Sunshine, no covers, no DLS, no rain – summer finally arrived this weekend and with good crowds and four teams turning out for the Mount it turned into a weekend of mixed fortune laced once again with frustration despite the great weather!
Firstly, Saturday’s third team match against Walsden proved to be a one-sided contest with Greenmount dismissing the opposition for just 65 and it was very positive to see an excellent all round display in the field from a young team.
Reading the recent reports from Ramsbottom’s Mick Everett about a vanishing generation of people wanting to play cricket, I can certainly substantiate that feeling but it is at least offering more experience opportunities to our Under-18 group.
Pick of the bowlers was Ed Dickinson with 3-15, while Ewan Malone also picked up two wickets. The response was brief and entertaining including some of the antics from Walsden’s opening bowler who continually beseeched Wes Young to ‘scoop it’ – Wes’s response was a dazzling array of edges and scorchers to reach an unbeaten 39 as the Walsden total was swiftly overhauled.
On to sizzling Sunday and a return encounter for the first team with Church to whom we had lost in rain affected circumstances in the cup.
Batting first was another disappointing show where our batting line up all managed to get in – and then out – without kicking on and the regular loss of wickets produced a stuttering innings.
Fortunately Callum Hunter with 38 not out, supported by Matthew Senior, ensured that some form of respectability was reached. Earlier Evan Williams (26), Travis Townsend (31), Jacques Snyman and Dan Stevens with 18 apiece all looked set to score heavily but sub pro Neil Hornbuckle had other ideas bagging 5-46.
Similar to last week, the Greenmount bowling worked hard to defend a total that was lighter than we would want or expect and although they were in the contest, a fine knock of 68 from Hornbuckle ensured back to back losses for Travis’s men.
It is still very much early season and only three league matches out of six have actually been played, but recent performances demonstrate that we need to play better and more savvy cricket to make an impact on the top slots. There is no doubting the ability in the group, we move on to the next match with focus on where we need to improve.
Meantime, the second team narrowly lost a thrilling home encounter also against Church.
Batting first there were fine half centuries for Jake Chadwick, (54) and Nigel Franklin (55) before an excellent show from our indoor cricket representative trio Ed Dickinson, Eduardo Wackrill and Rupert Hallows.
Wackrill continued to show his promise with the bat with an entertaining unbeaten 35 from just 20 balls and two sixes. It looked as if Church were cruising but 13-year-old spinner Noah Birtwistle bowled Smith for a run a ball 91 before a collapse led to Church needing 20 from the last three overs with just two wickets left.
They made it thanks to some good experienced lower order play but the young lads should be proud of their efforts in pushing an older more experienced team all the way. Captain Ollie Dixon took 2-38 and there were also two wickets apiece for Adam Clarke and Noah Birtwistle.
Finally the fourth team had a development match with Haslingden which proved to be a very entertaining encounter.
Despite reaching 116-0, Haslingden were hauled back to 162-5 with Ewan Malone once again delivering with the ball, his 3-21 was the pick of the attack. Also there were notable performances from Ben Clarke and George Kenyon who bowled tightly for no reward.
The Greenmount reply was headlined by a well paced and very mature knock from 15-year-old Tom Clarke who carried his bat through to the end with an unbeaten 70.
He was well supported by brother Ben who compiled a sensible 20 before being run out with an excellent direct hit. Jay Ahmed hit an entertaining 28 before being brilliantly caught at cover and Ewan Malone provided good support with 12 before Mitch Franklin came in to help Tom see it through with three overs to spare to make it successive wins for skipper Dave Mason..
So a weekend of mixed fortunes – some excellent performances from our young players but we need the first team to kick start their season.
Lots to play for this week – Under 15 Junior Cup Final at home on Thursday v Clitheroe, Friday Night T20 against Todmorden, on Sunday the first team are at home to Great Harwood and on Monday the Lancashire Junior Inter league under 11s are hosted at the Mount against the NWCL inter league team. Get down and support your local teams!