Weekend Review Pennine Cricket League
Monday 19th June 2017 15:49 Sports Posted by Mark Phillip

There was double header action in the Pennine Cricket league over the weekend, following the break for cup competitions seven days earlier.  Overall it wasn’t a good weekend for local Tameside teams with 5 of the 6 games ending in defeat.  Ashton and Micklehurst lost both of their games and remain at the foot of the Championship.  Stayley went down to Littleborough on Saturday, but came back with a vengeance on Sunday as they trounced Greenfield..

On a day ideally suited to cricket, and where runs were plentiful virtually everywhere Stayley’s trip to Hare Hill, Littleborough was a low scoring affair.  Only Clinton Perren, once professional at Littleborough, managed to break the 20 mark, out of all 22 players on view.  It was his innings of 57 which was the difference between the teams.  His contribution enable the home team to crawl to 107, taking over 42 overs to get there.  Paid man Hamza Nadeem starred for Stayley, putting together a haul of 7-29, but went on to better that the next day.  Nadeem now has 46 wickets at an average of 9 this campaign and has been integral to Stayley settling in well to Premiership cricket.  At Hare Hill the Oxford Street team were probably hopeful of picking up the points, but with wickets falling regularly and no one really settling in the dye was really cast as they fell to 47-7. There was to be no recovery and Stayley eventually subsided for 65, and defeat by 42 runs.

The following day Greenfield visited Oxford Street and Stayley set them 192 for victory.  In the Styley knock it wasd a sound all round performance with 7 men reaching double figures.  Brad Woolley picked up his first 5 wicket haul since moving from Ashton to Greenfield, finishing with 5-40.  The Greenfield reply simply had no answer to Nadeem.  It lasted 20 overs with Nadeem routing the visitors for 57 and picking up 8-24, and in the process making it 15 -53 off 24 overs over the weekend.  Stayley now lie 6th in the table and will look forward to Saturday’s home Tanner Cup quarter final with Hollinwood with a fair degree of confidence.

In the Championship it was a grim weekend for both Ashton and Micklehurst.  Ashton were hoping that the arrival of pro Chami Edirisinghe, following issues with Home Office paperwork, would kick start their season.  Visiting The Pollards, Oldham, on Saturday  they reduced the home team to 43-4.  Skipper Ryan Heap put in a fine spell and finished with 5-39.  But as in previous games, having gained an advantage, Ashton let things slip and  the last four Oldham wickets were allowed to double the score, as they finished on 162.  The Ashton reply started well, but a flurry of wickets put them on the back foot.  Only Siraj Kadodia with an unbeaten 38 showed the application required as Ashton fell for 110 – a really disappointing outcome for the Reyner Lane team.

It was no better the following day as second placed Royton brushed them aside.  Ashton fell for 50, and Royton were on the road back up the A627 with maximum points after an early finish.

Micklehurst, struggling just a place above Ashton, went to Moorside, and spent a hot afternoon at the mercy of the home batsmen.  Home pro Gerry Snyman took Stuart Chamley’s side to task, with an unbeaten 172.  His knock included 138 in boundaries including 9 maximums and came off just 122 balls.   His 5th wicket partnership with Danny Anchor, (52), added 169.  A target which required scoring at nearly 7.5 an over was a mountain for Micklehurst to climb, and the loss of 3 wickets for 29 did not help.  Micklehurst closed at 150, and defeat by 218 runs, with keeper Tim Wood contributing a useful 46.  A return to home on Sunday saw Hollinwood visiting Richmond Hill.  The visitors notched 229.  Chamley put in a fine spell for Micklehurst, and finished with 5-49.  The reply saw 6 batsmen get into double figures, but sadly no-one managed to push on from there to build the innings of substance that would have given Micklehurst a chance of the points. They closed on 161 all out. Youngster Tom White top scored with 26, showing once again the huge promise that he displays.

Indeed for both Micklehurst and Ashton, in a season which has been hugely disappointing at a senior level, there are signs that investment in junior cricket is bearing fruit.  Reporter Sport recently featured White’s performances at senior level.  At just 13 he took a century off Uppermill in  a recent game, and has been rewarded with a promotion to 1st team level and is clearly not out of place.  Over at Reyner Lane officials have high hopes that Tom Rayson will follow in Brad Woolley’s footsteps.  Woolley of course learned his cricket at Reyner Lane and prior to being enticed to Greenfield this year had already taken 120 senior wickets by the age of 18 as well as forcing his way into the Lancashire hierarchy.  He made his County 2nd XI debut last month.  Rayson, is captain of the Tameside U13 team, and is certainly making his mark at Reyner Lane.  On Sunday, turning out for the Club’s U13 team against Rochdale he followed up a great spell of 5-10 with a top score of 32, and in doing so almost got the win for an under strength team.  He is also a regular in the Club’s 2nd XI

Developing youngsters is unquestionably the role of a cricket club.  It can seem that far too much emphasis is placed purely on the senior teams.  It is vital that facilities are made available to maximise the opportunities for involvement in the game and introduce youngsters.  Hopefully for both Micklehurst and Ashton their efforts in providing these opportunities will be rewarded in the longer term … and also that having put the effort in they do not then see players poached by the “bigger” clubs.

Elsewhere in the PCL Norden maintained their Premiership top spot with victories over Monton and Saddleworth.  Josh Tolley, having moved to Norden from Crompton this year had a golden weekend, with a century in both games.  Last years runners up Saddleworth continue to struggle.  Defeats at the hands of Crompton and Norden has left them rooted at the foot of the table.

News emerged last week that Milnrow have joined the exodus to the Lancashire League, making it 6 PCL clubs that have decided to move on.  Reporter Sport understands that Crompton had also made an application, but have been excluded because their Glebe Street ground falls outside the ‘footprint’ for the Lancashire League.  With applications to join the GMCL already having been accepted from Shaw; Heyside; Greenfield; Moorside and Royton plus others the future of the PCL looks bleak.  As things become clearer Reporter Sport will not only be looking in more detail at how a league that is only a year old is on the verge of disappearing but will also consider why this has happened and the role of the Lancashire Cricket Board … something which has come in for a fair degree of criticism.