Weekend Review Pennine Cricket League
Monday 31st July 2017 @ 16:35 by Mark Phillip
Sports

After the break the previous weekend it was a return to PCL league action with the campaign only just over half way through.  The stop start nature of the schedule means that with 12 league games played prior to Saturday there are 10 fixtures to be fitted in prior to the end of the season in mid-September.  It has certainly been far from ideal, especially for those clubs who made an early exit from the cup competitions with four blank weekends to date.

Locally over the weekend Stayley were due to meet Saddleworth at Oxford Street, but ground conditions after Friday’s rain led to an abandonment.  Micklehurst and Ashton met at Richmond Hill, with the honours going to the home team.  Micklehurst ran up an impressive 271, largely thanks to a magnificent opening partnership of 161 between Jonny Forrester, (72), and Akil Greenidge, (79).  For Ashton skipper Ryan Heap toiled manfully and finished with 5-77.  It was a total which was always going to challenge an understrength Ashton team and so it proved, as they fell to 98ao.  The one bright spot for Heap’s team was a debut for 13 year old Tom Rayson, who has featured strongly in the Club’s junior teams this year, and he had the satisfaction of picking up a wicket on his first appearance at senior level.

Premiership

Walsden and Norden have been vying at the top of the table for some weeks, and both picked up wins at the weekend.  At Redbrook, in a game limited to 24 overs after a delayed start, Rochdale managed 122-5, with pro Henry Cooper, (60*), being the main contributor.  He now has over 800 runs in all competitions this year and averages 64. The Walsden reply got off to a bad start as they fell to 13-2, but thereafter Nick Barker, (46) and pro Umesh Karunaratne, (50*), guided the leaders to victory with nearly 3 overs to spare.  Austerlands visited Norden and a patient knock from Joe Molloy, (69*), who batted through the innings, enabled them to total 160.  The home side were not unduly troubled in their reply and won by 6 wickets with plenty of time to spare. So the top of the table remained unchanged.

In 3rd spot are Monton, but a fair distance behind the top two.  They beat Crompton convincingly after getting 215-7.  The Crompton reply was in reality a one-man effort as stalwart Simon Wright, who finished with 71, received little support.  His side folded for 124, and a defeat by 91 runs.  Elsewhere, there were wins for Greenfield over Glodwick and Littleborough who beat Heyside.  In the latter game Ryan Burl made a return for Littleborough, following a spell on duty for the Zimbabwe team in a series of one day internationals. He certainly brought some form back into the PCL and followed an innings of 88 with a bowling return of 6-43.  Austerlands and Saddleworth occupy the bottom two places in the table.

Championship

Middleton are at the top of the table with 12 wins in 13 games, (the other match being abandoned), and they continued on winning ways as they met Werneth at Towncroft. The main features of the Middleton total of 199 were from harry Gee, (61), and Grant Jones, (65).  This was far too many for Werneth who struggled to 69, with only pro Matty Taylor, (34), making any kind of impression.   It was similar tale at 2nd placed Royton where the home side totalled 205-7 and then dismissed Oldham for 68.  For Royton skipper James Maurice-Scott reached 119, and was assisted by pro Chirag Khurana, (44), who later picked up 4-15.

Uppermill have been in good form recently so their defeat at Hollinwood was somewhat of a surprise. Pro Ayaz Tasawar top scored with 102* in the Uppermill total of 167-9, and in doing so boosted his season’s tally to nearly 900 runs. In reply Hollinwood got home by 3 wickets with 11 balls to spare, Abid Fazil, (57*) being the key contributor.  Milnrow comprehensively beat Friarmere, and Moorside romped home against Shaw, reaching the target of 166 with nearly 18 overs to spare.

Tom Hardman T20 Competition

The quarter finals of the T20 competition were held on Sunday.  Littleborough visited Glodwick and piled up an impressive 189-1.  Burl, (43*), was again at the forefront and was aided by former pro Clinton Perren, (56), and Tom Pye, (51), plus a sizeable contribution of 39 from ‘extras’!  Rain disrupted proceedings and with Glodwick at 44-6 off 7 overs the tie went to Littleborough on run rate.  Up at Norden the tie with Uppermill was decided on a bowl out as rain precluded a Norden reply to Uppermill’s 129-8.  The honours went to Norden as they hit the stumps 3 time to Uppermill’s single strike.  It was much the same at Walsden where Moorside won a bowl out by 2-0.  In the 4th tie Rochdale repeated their Wood Cup semi-final victory over Royton, winning on run rate after Royton managed only 59.

Finals day is on Monday 28th August with the venue to be announced by the league shortly.

It is the very last Wood Cup Final this Sunday – certainly in its current format.  The Competition started in 1921 with the first winners being Middleton so it is fitting that the tie will be held at Towncroft.  The finalists are Rochdale and Crompton.  Rochdale have captured the trophy on 12 occasions, (including a glorious spell in the 1950’s when they won it 6 times in 8 years), and will clearly be looking depart for the Lancashire League on a high.  Crompton on the other hand have only tasted victory once, back in 1980, and will be looking to make it two Cup successes in 12 months following their Tanner Cup victory over Ashton 12 months ago.

By Martin Frost