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Weekend Review Pennine Cricket League
Monday 5th June 2017 @ 11:50 by Mark Phillip

There was a return to League action last Saturday, after the break for the first round of the JW Lees Wood Cup the previous weekend.  But prior to that Friday night saw the second stage of the Tom Hardman T20 competition.

Locally it was a fruitless evening with all three teams on the wrong end of the results.  Stayley, having beaten Heyside in the first game, travelled to Monton, but failed to test the home team.  A total of 80 was never likely to trouble Monton and so it proved as they coasted home by 9 wickets, taking only 11 overs to complete the task.  It was a similar tale at Moorside where Micklehurst, in a game shortened to 15 overs due to rain, managed 106-5.  Akil Greenidge with an unbeaten 39 was the main contributor.  Moorside took only 9 overs to reach the target, losing only the single wicket in the process.  In another rain shortened game at Royton, Ashton managed 100-4 in 16 overs, with Elliott Blewitt unbeaten on 40.  A target of 101 proved no problem for Royton, with pro Chirag Khurana leading the way with 59.  Khurana has been in prime form this season as Micklehurst were to find out 24 hours later.  The competition now takes a break until June 23rd.  Stayley will still entertain hopes of progressing to the knock out stage but both Ashton and Micklehurst, with two defeats already, will struggle.

It was back to league action the following day.  Royton were the visitors to Richmond Hill and put Micklehurst to the sword.  The Paddock team ran up 368-6 courtesy of centuries from James Maurice-Scott, (116) and Khurana, (121).  The Royton paid man now has 573 runs in league games at an average of 115, to add to a return of 19 wickets. Faced with a mountain to climb Micklehurst subsided to 90 all out, and defeat by 278 runs.

Over at Reyner Lane Ashton were looking for their first win of the campaign. They posted 103, well below par, but made visitors Shaw fight for the win.   A good spell from Blewitt, (3-26), gave Ashton hopes of taking the points as they reduced Shaw to 76-6, but they were unable to make the crucial breakthrough as the visitors ground their way to a 4 wicket victory.

In the Premiership Stayley faced a Heyside team who they had met, and beaten, in the T20 competition 5 days previously.  The Oxford Street team repeated the triumph.  After dismissing the visitors for 161 they made short work of the target, taking only 31 overs, with the margin of victory being 4 wickets.  Elsewhere the surprise result of the day was at Austerlands, where the home team which has struggled so far this year convincingly overcame Crompton.

Attention now turns to the Tanner Cup on Saturday. Ashton face a huge task, having to travel to Premiership leaders Norden, whilst Micklehurst go to Milnrow.  The two sides met on the opening day of the season when Milnrow came out on top.  Stayley travel to Uppermill and on paper are favourites.  They will however have to be wary of Uppermill pro Ayaz Tasawar.  In a productive season so far the Pakistani has 500 runs, and is averaging 100, having put together 2 hundreds and 3 half centuries in his 6 innings.

The future of the Pennine League is still under discussion. After news of the loss of 5 clubs to the Lancashire League and a number of other Clubs indicating that they will be seeking membership of the Greater Manchester league, rumours have been circulating that two other Clubs, which had previously committed themselves to the PCL, may now be looking to the Lancashire League.  In this context the future of the PCL looks bleak.  Reporter Sport will bring news of any developments as and when they emerge.

By Martin Frost