Weekend Review Pennine Cricket League
Monday 17th July 2017 16:20 Sports Posted by Mark Phillip

Following the previous week’s blank schedule it was a return to PCL action over the weekend with ‘double headers’ for all Clubs.   Sadly the vagaries of the fixture list mean that it is yet again a vacant weekend coming up.  Days set aside for the 2nd team cup competitions mean that 20 out of the 24 clubs will be idle – far from ideal at the height of the summer, and more than strange when nearly 25% of the league schedule ends up being squeezed into 16 days in September.

Premiership

Locally Stayley’s hopes of getting revenge on Saturday for their Tanner Cup exit at the hands of Norden the previous week were thwarted by the weather, with no play possible.  The following day they faced a Rochdale team who had suffered a chastening defeat at the hands of bottom of the table Saddleworth 24 hours earlier. Stayley posted 158-7, but with 5 batsmen getting into the 20’s but being unable to take it on from there, it was probably below par on the Oxford Street ground. And so it proved, but Peter Skuse’s team made the visitors fight hard for the win.  Pro Henry Cooper’s 66, aided by ben Chapman, was the key feature – Cooper now has nearly 800 runs this campaign.  Rochdale eventually got home by 3 wickets with just over 3 overs to spare.

The defeat leaves Stayley in 8th place, ahead of the enforced break, and prior to their next action which sees them at home to Saddleworth on 29th July.

Elsewhere in the Premiership Norden’s hold at the top was loosened.  The rained off game against Stayley certainly didn’t help but in a top of the table clash with Walsden on Sunday the Villagers took the points and with them the top spot.  A total of 148 at Scott Street is rarely competitive, but Norden would have been hopeful as Walsden slipped to 1-2.  That was as good as it got for Norden who fell to defeat by 5 wickets.

It was a simply magnificent all round performance for Glodwick paid man Rahen Rafique in the encounter with an underachieving Littleborough.  His 82, (aided by 59 from Shahid Mahmood), enabled Glodwick to total 224.  He then simply blew the Hare Hill outfit aside finishing with 6-7 off 8 overs.

With 10 games left the title looks to be a battle between Walsden and Norden although Rochdale will be hopeful of playing a part as well.

Championship

Ashton’s long wait for a first victory of the season came to an end at a damp Hollinwood on Saturday afternoon.  The home side had little answer to the Reyner Lane professional, Chami Edirisinghe.  Coming into the attack with the home side already 3 down he took 6-11 to dismiss them for 54.  Even for a fragile Ashton batting line up this proved no problem, and they won by 8 wickets.

It was a tougher challenge 24 hours later as leaders Middleton came to Reyner Lane.  Ashton must have thought they were in the game as they reduced the Moonrakers to   109-5, but a great 6th wicket partnership left them totalling 198-9.  Edirisinghe picked up 4-41, giving him a 10 wicket weekend.  In reply it was Matty Hewitt, making his first appearance for a couple of years who gave a lesson in application and shot selection to his team mates. Reyner Lane officials will be hoping that he will be available more frequently.  Hewitt played a patient innings of 40, but received little support, as Ashton subsided to 107 all out.

It was another dismal weekend for Micklehurst, going down by 90 runs to Friarmere on Saturday, before making the trip to Milnrow the following day.  A Milnrow total of 219-8, (Michael Blomeley 4-51) was always going to test Micklehurst and so it proved.  The Richmond Hill team barely threatened, and managed only 88, and leaving 22 overs unused.

Elsewhere in the Championship Royton picked up two wins and lie second, albeit 10 points adrift of Middleton.  Realistically the title lies between the two with 3rd and 4th placed Moorside and Uppermill some 20 points adrift.

Tom Hardman T20 Competition.

The final stages of the Group matches took place last Friday, and the quarter final qualifiers are now known.  Locally none of our three teams have qualified.  Stayley picked up the bragging rights over Micklehurst with a 34 run win, despite an impressive 80 from Akil Greenidge.  Ashton went down at Crompton, but put up a decent show falling by only 11 when chasing 161.  There were half centuries for Edirisinghe and Subhair Khan, on his first appearance of the year.

The quarter finalists are Norden; Moorside; Glodwick; Royton; Walsden; Littleborough; Rochdale and Uppermill.  Ties will be played on Sunday 30th July.

By Martin Frost