CLIFTON CRICKET CLUB

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7

A depleted Kingfishers T20 side started the defence of their GMCL champions crown with a stunning victory against Prestwich Heat on a cold Friday evening that warmed up the cockles of the spectators that had braved the conditions. After Crossy smashed 36 off 18 balls, the rest tried, but failed to emulate his degree of physical violence inflicted upon the ball, although Adam Holt (43 off 35) and Sam Dorsey (39 off 39) ensured that the final total surpassed seven an over. The visitors set off in pursuit of the 145 total with equal gusto, the first wicket falling to the 39th legitimate delivery with 52 on the board. A further 42 in 37 were added before the next wicket fell and the visitors were coasting. The bowling attack, led by Crossy (4-31) then stepped up to the mark and wickets tumbled leaving Greg Jennings to bowl the last over with 6 needed and 3 wickets remaining. The first two balls yielded singles making Prestwich firm favourites, but Greg followed up by bowling Gibson. The new batsman could do nothing with the next delivery and allowed the pressure to take over as he ran himself out on ball five. Needing four off the final ball, the last man felt the ball rap into his bats for a dot ball and a thrilling three run victory.

The firsts registered an unwanted hat-trick of league defeats on the usual difficult playing surface at Egerton. It was plainly obvious throughout the game how the home side understood and used the unique conditions better than Crossy’s men who found runs extremely difficult to accumulate, scoring only 117-6 in the full allocation of 50 overs with Sam Dorsey battling away bravely for almost two hours for his 35 not out. With late withdrawals from Liam Hurt and Adam Rodzoch, Greg Jennings and Steve Cheetham set about defending the meagre total and had immediate success in the first over. The home side’s reply then changed the odds this way and that for the entire innings with nobody on the ground able to confidently predict the outcome. At 25-3, the visitors were on top, but when that became 69-3, the home side were coasting. However, that quickly became 69-5, with Adam Holt producing an inspired run out whilst the rest of the players and spectators were awaiting the outcome of an lbw decision. A partnership of 25 swung the game back again but Crossy’s men again refused to lie down as 94-5 became 99-8. The stubborn 9th wicket partnership took the score to within two of victory before Cheets struck. However, it wasn’t to be as the final two runs duly arrived giving Egerton their first GMCL victory over Crossy’s men.

The seconds produced possibly their worst performance of the season at home to Edgworth. The visitors posted a challenging 210-8 as rain curtailed their innings short. The vagaries of the DLS system weren’t to be needed though; this despite another scintillating opening partnership of 91 in 12 overs. The batting then collapsed spectacularly with only Rob Reade managing double figures with all ten wickets falling for 41 runs.

The thirds carried the flag for the club in some style on Sunday, with as complete a performance as has been seen for some time against high-flyers Greenmount. It was not without its early difficulties though as the visitors punished any wayward delivery expertly and with 14 overs still available they were sitting pretty at 150-4. However, led by Joe Parker (5-25), the attack slowly strangled the later batsmen and captured the last six wickets for just 28 runs which was an admirable performance against the unbeaten visitors. Ben Sykes (20) and Joe Parker (16) then threw their wickets away with lazy shots having looked comfortable and then Chris Royle (15) picked out the only fielder in sight with a full blooded flick off a full toss and the jitters set in. However, Sam Brown (45) and Andy Tocher (42*) put together a match winning stand of 80 and Roman Slusarenko (17 off 16), having returned from hospital after sustaining a hefty blow on the nose, saw off the remaining runs with an over to spare to give Nick’s boys a vital first win and a confidence boost just when it was most needed.

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8

The Kingfishers T20 crown is in the balance after Roe Green produced a superb response to the 152 that they posted on another overcast evening. Crossy again set the platform with 54 off 34 with four sixes. Will, Adam and Sam went cheaply before James Evans (25 off 17) and Liam Hurt (28 off 17) put on 53 in quick time. Unfortunately both went within three balls and although Joe Mac (14 off 13) tried to hold the tail together, the innings petered out. Two wickets in the first five overs made things interesting, but a partnership of 54 followed by another unbroken one of 52 gave the visitors a comfortable win with an over to spare.

At last the firsts managed to win a rain affected game when they were just too good all over the field for Walshaw. The visitors rely heavily on their batting and according to ex Cliftoner Steve Holt, were delighted to have kept the score down to 228-9 after yet another opening partnership, this time 81 in less than 15 overs with Adam Holt looking like he was going to score a thousand. However, he gave his wicket away when on 68 in only the 20th over – silly boy. Sam Dorsey stepped in and scored his own half century and an unexpected twist in the batting order brought Liam Hurt to the crease where he followed up last evening’s exploits with 31 in 20 balls including three huge sixes to please the crowd which by this time had grown to about 10. Then the rains arrived and Messrs D,L and S entered the fray. The result was a run chase of around 140 in 20 overs which was well within the reach of the free scoring Walshaw top order. That evaporated inside five balls as opener McClung and Blignaut, sporting an average of over 50, both had their stumps demolished by Liam Hurt. Once Greg Jennings removed the dangerous Bhojani it was game over despite a brave rearguard action and five points on a rain affected day that moved Crossy’s men into the top 3.

The wheels have most definitely come off the seconds’ revival after a third successive defeat, this time at Irlam on a wet day in a match restricted to 41 overs. Batting first, Jamie Royle, replacing his partying brother went early, but Jim Ainscough (44) and Chris Lord then took the score on to 50 before Lordy (30) fell. The middle order then plodded their way to 109 before three wickets fell in quick succession on that score. Kurt Davies (15*) and Roman Slusarenko (17*) rescued the situation as 144-7 was posted. It seemed a fairly par score in the circumstances but the home side managed to put together a series of useful partnerships with no batsman failing to reach double figures. As a result, the hosts surpassed the 144 with eight overs in hand and only four wickets lost.

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9

 

In stark contrast to the seconds and thirds, the firsts had a disastrous weekend number 9, as Summer finally arrived and spectators turned from white fish into lobsters. On Saturday, they went to Denton St Lawrence with high hopes of overtaking the South Manchester side into second spot and all seemed well as Liam Hurt (2-52) and Greg Jennings (3-72) reduced the home side to 26-2. A match defining partnership of 120 ensued and although both participants were eventually removed, a late flurry took the home team’s score to 236-8. Once again, the opening pair provided a platform for the reply with 77 in less than 15 overs, but the rest weren’t able to capitalise with 5,6 and 7 managing 3 runs between them and despite an entertaining 21 from Greg Jennings, the innings petered out to a disappointing 182. Will Davidson’s form continues to pick up with another half century and that continued into Sunday when he scored 62 in a partnership of 127 with Gareth Cross (67). This time the middle order did respond and despite the absence of Sam Dorsey on County duty, James Evans stepped up to the plate, smashing an unbeaten 74 off 47 balls which included six mighty sixes. That allowed his side to post a seemingly unassailable 257-6 after an unbeaten partnership of 94 with Steve Cheetham, achieved in just nine overs, appeared to have knocked the wind out of Egerton sails. Despite an opening partnership of 64, the hosts found the size of the score daunting and soon succumbed to 99-6, but then one of those one-offs in cricket occurred as a number eight batsman comes to the crease and aided by some frankly poor bowling, smashes 71 runs. There was still work to do though as the game, which continued to enthral the large crowd, saw further wickets go and the last pair come together with 23 still needed. The impetus was with the hosts by now though and a spectacular match ended in a second unfortunate one wicket defeat against Egerton in the space of three weeks.

 

In contrast, the twos had a brilliant weekend achieving two eight wickets wins and a place in the last eight of the cup against Bamford Fieldhouse at the end of the month. On Saturday, Deane and Derby, who had thrashed our second XI at the end of last season, were given a taste of their own medicine after being reduced to 218 that included a disappointing 41 extras. Andrew Lord and Sarfraiz Jan both took three wickets as the visitors failed to use up their overs with tea being taken seven overs earlier than anticipated which was a bonus for the team in the sweltering heat. Chris Royle went early in the reply, but there the game ended as a contest as Chris Lord (52) and the Ainscoughs, Jim (80*) and Dan (41*) saw off the runs with a full fourteen overs to spare in as resounding a win as the side have mustered all season. Worth noting too that only 88 of those runs came in boundaries as the running between the wickets was excellent despite the heat. On Sunday the 2nd XI Cup came to town in the shape of old rivals Walshaw and despite being from a lower division, they posted two runs more than Saturday’s league opposition with 220 on the board at tea. Again Sarfraiz Jan was the pick of the bowlers with 3-36 and thankfully only 18 extras conceded. A second eight wicket win was then confirmed inside 40 overs despite a second failure by Chris Royle. This time it was Dan Ainscough (86*) who took the plaudits with Chris Lord (43) reaching 500 for the season and Jamie Royle (57*) at last finding some form and a place in the quarter finals of the cup.

 

Ten boys and a girl took on Littleborough Lakeside on their traditionally difficult playing surface on Sunday and came away with a hard fought 17 run win, which again was described as the best of the season by skipper Nick. Batting first, the top three all scored 50, with a maiden Clifton half century for Ethan Harding that was equalled by Sam Brown (63) and Alex Cunliffe (51) posting a target of 217 in the 40 overs. Charlie Cook (2-31), who had earlier chipped in with 23 runs, Paul Greenhalgh (3-21) who’s performance was no doubt booted by the possibility of his sister taking more wickets, Jack Golland (3-43) and Jack Barton (2-45) then did the business, bowling out the hosts with nine balls remaining and nineteen runs short of their target.

 

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