stunning steepling catch in a near gale. Young Michael Ferry also took a running catch in the deep and scored runs in the 125 total and thirteen year old Jack Unwin had runs and two wicketkeeping victims to his credit. The final defeat by five wickets was largely irrelevant at the end of the day.
The firsts retained interest in the 20-20 competition despite defeat in an exciting match on Friday. The result could always have gone either way until a late innings hat trick knocked the stuffing out of the reply. Sunny Letshela relished his new role as opener by battering 59, but it wasnt as good as the barbeque. Next Fridays game at Unsworth is now all or nothing to reach the knockout stages.
It was ALL HANDS TO THPUMP as the selection committee created club history on Tuesday June 17th by selecting four senior sides for the first time in the clubs 135 year history...... BUT it was close to the wire and all players were being asked to commit themselves fully to the history making process by turning out on Sunday if selected.
The reason was the clubs commitment to playing the semi-final game in the Cockspur Cup at Farnworth on Sunday, despite having other commitments in the Central Lancashire League and the North Manchester League. Where other leagues have left early season dates free, the CLL, with sixteen clubs, hasn’t been able to make the same commitment to the National and Lancashire Knockout dates; hence the situation which has arisen.
The resulting team selection showed the amazing depth which the club currently has, allied to a little bit of luck in that only three players are unavailable on the day.
All of which means that Chris Lord is able to pick a full strength side to face Ashton in the Wood Cup, Rob Meredith can pick a very good side to add cup success to their league position, Steve Eccles can take along a squad of promising youngsters to Greenmount (who have promised to include their own fledglings in the division two game) and Phil Royle is able to take a decent team to renew some old acquaintances with Farnworth.
June 15th - Its only a few short years since the Clifton CC record score stood at 295, a stat which had stood for over a century. Now that sort of score is looking feasible every week and last weekend alone, 1070 runs were gleaned from the Clifton turf.
The firsts had a double max weekend with wins against Littleborough and Oldham. Both were up and down affairs, but it was the Littleborough game that caught the imagination with the balance swinging this way and that at every turn. We saw last week that 250 was gettable, so the 264 clocked up largely thanks to another ton from the pro and a half century for Aqeel, was no more than a par score. It looked less than par as the Littleborough openers roared into the attack at ten an over; a feat which they continued almost to the hundred mark. A couple of wickets slowed things down as the bowlers slowly got into the game and by the halfway stage Littleborough had to be content with 150-4. More wickets fell, but a 6th wicket stand of 57 once again swung the game in the visitors favour. However Naz re-appeared and bowled with more fire than we’ve seen previously, he took out the last three batsmen and provided an eighteen run win.
On Sunday, the second priority after the five points, was to lay the ghost of popular ex-pro Chinthaka Jayasinghe. This was achieved by his good friend Qaiser for 22 in an excellent spell of 3-23. It looked awkward earlier on as the firsts took first knock and found themselves 107-8, but for once the tail wagged with a vengeance and Dave Wild clattered 34 before in stepped those well known Clifton all-rounders Eccleshare and Hough to put on an unbroken stand of exactly fifty for the last wicket. Oldham never looked in it after the pro went and there were wickets for all seven bowlers in a 34 run win.
Oldham seconds suffered the violent backlash of the second XIs second defeat of the season on Saturday when they conceded a record 363 to a rampant Clifton batting line-up. Records have not been kept for second XI games until recent years, but I think its a more than safe bet that the record tag is a safe one as, remarkably, not only did they produce two centurions on the day, but the two batsman in question were never at the crease together ! Liam Dorsey celebrated his promotion to the firsts next week (see below) with 98 on Saturday and 101 against Oldham in quick time with sixteen fours. When he went, enter man-in-form Ichara Yathahugoda, who went one better and plundered 110 with sixteen fours and two sixes. The total meant that the bowlers could attack from the start and this resulted in another rare stat as Oldham’s response of 195 contained only eighteen singles. On a day when a very young third XI played a friendly game and won by 90 runs, Oldham’s woe was completed by having only ten batsmen on the day.
Saturday was a less satisfying day for the seconds as their push for the championship faltered at Littleborough. Poor fielding and bowling allowed the hosts to reach a daunting 274 and although Liam Dorsey and Ian Morris (55) provided a solid platform of 162-1 in thirty overs, the normally reliable middle order fell away and only a single point was achieved in a 48 run defeat.
SKIP STEPS DOWN
First team skipper Dave Wild will relinquish the captaincy of the firsts after the weekend. He felt that he was not enjoying his cricket at present and that the form showed by Liam Dorsey both with the bat and behind the stumps in the seconds, warranted him being given a long stretch to prove his first team potential. Chris Lord has agreed to take over for the rest of the season.
All the hard work done by the firsts in reaching the regional semi-final may have been undone as Farnworth CC are unwilling to play the tie in midweek, to fit in with our CLL commitments. The ECB have therefore stated that the match must go ahead on the 22nd June next weekend, which of course, is impossible with the cup tie with Ashton in the frame for that day.
June 8th The firsts had double cup success over the weekend, but the alarming dip in league form continued with a heavy defeat at Rochdale.
The weekend started early with a Friday evening twenty/20 game at Radcliffe which resulted in victory by a dozen or so runs. The match is not recorded in the 1st XI scorebook for some reason, but they scored a respectable 144 (ish!) and restricted the hosts to a score in the 130s.
Saturday brought more furrowed brows, worried expressions and no shortage of red faces as, chasing down Rochdale’s 226, which was no more than par, they capitulated to 67 all out. Earlier, Sunny had taken 4-70 and Chris Tye continued a good run of form with 3-52.
It was a different tale on Sunday however as, in front of a large crowd at Northern League Chorley and batting first, they rattled up exactly 200 runs more than they had at Rochdale. It was an all round display as well as a number of batsmen sought to prove that Saturday was a blip. Nobody passed the 50 mark, although Aqeel actually got to it and then got out, but other players chipped in substantially and then Chris Tye, fired up by the behaviour of ex Adlington player Michael Critchley, launched a seven ball 25 to end the innings. Perhaps one member of the team should be given the role of making him angry every week, because he then followed up with four wickets as Chorley, who’s pro was ineligible, as Chintha was last season, were dismissed for 177.
The seconds continue to fly the flag with a stunning win at home to Rochdale. Batting first they rattled up an impressive 240-2 with Ian Morris contributing 86 and Itchy continuing a rich vein of form with 60 not out. Rochdale made a decent fist of chasing down the runs and managed to pass the 200 mark, but three wickets apiece from Richard Borritt and Chris Higgs helped wear them down until final removal for 209.
The thirds were well beaten on Saturday at table toppers Rochdalians who look a good bet to achieve their stated ambition to get back into division one. Batting first, the visitors posted a disappointing 148, but after a rare failure by Phil Royle, the rest of the young troops rallied well against some good bowling, with vice captain Anthony Walsh holding things together with 55. There the plus points end however, as Rochdalians knocked off the runs with only a couple of minor scares, for the loss of one wicket.
Sadly, is was the same result, though with a different story as the thirds failed to lay the cup bogey on Sunday against bogey team Rochdale. The double bogey proved too much as the history of never winning more than one cup tie conspired with the ill fortune always evident against Rochdale. A stirring bowling performance aided by some good fielding, though less than convincing catching, restricted Rochdale to a very manageable 158-9. At 110-2, things looked rosy, but the middle order fell away badly and with the last pair at the wicket, they fell just four runs short.
June 1st The days Cup games were all rained off and will be replayed on Sunday June 22nd
May 31st - The second team continued their unbeaten run which stretches back to game one of the season, but the firsts went down heavily at home to Heywood and the thirds came off second best in an exciting match against Roytonians. The firsts suffered a devastating middle order collapse which resulted in a third defeat on the trot at home to Heywood. Batting first, they got off to a great start and at the half way stage were 118-1, but after Adil Nisar fell for 71, the middle order buckled and eventually the side succumbed to 205 all out with nine balls remaining. The necessary bowling performance was not to follow and they went down heavily by eight wickets.
The seconds also had a middle order batting crisis before promoted third teamers Anthony Walsh and Andy Lord rescued the innings late on. Even so, 173 was always gettable, but Steve Thorpe (5-31) and Andy Lord again (4-19) showed the depth of resource in the side and they ran out comfortable winners with sixty runs in hand.
The thirds provided the bitten nails again, but this time came off worst as unbeaten Roytonians finally squeezed past a competitive 207-4 set by the visitors. Phil Royle started slowly, but suddenly upped a gear until he chopped one to point when on 99. A patient third wicket partnership then won it for the home side who, despite riding their luck at times and losing a late flurry of wickets, passed the CCC total with three balls to spare.
May 25th The firsts succumbed to two Bank Holiday Weekend defeats at Norden and at home to Crompton, but came back on the Monday to earn a Cockspur Quarter Final tie away at Chorley in a fortnights time. Naz bagged a couple of half centuries despite being under the weather and Aqeel Mukhtar did the same as he began to show some real class after his long lay off from cricket. It was a dismal 106 all out at Norden however, failing to back up an excellent bowling display by Chris Tye who snapped up the first six Norden wickets before running out of steam after 20 overs up the hill and getting limited support at the other end. Disappointingly, 248 proved insufficient on Sunday as Crompton grabbed a last over win. Happily the 294 rattled up on Sunday was a lot too many for Golborne who were all out for 188. The weekend belonged to the seconds and in particular to Liam Dorsey who’s 134 not out was the backbone of an impressive 316-7 against Norden. Itchy’s great form continued as he joined in with a quickfire 76 and the bowlers shared out the wickets as Norden succumbed for 172. Itchy continued his good form on Sunday with another half century along with Ian Morris as 192 was too many for Crompton who were all out for 126 after the bowlers once again shared out the victims. The success of the team has undoubtedly been its depth and it must be disheartening for the opposition to find decent bowlers replaced by more decent bowlers and good batsmen, having been dismissed, replaced by more good batsmen.
May 18th The firsts came back from a dismal weekend last week to pick up a win and do enough in a rain affected draw to suggest that they might have nicked the points. On Saturday it was an on/off day as rain and drizzle persisted until late in the day. By that time there were only 19 overs left to chase Unsworth’s 205-6, during which time the firsts reached 99-3.
It was a different tale on Sunday though as the sun broke through regularly at Ashton. Ashton took first knock and looked on course for a score in excess of 200 at the half way point, but the introduction of Sunnyboy Letshela and Andy Hough changed all that as they tore through the middle and late order finishing with five and four wickets respectively. Sunny bowled a mixture of medium pace and leg breaks and picked up five for fifty eight whereas Andy, who is already proving to be a more tan ample replacement for Nick Kennedy, grabbed four despite only being introduced after thirty overs. This resulted in a collapse from 130 for 2 with fourteen overs still left, to 181 all out. It still looked a competitive score on what can be a troublesome strip at Ashton, but Chris Lord and Naz and then Aqeel and Naz put on 80 and then 99 to settle the destination of the points. Naz reached his personal milestone with four left to win and despite the loss of Aqeel, saw it through with almost five overs to spare. More Ashton pics (click)
The Seconds had an even better weekend, amassing nine points out of ten. Clifton and Littleborough seemed to be the only places in Lancashire where the rain actually put paid to a result, but down the road at Unsworth, the seconds rallied superbly to nick the points from their hosts. Liam Dorsey held the innings together with a mature knock of 74 which saw him lose five partners before falling himself with the score on 147. Two more wickets then fell for ten more runs before the unlikeliest of unbroken partnerships between Danny Hill and Chris Higgs saw them put on 85 in the final 12 overs to set an imposing 242-8. Its not often no.11 Rob Meredith gets pad rash, but he was no doubt delighted to do so. The plaudits went to Chris Higgs who scored a memorable 70no with twelve fours and a six.
In reply, the Unsworth batsmen were able to put together a number of useful partnerships and were always up with the clock, but persistence and tight bowling by the skipper allied to a couple of crucial wickets at the end left the home side needing four to win off Rob Meredith’s last ball. The batsman failed to middle and the predictable run out ensued leaving the seconds winners by three runs.
Table topping Ashton were the visitors to Manchester Road and came a cropper to one of Geoff Griffiths masterpieces. Batting first, the old man found himself playing the same sort of knock as Liam Dorsey had done the previous day, but with partners who were at least a little more willing to hang around. When Geoffrey perished for 89 in the 45th over with the score on 167-5, the tail rallied to make it a final total of 192-8. That score is always gettable at Manchester Road, but for some reason the leaders didnt seem to want to chase the runs and were 41-0 after 22 overs. Three wickets in the next three put paid to any late flourish and with only ten overs remaining they were 74-5. The late flourish was far too little and far too late and in an innings of seventeen maidens, over a third of the allotted overs, they folded to 131-7, depriving the 2nds of a deserved five points for the day and ten points for the weekend.
May 11th The thirds followed up last weeks cup win with an equally emphatic victory in the league encounter with Fothergill & Harvey. For once, the grey temples did not have it all their own way as 15 yr old Liam Holt played a fabulous innings of great maturity and shot selection, finishing with 76 not out. The 215-5 total always looked too many for the visitors who proved to have a rather long tail. The grey men then had the last word after all as Phil Royle chipped in his usual half century on his lovely wife’s birthday and Dave Rogers demolished the early and middle order to finish with a remarkable 7-16
May 10th It was unlikely that Saturdays encounter with an Oldham side which included Clifton old-boy Chinthaka Jayasinghe would ever be dull, but the popular Sri-Lankan came back to haunt his former employees us! with a vengeance.
It all started ordinarily enough with Dave Wild winning the toss and the top four progressing nicely to 125-2 before a disappointing middle and late order collapse. The final total of 172 did not seem undefendable however, especially when Ian Eccleshare struck early and had both openers back in the hutch with only four between them. But that only spurred on the new Oldham professional who proceeded to single-handedly bludgeon his side to victory. The other six who batted for the visitors in their five wicket win, scored just thirty runs between them as Chinthaka, who survived a very confident appeal for a catch behind the wicket early in his innings, went on to score an imperious 136 not out. Earlier, Chris Lord had top scored with 46 as several top order batsmen got starts but failed to capitalize. Sorely missing Qaiser Malik with both bat and ball, the middle order fell away badly and even committed the cardinal sin of failing to use up the overs.
Meanwhile Geoff Griffiths (60) and Paul Edwards (64) completed the second teams run chase at Oldham with just one ball to spare. Chasing 201 they fell behind the required rate and had to score at eight per over for the last eleven overs to win the game. Jehan Yahathugoda had earlier snapped up four wickets for the visitors.
All last seasons hard work was wasted in a couple of hours as the firsts bowed out of the Lancashire Knockout at the first hurdle at Walshaw. Despite the bowler-friendly conditions, 138 never looked to be enough, but at 80-7, Walshaw were in some trouble of their own. However, they edged closer to their target and finally got home with two wickets and two balls to spare in a nail biting finish.
May 8th Yes...the Clifton three are slowly but surely extricating themselves from Brighouse and Chris Tye has re-joined the club after a two (or was it three) match excursion into the Bradford League. He makes it into the first team for Saturdays encounter with Oldham. Sad news is that, despite extensive searching, the tea ladies have been unable to find any humble pie for Saturdays tea.
May 7th The firsts Cockspur Cup victory at Flowery Field on Sunday has set up another encounter with past adversaries from the Bolton Association. Golborne will visit at an as yet undecided date after a convincing win over the Lancashire County League opposition. Once again it was an all round team effort, but this time concentrated in the batting department as nobody managed a half century in a challenging total of 187. It was too much for the hosts however, as professional Naz tore through the late order when the push was on, to end up with the impressive figures of 7-30.
May 4th The firsts and seconds both had spectators biting their nails in the Bank Holiday Saturday sunshine, but with different outcomes in the final analysis. The firsts edged it over fancied Milnrow thanks to a good all round display in the field followed up by an innings of stops and starts, contentious decisions and a final gritty partnership to win the game. All this after professional Adil Nisar thought he’d won it for his new side, chasing down the home sides 198 with a determined 85 which held the innings together as others contributed in fits and starts. Earlier, it had been the Sunny show as the livewire overseas player took three wickets with his mixture of whippy medium pace and leg breaks, pouched two decent catches and produced a stunning direct hit to run out Armad who had just celebrated his half century. He was well supported in the field with Andy Hough bowling well to take 3-58. Whilst the firsts were winning by two wickets, the seconds were losing by the same margin. Largely thanks to Jim Ainscough (63) and Itchy Yahathugoda (41 not out), they posted 191-4, but despite a middle order collapse prompted by returning former Cross Cup Final man-of-the-match Paul Edwards (3-44), they eventually lost out with 4 overs to spare.
SUNDAYS 1st 2nd and 3rd XI match reports here
May 4th The multi-talented under 18 side have got off to a great start to the new season with a comfortable win over much fancied Rochdale. Having inserted their opponents, the Clifton bowlers produced a measured all round performance to dispatch the opposition for just 75 and then the batters knocked off the required runs for the loss of just two wickets.
The under 15s went one better with two stunning victories. For the full story click here.
April 27th The prospects of a winning start to the season for the firsts and seconds disappeared into the persistent drizzle on Sunday against Walsden. The efforts of the Walsden groundsman were laudable, but to no avail as the firsts did at least manage to win the first toss of the season.They then took to the field with no fewer than seven debutants including home-grown junior Ollie Dunn, but had to admit defeat with the home side on 57-0. The seconds, perhaps surprisingly on such a well drained ground, failed to bowl a ball against last years champions. So its into the Bank Holiday weekend with nothing to show but a couple of points apiece for the drawn games.
April 26th Unlike last season, the thirds are getting games in and have already got two under their belt. Saturdays encounter with newly promoted Failsworth went wrong for the visitors from the moment they won the toss and elected to bat. Tony Potters eyes lit up as brightly as the lurid green strip and he proceeded to bowl nine maidens in a spell of fourteen overs which realised four wickets for ten runs. It was a bowlers delight, but Failsworths 72 was never going to be enough as the thirds ran out easy winners by eight wickets taking the points tally for the season to six.
April 19TH Bogey team Rochdale completed their usual demolition job on the thirds on Saturday. Once, you could say that the thirds winning at Rochdale was about as likely as John Prescott having bulimia but in sub-zero temperatures it proved even less likely on the day. Chris Thorpe showed some maturity in his innings and Phil Royle also got into the thirties but, although a score of 123-9 looked OK in the circumstances, the bowling was generally too short and too inconsistent on a wicket which required only good old line and length. Rochdale completed the job for the loss of two wickets and the only other bright spot for us was the accumulation of the single point for not losing all our wickets.
Holty on the move
Popular ex-CCC all rounder Steve Holt is on the move again. He marked his debut for fancied Elton in the BDCA with a disappointing defeat at Golborne who finished in the bottom three last season.
The remarkable 2007 season enjoyed by the club has been noted in the cricketers bible Wisden. The 2008 edition, hot off the press, features Clifton CC for the first time in its 145 year history and confirms that we are very much on the cricketing map. Wisden have contacted the club and said, Clifton CC have made the big time. See Wisden page 925. A great pleasure to record your success. Can the club do it again in 2008? Keep me posted. and enjoy a wonderful season.
Wisden facts click here
April 3rd A few things to be ironed out first, but it looks like our new overseas amateur for 2008 will be South African Sunnyboy Letshela. Sunnyboy (aka Seate Lavious Letshele) has played first class cricket for Limpopo in South Africa and is apparently straining at the leashes to get onto Cliftons featherbed wicket. He also bowls a mean leg break. Fingers crossed it all works out.
April 3rd . Junior signing on night will take place on Saturday April 5th. There will be the usual Race Night to empty your pockets and orders for cricket clothing will also be taken on the night. The situation with cricket clothing is quite pressing, so please be prepared to pay on the night. ALL WELCOME.
There will be a course for all budding scorers in the clubhouse on April 10th (Thursday). Please contact Maria Morris to register - 07730 490403 or email@example.com
April 1st. The annual winter PREDICTAGOAL season ended on the last Saturday of the month with Ian Morris & Dean taking the overall prize of 50 for the aggregate six months points tally, as well as second spot in the March competition. That takes their overall winnings to 74 for the year, with Paul Garner, Neil Smith and Will Eccles also coming out with a profit on their 30 outlay. Where there are winners though, there have to be losers and Steve Harding, Steve Eccles, Richards Savage and Tony Potter failed to win a bean all season !!
April 1st. Three years to the day that the club were confirmed as members of the CLL and the news was confirmed that skipper Gary Garner was leaving the club for personal reasons. Now definitely leaving the club are Chris Tye, Gary Garner, Chinthaka Jayasinghe, Nick Kennedy, Raki Mahmood, Hiranthe Wijesinghe, David Dempster, Richard Dempster, Paul Dempster, Michael Hay and Grant Cordin. The arrival of Josh Cunliffe, Jehan Yathathugoda, Ichira Yahathugoda, Ian Eccleshare Andy Hough and of course, new professional Adil Nisar mean a very new look to the 1st XI this season.
March 30th A massive thank you was due to all who took part in the cricketforce weekend on March 29th and 30th to make the ground look presentable for the forthcoming season. Andy Lord said, There wasnt really anything big to do, just a load of little jobs, which was a tribute to those who work hard to keep the place spick and span all year round.
March 29th The annual winter PREDICTAGOAL season ended on the last Saturday of the month with Ian Morris & Dean taking the overall prize of 50 for the aggregate six months points tally, as well as second spot in the March competition. That took their overall winnings to 74 for the year, with Paul Garner, Neil Smith and Will Eccles also coming out with a profit on their 30 outlay. Where there are winners though, there had to be losers and Steve Harding, Steve Eccles, Richards Savage and Tony Potter failed to win a bean all season !!
March 27th. ex-pro Chinthaka Jayasinghe had a good weekend against the Tamil Union in his clubs latest 1st class four day game. He scored 81 off 89 balls in the first innings and 45 off 39 balls in the second, contributing to the entertainment with ten 4s and six 6s along the way. However, the weather had the final say and the match was drawn.
March 17th. Great news for our popular ex-professional Chinthaka Jayasinghe as he has at last secured a professional engagement for the 2008 season. Whats more, it will bring him back to Clifton as his new employers are Oldham. Itll be good to see him again, but lets hope he saves his more remarkable knocks for somebody else !
March 7th. Less than a month to go before the start of the season and left armer Nick Kennedy had been tempted away to try his luck with Brighouse in the Bradford League. With Gary Garner suffering from a mystery back complaint, the pre season plans were a bit of a worry as the opener with Atherton approached. Some good news in that Qaiser Malik may be with us after all after deciding to resume his studies in the North.
March 4th. Another old acquaintance will be renewed on April 12th (weather permitting) as the firsts will play a friendly at Higham Park, home of Atherton of the B&DCA.
February 13th. A double pre-season friendly has been confirmed with Lancashire League side RAWTENSTALL with the firsts at home and the seconds away on Saturday April 19th.
January 19th. The reward for qualifying for the Barclays Wealth LCB knockout this season, has been a draw against our old friends from Walshaw. The Bolton Association club, who also finished third in the league table, will be at home and if successful, the firsts will be at home to either Sutton or Denton West with the possibility of a home tie against Egerton in round 3.
ELSEWHERE Rochdale have a tasty tie against Bootle, Unsworth travel to Preston, Norden visit Stretford and Heywood will be at home to Norley Hall. For the full draw, click here.
Meanwhile, the Cockspur Cup sends the firsts on another trip to Hyde but not into the hills around Hyde CC but to the more urban setting around the M65 where Flowery Field CC ply their trade in the Lancashire County League. This tie will take place on Bank Holiday Monday May 5th.
January 18th. Indoor Practice has been arranged at Smithills Indoor Centre, Bolton on Friday evenings between 7-30 and 8-30 commencing on January 18th 2008. The cost is 3 for seniors and Under 18 players are welcome as well and will pay 2.
January 13th. Sri Lankas new five team provincial tournament proved a hit, with Chintha playing all five games in his sides success. They won all four of the group games, but the final was washed out and the championship shared. High spots for the popular ex-pro were a whirlwind 64no off 60 balls in the second of the group games and the prized wicket of Tillakaratne Dilshan in the same game.