Just as they had done seven days earlier, the 1st & 2nd XI enjoyed League wins on Saturday, albeit in rather cooler conditions, which the players may have appreciated more than the spectators!
At Sycamore Park, 1st XI skipper Adam Hawley elected to bat first on a dry pitch that looked to have runs in it. The early dismissal of Mark Dillnut was soon forgotten as Adam, supported by Lahiru Jayakody, navigated us to 69 for 1 in the 23rd over before he was bowled for 33, attempting to pull a ball that kept mischievously low. “Larry” fresh from his bowling exploits the previous weekend, showed prowess with the bat, reaching his half-century with a straight six, before being trapped lbw for 57. Ryan Waterhouse also cleared the ropes, literally seconds after Chairman Ian Hawley commented that the talented youngster was “a stroke-maker who doesn’t need to play the big shots”. The timing could not have been better! Ryan’s departure for 29 brought Liam Parkinson to the crease. As ever, Liam kept things moving, his 27 coming at slightly better than a run a ball but, following his dismissal, the tail didn’t wag too excitedly, and we were dismissed for 182 in the 49th over. The feeling, certainly amongst the spectators, was that this was less than had looked likely at one stage.
After an early candidate for “tea of the season”, a couple of early wickets for Scott Kirwin reduced the visitors to 25 for 2 in the 11th over. Repair work was undertaken by Ryan Sloan & Adam Hayes, who added 47 relatively trouble-free runs as the score moved on to 72 for 2 after 21 overs. One over later, courtesy of Ben Tighe’s appearence in the attack off a short run-up, and 72 for 2 had become 72 for 5!!! Not “just” a triple-wicket maiden, though – a hat-trick, no less!!! The visitors were clearly rocked by this and, just as Scott had taken the first 2 wickets, and Ben the next 3, Jordan Williams helped himself to the following 4. At 107/9 in the 33rd over, a home win looked imminent. Sloan, having survived the carnage around him was joined by Josh Butler. The latter looked anything but a No. 11, as the pair shared a half-century stand which brought the victory target worryingly close for the home players and spectators alike. It was left to “Parky” to dash from his station behind the stumps in pursuit of the ball, removing his gloves in the process, to effect the run out (with assistance from Kyle O’Reilly) that would see us home by 22 runs. Cue big sighs of relief, on both sides of the boundary rope!
The 2nds were just across town at Denton West, whose 2nd XI had started the season rather better than their 1st XI. Here’s Archie Moore’s report:
Having won the toss, Saints chose to bowl first on a damp wicket that, it was felt, would offer assistance to the seamers. At 5/2, with the experienced Gareth Senior and the dangerous Matt Lowndes back in the pavilion, it looked like a good decision. However, the arrival of Senior junior and Burton got the hosts’ innings back on track – the former being dismissed at the end of the 25th over, with the score on 91. The Saints were happy enough at this stage, and still felt they had control. Then Ben Lowndes decided to take matters in to his own hands. With 7 fours and 4 big sixes he soon got to 50 before perishing for 63 from just 46 balls. Saints were glad to see the back of him with 4 overs left, and 192/7 became 204 all out in the final over – a target that we thought was achievable. The wickets were shared around, Akash Patel being the pick of the bowlers with 4/18 off 7.1 overs.
The pace of Ben Lowdnes soon made inroads into our top-order and, at 47/4, it is fair to say we were second favourites against a team that hadn’t conceded 100 yet this season. In came Vice-Captain Danny Hall to partner Danny Moss. A magnificent 154 partnership, with some incredible batting from both players, all but saw us home before “Mossy” departed for 87 with just 4 needed to win from 9 balls. Zac Gregory took care of this with just one shot, leaving Danny Hall 74* off 78 balls – his maiden half-century. A superb win, a fantastic team performance, and the lads never gave in. Derby Day delight was sweet!
A happy Archie, indeed! Attention switched to the 3rd XI on Sunday, as they travelled to Bury in the 1st round of their Cup competition. The 1st & 2nd XI had already progressed away from home in their respespective Cups – so no pressure on Dan Moriarty’s young-ish team! But we needn’t have worried, as a tidy all round performance with the ball saw the hosts dismissed for 128, Zac Gregory (3/22) and Akash Patel (3/27) leading the way. At 53/5 in reply, the game was very much in the balance and, if anything, slipping away from us. However, Captain Moriarty (31*) and Lewis Collins (36*) saw us home comfortably in the end, with 5 wickets and 8.3 overs to spare, to complete a winning weekend for the Club – well done to all!