England international Samit Patel starred with both bat and ball as the first team sank to a first league defeat of the season on Sunday.
After skipper Ryan Senior won the toss and opted to bat, and with normal openers Andy Kerr and Evan Williams both injured, the new opening partnership of Jack Harrison and professional Chesney Hughes soon set about the Haslingden attack and had 70 on the board inside seven overs.
Alas, with a big score looming, Hughes was caught out on the boundary for a run-a-ball 21, soon to be followed by last week’s MOTM Tom Heaton.
When Harrison fell for 61 from 48 balls, the innings completely changed with Gary Sudworth, Samit Patel and Sean Hunsley all taking wickets regularly and giving very little away.
Only wicketkeeper Mattie Donnelly with 20 and Lewis Dove with an assured 33 really troubled the Haslingden trio as the firslts were eventually all out for 165 with just under ten overs left.
Callum Hunter took an early wicket which brought in Samit Patel to join the evergreen Graham Knowles and they took the score to 94 before Knowles departed for a well-crafted 43.
Patel was eventually snared out by Matthew Senior, on his Lancashire League debut, for 56 from 54 balls and Conor Reed and Alex Coleman took Haslingden to victory with 18 overs left and left the first team ruing some poor shot selection in the first innings.
The seconds also came unstuck when they travelled to Middleton. Middleton won the toss and batted, scoring 220 for 6 from their 45 overs, built around Flynn Buckley’s 51 not out.
Max Birtwistle was the pick of the bowlers with 1 for 23 from 5 overs. The loss of three early wickets immediately put the seconds on the back foot but while Andy Bowker and Dave Willetts were around they always had a chance.
Dave, alas, fell for 34 with the score on 103 and when Bowks was trapped lbw for 61 from 72 balls the end was nigh, with the seconds finally falling for 181 with eight overs left.
The weekend’s stars were the thirds. They travelled to Rishton and won by 33 runs. Shining with the bat were the evergreen Nigel Franklin with 72 off 104 balls and Danny Creer with 50 off 54 balls, while the bowling honours went to Stuart Leach with 4 for 9 off 8 overs and Max Birtwistle with 1 for 11 off 5.
Our fourth team also played a friendly at Norden on Saturday. Unfortunately their score of 146 for 6 off 40 overs wasn’t quite big enough and Norden won by six wickets but Harry Fines (27 off 73 balls), Henry Dickinson (31 off 37 balls) and Tan Ahmed (37 not out off 43 balls) all batted well. All the bowlers got a number of overs under their belts including George Ince who got his first senior wicket in his five overs.
Week Four sees a first and second team double header, playing Rawtenstall on the Saturday in the League and Darwen in the Cup on the Sunday. The firsts travel on both days so the seconds will be providing the entertainment at the Log Cabin. Let’s hope both teams can return to winning ways and that the rain stays away!