Where are you going/where did you go - Cricket

Stoodley Pike

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Sunday 18th July 2021
Sandiacre Town versus Carrington & Cavaliers
ECB National Club Championship, Round Four (40 overs, 1pm start)
Sandiacre Town won the toss and elected to bat
Sandiacre Town 227-8 off 40 overs beat by 15 runs Cavaliers & Carrington 212 off 39.5 overs
Free admission, no programmes
Attendance 180 (h/c)
Tea (in a mug) 50p


After almost seven hours of absorbing cricket, second in the Derbyshire Premier Division edged out third in the Nottinghamshire Premier Division. Given Cavaliers & Carrington found themselves 2-2 (both Scott McNeill catches) after two overs of their reply, the visitors did well to get as close as they did.

To my mind, the key moments were the dismissals, in quick succession, of Nayyar Abbas (47) and Shivsinh Thakor (47), who put on a patient 103 for the third wicket. Adam Tillock (62 off 50 balls) took up the fight after their departures but, when he went, Cavaliers & Carrington simply had too much to do and lacked the batters to do it. Tillock and Raheem Ahmed (13) added 44 for the sixth wicket. Daniel Wheeldon (2-32), John Jordison (2-38), impressive spinner Connor Marshall (2-39) and Matthew Newbold (2-52) shared the wickets.

Earlier, Sandiacre made a measured start. James Chapman (69) and Luke Thomas (28) figured in a first wicket partnership worth 79. Chapman and Jake Needham (44) put on 71 for the third wicket. The hosts fell away from that point, 151-3, although the stocky Wheeldon struck an aggressive 35 off 26 balls. He managed to shatter a bat! Mateen Teli (3-24) took three wickets in an eventful over. Usman Arshad had 2-43.

Sandiacre have a tidy ground on Longmoor Lane, near the town's pitiful high street. Unusually, and on another unbearably hot afternoon delightfully, each side and one end offer deep, blissful shade. More trees at cricket grounds, please! A two-storey clubhouse, smart and modern, occupies the northwest corner. Its bar did a roaring trade. Plentiful parking at the north (non-shady) end. The pitch slopes downhill from the west side but is flat around the square and beyond. A couple of landmarks visible to the north: the chimney of the former Sandiacre Mill, converted into apartments then half destroyed by fire about 18 months ago, and the spire of St Giles's Church.

Usual pantomime on the M1 heading home. There were three lane closures leading to frustrating delays: for a wide load (why not transport the bloody thing in the small hours?), for debris (non-existent) and for a stranded vehicle (long since removed).

I'm glad we opted for the tie at Sandiacre rather than the South Northumberland-Woodhouse Grange clash up in Newcastle. The latter proved extremely one-sided. Had enough of that sort of game this season!
 
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Cherryhopper

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Sunday 18th July
National Village Cup Quarter-Final (40 overs, 1pm start)
Calmore Sports 205/4 (40) beat Rockhampton Rams 165 all out (37?)
Attendance 300 est including a coachload of away fans
Free Admission, no programmes


My third visit to Loperwood Park exactly a year after my first on the Saturday competitive cricket started up again. No shortage of trees at this rural picturesque venue, the ones on the main road side providing plenty of shade for those who don't like the hot sun.

Calmore Sports reach the Semi-Finals, just one win away from Lords, in what I believe is the first season they have entered this competition. Knew from Rockhampton's Twitter feed that Calmore were batting first and was surprised to see they still hadn't lost any wickets when I arrived in the 19th over at 74/0. It wasn't until an lbw in the 27th over with 109 runs on the board that the hosts lost a wicket, the second came from a run out in the 33rd. A catch and further lbw late in the innings followed but the hosts managed to pass the 200 mark. The visitors' reply started badly when they lost a wicket through a spectacular low catch in the first over, but they recovered and had passed what the hosts managed in 19 overs by the 15th, but then lost two quick wickets in the 19th over and the momentum swung back in Calmore's favour with the run rate slowing. After the drinks break at the end of 30 overs Rockhampton were 122/5 needing 84 off 60 balls and it was too tall an order for them as wickets fell more regularly, mostly lbw's and run outs, which was how the last wicket fell after a slight delay in the umpires decision. Not sure exactly how many overs had been played when the end came, the scoreboard was stuck on 35 while Play-cricket gives an incomplete score of 157/9 after 36 overs. Calmore will get home advantage again in the Semi-Finals when they host Thames Valley League Stoke Green, winners over Foxton. Despite the NVKO Play-cricket site calling them Stoke Green's 2nd XI, I believe this is actually their first team as they don't have a side in the Home Countie Premier.

 
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FLOYD FIRECAN

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Saturday 17th July
Cheshire County Cricket League - ECB Premier League
@ Neston Cricket Club
Admission Free - no scorecard
Attendance peaked at approx. 120

Chester Boughton Hall 342-3 dec [53 overs] Neston 213-9 [57]
Match Drawn - Neston 5 points C.B.H. 15 points

In the Cheshire County Cricket League sides are allowed a maximum of 55 overs for each innings with any unused overs in the first innings carried over to the second. Taking first knock, Chester began to build a massive total with spectators fully expecting an early declaration thereby providing their bowlers with extra overs to dismiss a Neston side generally regarded to have the strongest of batting line-ups. As it was, skipper Harry Kiloran allowed the total to go someway past the 300 mark before calling time 2 overs early, a decision he probably regretted as events turned out.

Neston were without the League's paciest bowler, Ash Davies, while their opponents were missing ace opening bat, Warren Goodwin and it was the hosts who seemed to suffer the most as a result. This local derby and long standing rivalry got off to a quiet start in the hot sunshine with Chester's openers being parted at 37 when Rick Moore was dismissed with fellow opener and Lancashire prospect, Luke Young, going at 92. There then followed an outstanding partnership when Alex Money was joined at the crease by captain Killoran. The pair savaged the opposition bowlers to the tune of 182 runs with Killoran, having given Money a head start, reaching his 100 first before being caught in the deep after accumulating 109 runs off 80 balls. Money, who had been dropped on 22, went on to remain undefeated on 131 as the visitors declared on 342 for the loss of 3 wickets.

Not content with notching a ton, Killoran opened the bowling for Chester and in his first over took the prized scalp of Cheshire's Will Evans. David Hurst quickly followed thanks to a superb delivery from Young and although Mark Rowlands battled hard for his side he was out for 47 to leave the Neston reply at 67-4. Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals but overs were being used up and the home side were grateful to no. 6 batsman, Dane Williams who was rarely in trouble. When Harry Donelan was the 9th man out with the scoreboard reading 207-9 there were only 2 overs left. Last man Matty Stewart supported Williams, who went on to finish with 70 runs to his name, as the hosts held out for a draw with Chester surely ruing the decision not to declare earlier.

The Cheshire County League is blessed with a number of attractive grounds and Neston is certainly amongst them.
The impressive two storied clubhouse gives views over the Burton marshes and the River Dee with the hills of North Wales forming a suitable backcloth. The Neston club houses squash courts while outside, tennis courts lie between the main cricket pitch and a 2nd playing area and a separate hockey pitch is utilised in the winter.
 

norwich6

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Friday 16th July
T20 friendly start 1800
Sprowston v Great Canfield Essex at Barkers Lane Sprowston Norwich
Sprowston 175 for 4 beat Great Canfield 99 for 8 by 76 runs
Attendance 10 at peak

A first visit of the season to Sprowston in lovely evening sunlight for this low key friendly,
although they lost an early wicket Sprowston amassed 175.

From what I understand Great Canfield is off the A120 road between Bishops Stortford and
Dunmow and despite only playing friendlies the club does have its own ground.

I do like watching cricket at Sprowston and hopefully can get there a couple of more times
before the season ends.

Saturday 17th July
Two Counties Cricket Championship Division 2 start 1230 45 overs a side
Clacton v Kesgrave at Clacton Recreation Ground Vista Rd Clacton
Scores Clacton 155 all out lost to Kesgrave 157 for 9 by 1 wicket
Admission free Attendance 10 at peak

Another Saturday where I ended up at a ground I had not intended to visit.
I set out by train from Norwich with the intention of visiting Wivenhoe but found out on the
way that Wivenhoe was off this was due to Covid in the opposition East Bergholt's team.
Therefore I had to use my back up plan of Clacton v Kesgrave.

This was a tremendous game of cricket the game started with Kesgrave being top of the table
whilst Clacton were 4th. Clacton batted first and wickets fell on a regular basis but thanks to
a very patient 65 by Bradley Pitts Clacton managed a score of 155 after being 64 for 5 at one
stage of the match. Connor Betts and Sam Godward each took 3 wickets for Kesgrave.

When Kesgrave batted they were in real trouble as they slumped to 28 for 5 thanks to the tight
bowling of Lewis Kirk and Bradley Pitts. There then followed a 6th wicket partnership
of 71 before Connor Betts departed for 28. The game then seemed to have turned Clacton's way
when Nathan Young was caught for 46 off apparently the 7th ball of an over according
to both the Clacton players and the scorer. 107 for 7 then became 107 for 8 when
Garnham departed soon afterwards

The odds now seemed stacked against Kesgrave but Godward and Howard went for a number of
risky singles and this coupled with the odd boundary plus some wides gradually brought them closer
to the target of 156. Even so when Godward was out for 22 Kesgrave still needed 4 runs with 9 balls
left. Number 11 batsman Patel blocked the three balls he faced so 4 was still needed off the final over.
For some inexplicable reason the Clacton captain moved his mid off and from the first ball of the
last over Howard gleefully smashed a winning four through the vacated mid off position.

Kesgrave remained top of the table whilst Clacton slipped to 5th.

It's very hard to imagine that Essex played 60 first class matches here between 1931 and 1966
with the last game being against Leicestershire in 1966. Clacton themselves were members
of the East Anglian Premier League until they resigned at the end of the 2013 season.

The ground seemed to me to be a sorry state with overgrown nets and covers that had seen
better days The outfield wasn't the best and was bumpy and uneven. One redeeming
feature was a pleasant two storey pavilion. Not a ground I would want to watch cricket on
regular basis though.
 

Chris1963

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Saturday 17th July
Two Counties Cricket Championship Division 2 start 1230 45 overs a side
Clacton v Kesgrave at Clacton Recreation Ground Vista Rd Clacton
Scores Clacton 155 all out lost to Kesgrave 157 for 9 by 1 wicket
Admission free Attendance 10 at peak
It's very hard to imagine that Essex played 60 first class matches here between 1931 and 1966
with the last game being against Leicestershire in 1966.
Interesting, I didn't know that Essex had used Vista Road in Clacton for County Championship cricket. I've just had a look at it on Google Street View and there is a sign on the pavilion saying 'the home of Elmdon Rovers FC' which suggests that some hoppers will have ticked it for football.
 

Steve N

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Thursday 22nd July 11.30

Hartley Wintney v MCC

To mark the 250th anniversary of cricket being played at Hartley Wintney CC
 

norwich6

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Interesting, I didn't know that Essex had used Vista Road in Clacton for County Championship cricket. I've just had a look at it on Google Street View and there is a sign on the pavilion saying 'the home of Elmdon Rovers FC' which suggests that some hoppers will have ticked it for football.

I had previously visited Vista Rd for football as I saw Weeley beat Springfield 1-0 there in a
Essex Premier Cup match on 6th December 2003, attendance 12 programme issued.
Am not sure for how long Weeley played there, think they might have moved there temporarily
whilst the pavilion was being refurbished at Weeley but unsure on that.

On Saturday I noticed a pavilion that looked like it was disused in one corner with a sign that
said the 'home of Clacton Utd football club' who I had never heard of.
Probably the same pavilion as on google street view,
It was not possible to get near to the pavilion to look further as that area was fenced off as
building work was going on there.
 

norwich6

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Sunday 18th July
National Village Cup 1/4 final 40 overs a side 1300
Foxton v Stoke Green at Hardman Way Foxton
Foxton 192 for 8 lost to Stoke Green 196 for 5 by 5 wickets
Admission free Attendance in region of 250 at peak No paper

I had previously visited Foxton for cricket in August 2015 for a Village Cup semi final, on that day
Foxton had beaten Goatacre by 5 runs to reach the final where they lost to Woodhouse Grange.
However when offered a chance of a lift from Norwich for this 1/4 final match I jumped at the chance.
of a revisit.

On a swelteringly hot day in front of good crowd with supporters from both sides present Foxton
did well to total 192 for 8 with 53 from Alex Hooley and some late hitting from Alex Maynard 29 not out.
Three Stoke Green players each took two wickets.

When Stoke batted they lost the wicket of Odell with only 2 on the board. Some hard hitting by
opener Hussain who made 40 which included 2 x 4s and 4 huge sixes put Stoke Green on top, when he
was out Stoke quickly lost two more wickets and at 91 for 4 the game was in the balance.
But Saqlain Basharat who played the sheet anchor role to make 59 not out and Pavinder Bhachu 63 took them
to the brink of victory before Bhachu was stumped trying to hit the winning runs. Gagan Singh then
hit the winning four from the only ball he faced. Two Foxton players each took two wickets.

With the church in the background and a well kept playing surface and outfield Foxton is a really
pleasant place to watch cricket.

I have also been here football with Kent43 for a Cliff Bullen Challenge Cup match played on the 15th January
2011 when Great Shelford won 3-2 in front of an attendance of 50 or so. No programme was issued
that day and from memory all five goals came in the second half.
 

Chris1963

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Coincidentally (in view of the previous post) on Sunday 18th July I passed through Foxton by train on my way to another cricket match. In doing so, I was able to tick a third Minor Counties ground in 2021 alone when I visited Burwell & Exning CC (in Suffolk) for the Cambridgeshire v Cheshire game in the quarter-finals of the National Counties Knock-Out Trophy. This is another case of a match being played in the ‘wrong’ Minor County, as summarised by AndyE in his excellent post number 159 on this thread. Have Suffolk actually ever played a home game at this ground?

The ground, in Cotton End Road, Exning is around 50-55 minutes walk from Newmarket station (no buses on Sundays) so I had no problems in getting there in good time for the 11am start, despite having arrived back home around midnight from Bryn Rovers the day before.

The ground is certainly worth visiting because of its scenic location and the fact that there is plenty of shade provided by trees. There are also several fixed bench seats (with backs) around the playing area, which although spacious, does slope a little in one or two areas.

Scorecards were available for £1 from a table outside the pavilion and a perfect-bound yearbook was also on sale for £10 (free to members) although I only purchased the scorecard, which was of a design that could be folded into a four-page programme.

A good digital scorebox is located close to the pavilion, although the scorers were slow with updating it during the first innings and the umpires may well have had a word with them about this during the interval, as the speed improved somewhat during the second innings. The dressing-rooms seemed to be closed and the teams had been allocated a gazebo each to give them shade from the sun. It’s not clear where the Cheshire players would have got changed given the distance they had to travel, perhaps in a hotel? Catering may have been restricted to the burgers which were on sale in front of the pavilion, where cold drinks (both alcoholic and soft) could also be purchased.

Cheshire batted first and made a reasonable total of 247 when they were all out in the 49th over. However, as the Cambridgeshire innings progressed, it became increasingly clear that they were going to win fairly comfortably. This was especially apparent when they smashed five fours off the 42nd over, and the match ended with a six-hit that went through the open door of the groundsman’s shed. Cambridgeshire's victory was by four wickets off 43.5 overs at around 6.05 pm and I had no problems in walking back to the station in time for the 19.17 train to Cambridge.
 
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Cousse

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Also on Minor Counties Knock Out Cup duty on Sunday 18 July
Devon 253 all out (49.2) lost to Berkshire 256-5 (46.3) by 5 wickets
At Sidmouth Cricket Club
Admission free although a Sidmouth CC representative came round asking for donations
Scorecard £1 which was actually more like a programme as it was folded and had the game and date on the front

Lovely venue right on the seafront on a baking hot day with very little shelter available until late in the afternoon. A seesaw game which looked to be heading the way of the home side until Berks Andy Riston followed up his excellent bowling display of 9.2-4-18-3 with a thunderous unbeaten 57* 37b 2x6 6x4 to win it for the holders. Excellent contributions by Tom Scriven 72 & Euan Woods 75 contributed to the win after ex Kent & Somerset man Callum Haggett had made an excellent 87 for the home side.

The facility is shared with tennis courts and several croquet lawns and being right on the sea front must be worth a pretty penny but is owned by the townsfolk so should never be developed hopefully.

Berkshire travel to Wales in the semi final at a venue to be confirmed having already won at Newport in the group stage. Unfortunately I’ll miss the game as I’ll be on holiday in Lincolnshire but wish the lads all the best to hopefully get to the final at Wormsley in early September.
 

AndyE

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Coincidentally (in view of the previous post) on Sunday 18th July I passed through Foxton by train on my way to another cricket match. In doing so, I was able to tick a third Minor Counties ground in 2021 alone when I visited Burwell & Exning CC (in Suffolk) for the Cambridgeshire v Cheshire game in the quarter-finals of the National Counties Knock-Out Trophy. This is another case of a match being played in the ‘wrong’ Minor County, as summarised by AndyE in his excellent post number 159 on this thread. Have Suffolk actually ever played a home game at this ground?

Yes they have, although not recently.

The ground has never hosted a three day game; I'm not sure the wicket would be up to that. Suffolk last played a one day game there in 2002, allthough age group teams have played there more recently.

Burwell and Exning CC was formed in 2018 by a merger of the two clubs whose names will be apparent. The two villages lie about two miles apart on opposite sides of the Cambridgeshire / Suffolk border, and before the merger Exning did play as a Suffolk club. The Cambridgeshire pyramid includes clubs from Beds, Essex, Herts, Lincs, Northants, Suffolk, and formerly Rutland as well - but it never included Exning before the merger.

Even so, the merged club now identifes solely as a Cambridgeshire club, despite its primary home ground being in Suffolk.
 

Stoodley Pike

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Wednesday 21st July 2021
Rufforth versus Londesborough Park
Foss Evening League, Division Three (18 overs, 6pm start, away team bat first)
Londesborough Park 114-5 off 18 overs (0pts) lost by six wickets to Rufforth 115-4 off 17.1 overs (3pts)
Free admission, no programmes, no refreshments
Attendance 14 (h/c)


First and probably last dip this season into the Foss Evening League, almost done for another year. Decent game on a sunny, blissfully breezy evening. Rufforth, top of the six-team third tier, defeated third-placed opposition, from the Pocklington district, with five balls to spare.

Phil Charlton, in at No 4, hit 62 as the hosts' reply recovered from a hesitant start that saw three wickets tumble early on. No 5 Dan Gunnell finished 27 not out. A four clinched victory. Tom Sowerby (1-5) had the best bowling figures.

Opener and captain Joel Taylor (39) and No 3 James Beevers (28) featured in a useful stand for Londesborough Park's second wicket. No 6 Joseph Franklin hit 21. Impressive spinner Rob Hildreth finished with 3-11 from his allocation of four overs. Rufforth somehow managed to spill five catches.

Rufforth is a well-to-do linear village, not far west of York's outer ring road. Its sports ground, shared with York League Rufforth United's senior and junior football clubs and Rufforth Tennis Club, is adjacent to the B1224 (Wetherby Road), on the York side of the village. A sizeable, two-storey, red-brick clubhouse is available to all three sports. The cricket pitch, flat, large and circular (no space issues in the Vale of York), is positioned between the main football pitch (which has permanent dugouts) and the floodlit tennis courts. The footballers were training and the tennis courts busy. Trees, including seven poplars, in the southwest corner of the cricket facilities, provide plentiful shade.

Immediately to the south of the cricket pitch is Rufforth's operational airfield. Formerly RAF Rufforth, opened in 1942 as a purpose-built long-range bomber squadron base, it is home to York Gliding Centre. An aircraft features on the cricket club's badge. A short distance to the north is Harewood Whin waste transfer station, until 2019 a malodorous landfill site.
 
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mxhornet

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I do like watching cricket at Sprowston and hopefully can get there a couple of more times
before the season ends.
You are probably already aware but I noticed this fixture for August Bank Holiday Monday when there isn't much else on in the area.

 

Stoodley Pike

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Thursday 22nd July 2021
Burythorpe versus Westow
Ryedale Beckett League, Division One (12 eight-ball overs, 6.15pm start)
Burythorpe won the toss and elected to field
Westow 105-8 off 12 overs (0pts) lost by eight wickets to Burythorpe 106-2 off 9.5 overs (2pts)
Free admission, no programmes, no refreshments
Attendance 24 (h/c)


Lovely run out into the beautiful Yorkshire Wolds for a third-versus-first fixture in this league's top tier. Defeat saw Westow drop to second. Pickering, 125-run winners against bottom team Hovingham, replace them. Burythorpe are now just two points off the pace.

It's been a couple of decades since Burythorpe Cricket Club hosted weekend cricket. In common with one or two other Ryedale Beckett League clubs, they now play only midweek games. Most of the Burythorpe players have connections with the Dunnington and Stamford Bridge clubs.

Put in on another sunny if breezy evening, Westow slumped to 28-3. Alistair Fothergill (21) and Andy Phillips (18) added 33 for the fourth wicket. Useful runs near the end were contributed by Freddie Stephenson (18) and Matthew Shipley (17). Tom Backhouse took 4-16, Kieran Wall 2-30.

Burythorpe's reply was largely trouble-free. Westow assisted by dropping a couple of presentable catches. Three consecutive sixes in the ninth over sapped the visitors' morale. Opener Martin Woodliffe scored 58 (including two further sixes to his three on the trot), Harry Griffiths 24 not out. Jamie Smith had 1-14.

As with many Yorkshire Wolds villages, Burythorpe, a few miles south of Malton, is tucked away, beyond casual observance, in a sheltered location. The cricket club play on a sports ground at its north end. With low hills and rolling wheat fields visible to the east, it's a smashing ground. Feels like the middle of nowhere.

The pitch, a good size and in surprisingly immaculate condition, slopes down slightly from the west end. The pavilion, a glorified wooden hut, hunkered down beneath two grand oaks, is in the southeast corner. Mares and their foals were occupying the field beyond the northern boundary. A children's play area, a fairly recent addition at the west end, has reduced the length of the pitch. A line of trees at this end provides plentiful shade.

Noticeably chillier this evening than at Rufforth yesterday.
 

Hodders

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Finishing my crickethopping for the Summer tomorrow with:
Derbyshire & Cheshire Cricket League Division 2
Hollingworth v Hazel Grove
 

Cherryhopper

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This Sunday, weather permitting, hoping to attend the Dorset League T20 Cup Final - Chalke Valley v Sherborne - 2pm start. According to the Play-cricket sites, Chalke Valley are hosting the game at their Butts Field ground in Bowerchalke SP5 5AY, but the Dorset Cricket Board site lists Sherborne as the home team:confused:.

Winners are due to visit Bradley Stoke the following Sunday in the National Club T20 Plate.
 

Stoodley Pike

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With England's northern counties forecast to escape the stormy weather sweeping the south and the midlands, I'll head today for Bankfoot versus Birstall, a first-against-third promotion battle at Odsal Top in the Bradford Premier League's First Division. An early getaway tomorrow to reach Mottram (in Longdendale) in time for the 10am start of the Greater Manchester League's 20 Championship Finals Day.
 
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Stoodley Pike

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Saturday 24th July 2021
Bankfoot versus Birstall
Bradford Premier League, Division One (50 overs, 1pm start)
Bankfoot won the toss and elected to bat
Bankfoot 273-9 off 50 overs (20pts) beat by 160 runs Birstall 113 off 30.2 overs (4pts)
Free admission, no programmes
Attendance 25 (h/c)
Tea (in a styrofoam cup) £1


This comfortable Wickets Close victory over third-placed opposition moved second tier leaders Bankfoot a step closer to the Premier Division. The Odsal club missed out narrowly on promotion in 2019 and 2020 but are on course to go up at the third time of asking. I was told they have a clutch of talented first XI players reaching maturity simultaneously having come through Bankfoot's youth system.

James Lee (61) and Hisan Ahmad (54) justified Bankfoot's decision to bat on a cloudy afternoon by compiling a 104-run partnership for the first wicket. Birstall's best spell of the match reduced the hosts to 162-6 before a 73-run seventh-wicket stand between Jawad Waheed (51) and Usman Shahir (30) enabled Bankfoot to post a sizeable total. Brad Lay took 3-37, Juned Hasim Delair 3-45.

Birstall's reply soon hit trouble. They lost Josh Haynes to a ludicrous sixth-ball run out (a quick single? Really?) and found themselves 24-2 when fellow opener Eric Austin was bowled without offering a shot. Two of Birstall's star batters dismissed for a combined score of 13. Spinners Seif Hussain (4-44) and Andy Stothart (3-14) wreaked havoc. Lay (19) was Birstall's leading runmaker.

Another potentially close match that proved to be extremely one-sided. A poor attendance but this district of Bradford is peppered with cricket clubs. Plenty of options - including, along the Low Moor road, Premier Division Woodlands - for interested locals.

Bankfoot's Wickets Close ground is next to Odsal Stadium. Pre-match, I popped in (been a while since I watched anything there). With the stockcar/speedway track reinstated, it looks much smarter. When events are being staged at the stadium, Bankfoot's clubhouse bar does a roaring trade and they do very well from parking charges.

Without wishing to be unkind, I'd say Wickets Close is one of the least picturesque Bradford Premiier League grounds. It's why I've left it almost to the end. Just seven more to visit now to complete this four-division competition. I had been here before, a couple of decades ago, when West Bowling Amateur Rugby League Club staged National Conference League games at the site. After the bulk of amateur rugby league switched to a summer season, Wests were obliged to relocate. The former rugby league pitch, on which we parked, is parallel to and immediately south of the cricket square. According to a sign, Wibsey Juniors FC use it now. South Bradford Golf Club is beyond. The cricket pitch slopes downhill, fairly gently, from north to south.

Recently, Bankfoot have renovated their clubhouse tastefully and appointed a full-time steward, a woman. Neat and tidy, the clubhouse turns over six figures annually. The clubhouse and scorebox occupy the northwest corner, No doubt, the cricket club were thrilled to see the return to Odsal Stadium of rugby league and stock cars. Two of the stadium's massive floodlight pylons loom beyond the eastern boundary.

The best vantage point for cricket spectators is probably the north side, lined with forms. With a fresh breeze coming from the south, it was too chilly there this afternoon. We opted for a place beneath a hedge at the west end. Behind are back gardens. Several down-the-ground sixes ended up in them after clearing a tall catch fence and bouncing off roof tiles. Benches are painted in Bankfoot's dark blue and white colours. A nice touch.

Hot drinks and food were available. Apparently, Bankfoot are one of only four Bradford Premier League clubs offering such refreshments this season.
 
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Stoodley Pike

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Sunday 25th July 2021
Greater Manchester League 20 Championship Cup @ Mottram Cricket Club (from 10am)
Admission £2 (including eight-page programme)
Attendance 180 (h/c)
Tea (in a mug) 50p. Plate of finger buffet £2 (didn't sample)


A splendid - and very full - day's entertainment. After two fairly one-sided semi-finals, Golborne pipped, by four wickets with two balls to spare, Division One rivals Mottram in an exciting final. Mottram did a superb job of staging an occasion they secured the right to host after a draw of the four qualifiers.

An extremely tidy ground, adjacent to Broadbottom Road. A long, low clubhouse, by the entrance, occupies the north end. Mature trees fringe the south end and west side. We bagged a prime spot, alongside the nets, on the summit of of a grassy knoll in the southwest corner. It provided an elevated view of the action. Several of the friendly locals saluted us for perching on "Henman Hill". The Mound Stand, surely?

Always an enjoyable, scenic drive to this part of the world via Woodhead and Longdendale, with its chain of reservoirs. Some day, I'll get around to riding my bike along the former railway on the south - quiet - side of the valley.

First Semi-Final
Elton Rifles 116-9 off 20 overs lost by seven wickets to Golborne Giants 121-3 off 17 overs


A shock as Championship Elton, the highest ranked of the four qualifiers, bowed out at the first hurdle. Rifles never recovered from losing cheaply professional Asif Zakir (4) then slumping to 24-3. Brett Houghton claimed 3-28. Replying, Golborne were always in command. Ciaran Vesey struck an unbeaten 69.

Second Semi-Final
Red Star Mottram 187-4 off 20 overs beat by 100 runs Wythenshawe Lions 87 off 13.3 overs


Oliver Andrew hit 70 (off 48 balls) and Ryan Fitton 60 (off 39) as Mottram piled up a total well beyond the capabilities of Division 2B Wythenshawe. Sam Grant took 3-43. Salim Reza (21) top-scored for Lions. Daniel Brightmore (3-11) and Fitton (3-17) were Mottram's best bowlers.

Final
Red Star Mottram 171-7 off 20 overs lost by four wickets to Golborne Giants 175-6 off 19.4 overs


Jake Waterworth (39 not out) and Bailey Turnbull (25 not out) were Golborne's heroes. At 110-6, Giants looked to have missed their chance. But Waterworth and Turnbull featured in an unbroken seventh-wicket stand worth 65. Off the fourth ball of the final over, with the scores tied, Turnbull lofted a four over close fielders to clinch victory.

Hasnain Abbas contributed 32, Declan Mulvey 27 and Ciaran Vesey 26. Harry Moore finished with 3-35, Ryan Fitton 2-23. The hosts, who used six bowlers, lacked the strength in depth of the Golborne attack.

Earlier, Andrew Metcalfe (57 off 36 balls), Jordan Irons (39) and Stefan Fielding (35) helped Mottram post another decent total. Waterworth, who produced a fine, all-round display, took 4-28 (including three wickets in a single over, the 19th). Brett Houghton had 2-24.
 
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