CLIFTON CRICKET CLUB

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LINK TO ALL THE CLUB’S 2017 RESULTS (JUNIOR AND SENIOR) HERE

 

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Week ten started early for the firsts, with Winton Warriors playing home games on a Thursday and the Kingfishers cruised effortlessly into the knockout stages with a resounding 101 run victory. The tone of the game was set in the first over when Gareth Cross smashed 26 off the unfortunate opening bowler on his way to scoring 62 off only 22 deliveries. After just four overs, the scoreboard showed 68-0 and as wickets fell, the replacements continued to make hay, resulting in a score of 219-4 at a shade short of 11 an over. Joe McCann then struck in the first over of the host’s reply and a further two fell in the fifth over at which stage they had amassed only 31 runs. Crossy was then able to use nine bowlers, with Adam Holt missing out (thankfully after last week!). The chances of Winton “doing an Egerton” were practically zero however and despite Saf conceding one particularly punishing over, six different bowlers were able to capture wickets and we were also treated to a thrilling direct hit by Sam Dorsey, running out his victim from midwicket.

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They followed that up with a stunning win against Roe Green on Saturday before a rag-tag and bobtail collection of first, second and third team players moved into round two of the re-constituted Cross Cup with a routine win at Spring View on Sunday. In contrast, Saturday’s win was a real, proper cricket game though, with 574 runs being scored by the two sides. You would expect that Gareth Cross’s 130 would be the man-of-the-match performance but 88 runs and 6 wickets from Liam Hurt probably edged him out. That meant that, despite both Will and Joe getting first ball ducks, a season’s best of 298-6 was posted, a total that Roe Green attacked with no small measure of skill and aggression that without any shadow of doubt, put them in a winning position for much of their reply. Crossy’s men didn’t help themselves with some uncharacteristic boobs in the field, but the bowlers didn’t panic and kept plugging away, eventually reaping the reward of a big total with a 12 run victory that put them within a win of top spot in this topsy-turvy season of strange results.

On Sunday, with both Steve Cheetham and Liam Hurt unable to bowl, they stepped up with vital runs in the Cross Cup tie at Spring View which saw the home side reduced to 144 all out. The makeshift batting line-up attacked the rather meagre total with marked aggression and some inauspicious shot selection gave the home side a sniff, but Sam Dorsey saw it through in the end with the help of messrs Cheetham and Hurt supporting quickfire scores from Crossy and Joe Mac resulting in a five wicket win with cartloads of overs to spare. Earlier, Adam Holt had stepped into the void left by Liam, Cheets, Greg and Matt by taking five wickets which resulted in Uncle Ian deciding that he definitely didn’t want to be in the club in case Adam came back after the game.

 

The seconds had a reasonably routine win at Astley & Tyldesley on Saturday, largely due to Chris Royle’s 56* in pursuit of the hosts 141 in which four of the five bowlers took wickets. If the seconds do achieve anything at the end of the season, it will possibly be due to the fact that the bowling attack is able to compensate for anyone having an ‘off’ day, by upping their game. The batting response was less convincing though, with the 22 wides bowled by the home side providing the second highest contribution to the total. However, there were more than 15 overs remaining when the winning runs were hit and the side moved to within 5 points of top of the table Radcliffe.

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The thirds put out the oldest team of the season as unavailability and injury took its toll. Nick Flaxman won the toss and elected to field in residually damp conditions. Kieran Doyle bowled particularly well on an unhelpful wicket, where other bowlers struggled with the exception of Paul Greenhalgh who continues to improve week on week. Wickets were as rare as hen’s teeth though and it became a defensive job which worked well to restrict Thornham to 197-4 when they could and should have had more. Joe Parker (26) and Chris Royle (48) started brilliantly with an opening stand of 62 and when they went, it brought together over 100 years of experience as Gary Royle and Ian Morris took the score on to 147-2 before Mr Royle featured in the first of three run-outs on his watch. None of batsmen 5 to 9 managed double figures and despite an unbeaten half century from Gary, the side finished an agonising seven runs short.

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The firsts were eventually well beaten by table toppers Bamford, but the start of each innings heralded a better outcome in both cases. Will Davidson (53) and Adam Holt (63) were still together at drinks and posted an opening stand of 116 inside 27 overs, but then all ten wickets fell for a paltry 78 as Bamford’s spinners placed a stranglehold on the batsmen. Then, with 194 posted, the hosts were reduced to 8-2 by yet another opening blast from Liam Hurt, but partnerships of 104 and 72 put paid to hopes of a morale boosting win and Bamford only lost two further wickets.

The seconds moved into fourth place and to within two points of top spot as leaders Radcliffe were beaten by bottom club Edgworth, showing how tight this division continues to be. Sarfraiz Jan was this week’s prime mover but again it was a good team performance that secured the points. From 45-0, the visitors managed only another 98 with Saf capturing 5-31 despite conceding three boundaries in one over. Recovering from early blips, batsmen 3,4,5 and 6 put together solid knocks securing a comfortable six wicket win with eight overs to spare as the seconds reached the half way stage of the season on the up and with cup and promotion ambitions intact.

 

On Sunday the seconds made heavy weather of their cup quarter final against Bamford, a side two divisions below them, but nevertheless moved into the semi final on July 23rd. The bowling, fielding and especially catching was way below par as the hosts posted 162 when in truth, on a good day with all three disciplines functioning well, they would have struggled to achieve half that total. Ian Morris’ 45 held the reply together but Bamford were never out of the game at any stage until Rob Reade and Rob Lord reached the final stages of their unbeaten match winning partnership of 47.

The thirds had a good, solid win at South West Manchester with contributions from young and not so young showing the benefits of a balanced 3rd XI. Five of the six bowlers used took wickets and three good run-outs added to the dismissal of the hosts for a below par 150. Joe Parker’s 40 then provided the platform for the reply with Gary Royle (22no) steadying the ship when he came in at 118-5. The win propelled the team to fourth leaving the firsts as the club’s lowest placed senior side with half the season to go. Sadly, the thirds cannot maintain their impetus next week as the game against table toppers Stretford has been postponed until August 28th.

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An under strength Kingfishers ensured that there will be a new name on the T20 trophy in 2017 as they bowed out of the competition at Stretford. Despite missing mainly bowlers, it was the batting that looked fragile on a difficult playing surface that made it difficult to get the ball away. The total of 108 was still way under par unless early wickets fell. Sadly they didn’t and despite a late flourish from the unlikely source of Will Davidson (4-17) the side went out of the cup. There is still of course the National T20 to enjoy on July 30th when Crossy’s side will represent the GMCL in the North West finals day in Cheshire.

The batting situation was resolved in style of Saturday as Bury’s seven match winning run was ended dismissively by a first XI that had no Hurt, Cheetham or Dorsey and saw Rodzoch cry off on the day. It quickly became obvious that medium pace bowlers were going to enjoy a day fielding as the wicket gave the spin option the advantages of prodigious turn, uneven bounce and more potently, a lack of trust by the batsmen that saw them making bad decisions about where they should plant their feet. After Greg Jennings coaxed false shots out of the opening pair, Will Davidson (2-60), Matt Wright (4-30) and Joe McCann(1-45) went to work. The lightning fast outfield meant it was hard to keep the scoring in check, but the unpredictability of the wicket also meant that no batsman could feel secure and providing that the bowling was up to scratch, the score could be kept in check. As such, the final total of 216-9 was interesting and nobody was placing any bets at tea. Will and Adam eased the nerves with an opening stand of 94 but after last week’s disintegration at Bamford, it was clear that there was still much to do. Crossy played positively from the start and scored 48 at better than a run a ball in a stand of 89 in 14 overs. Then Will (89) gave up his wicket with the end in sight for the second time this season, but James Evans and Joe McCann saw it through with five overs to spare.

The seconds had an equally impressive win in an unusual derby game with Swinton Moorside that saw an opposing playing storming off the field and going home after abusing an umpire over an unanswered lbw appeal !  All this occurred after a bizarre run-out decision had gone the visitor’s way, not to mention three lbw decision out of the other four wickets to fall.   Jamie Royle’s debut as skipper saw the visitors restricted to 133-9 in their full allocation of 45 overs and the late replacements Ethan Harding (1-18) and Jack Barton (3-25) played their part in the bowling attack with Liam Dorsey capturing two wickets at less than two per over. Jim Ainscough (68*) held the innings together well as wickets fell at the other end and there was a minor catastrophe when three wickets fell for two runs leaving the side on a wobbly 97-5. CJJ Royle is in decent form though and his patient 14 in 30 balls saw the score through to within four of victory.

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The firsts slipped to a double weekend of defeats at the hands of Prestwich and bottom side Glossop. There were some odd statistics to go along with those results as Will Davidson took five Glossop wickets on Saturday and then got out in the fifties, not for the first time, on Sunday. Add to that a half century for Cheets on Saturday and returns of 3-32 and 3-55 not to mention a huge six in his 16 on Sunday and it was a strange weekend. Furthermore, Crossy’s planning went up the spout not only when Holty and James couldn’t manage double figures all weekend, but when county priorities meant that Liam Hurt was unable to bowl and Sam Dorsey was rested for the Sunday match.

The seconds suffered from a whole plethora of unavailability and cry-offs, some of them ridiculously late, as they went down narrowly to Radcliffe in a ding dong game. Chris Royle was in the hot seat and, once he’d managed to scrape 11 together, he saw his bowling attack strangle Radcliffe, despite conceding 42 extras that eventually decided the game. Rob Reade and Andy Lord captured three wickets apiece as the visitors were restricted to 155-8 in their 45 overs, scoring 26 in the last three overs. That too proved decisive as in trying to recover from the early loss of the skipper, the side scored only 27 off the first 14 overs. Rob Lord (56) held things together in partnerships of 36 and 66, but could not recover the run rate sufficiently leaving the late order too much to do as they fell nine runs short. The difference of 29 in the extras column though, undoubtedly made a massive contribution to this defeat.

 

 

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