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Weekend Review Pennine Cricket League
Monday 3rd July 2017 @ 13:06 by Mark Phillip

The last week in the Pennine League has seen yet more developments off the field, but there was action over the weekend as a series of Tom Hardman T20 matches took place on Friday evening followed by a full league programme on Saturday.  These games saw the half way point of the campaign, leaving the remaining fixtures to be fulfilled as it becomes increasingly likely that the PCL will then be consigned to the history books.

The T20 competition saw all three Tameside teams in action. Micklehurst visited Heyside.  The two sides went into the game having each lost their 3 previous ties so something had to give. Heyside totalled 189-6, which was a stiff challenge for Micklehurst.  Stuart Chamley’s team put up a pretty good showing with the skipper himself leading the way with 70, but they closed 20 short.  Stayley hosted Moorside who ran up 194-6 which was too many for the home team, who ended up on 123-9.  Ashton visited Glodwick, and in a fractious encounter saw the home team pile up 183-3.  Ashton had no answer and managed only 72 in reply.

A day later in the Premiership, it was more gloom for Stayley as they made the trip to Monton.  A poor effort left them with only 81, which would have been far worse were it not for a patient 42 form Dylan Mclachlan.  It proved to be no challenge whatsoever for Monton who romped home by 9 wickets taking only 11 overs to reach the target.  Elsewhere in the Premiership there was great delight in the local derby at Heyside where the home team destroyed Crompton by a massive 205 runs, dismissing the Lancashire League bound outfit for 52 having posted 257 themselves.  A similarly comprehensive win saw Norden overcome Rochdale by 9 wickets and Saddleworth’s poor campaign continued as they went down in a rain affected encounter at Glodwick.  Norden lead the way with Walsden in 2nd spot.

In the Championship it was yet more woe for both Micklehurst and Ashton.  It was always going to be a tough challenge for Micklehurst who visited table toppers Middleton. They totalled 131, thanks to Chamley again.  He followed up his fine knock in the T20 game a day earlier with 53 at Towncroft. An opening stand of 111 between pro Chris Williams and Harry Gee set Middleton on the way to an easy win.  Ashton went to Moorside and suffered at the hands of the home team’s upper order.  Siraj Kadodia picked up 3-71 for the Reyner Lane team, but a Moorside total of 241-7 was always going to be a mountain to climb for an Ashton team which has failed to show any real form with the bat this year.  And so it proved as they fell for 105.  Kadodia reached an unbeaten half century in the only bright spot for Ryan Heap’s side.

Off the field news emerged late last week that Crompton have been accepted into the Lancashire League in 2018, bringing the total of PCL teams moving into that competition to 7.  Locally Micklehurst announced that a Member’s meeting had determined that the Richmond Hill club would be making a formal application to join the GMCL next year.  So there is now very little doubt that the remaining 11 games of this campaign are effectively the dying embers of the Pennine League. This news is hardly unexpected given developments in recent months but is still hugely disappointing for those who have valued the tradition, legacy and competition brought by a league structure based around the Oldham; Rochdale and Tameside area.

The vagaries of the fixture list means that Micklehurst and Ashton are without a game this weekend.  Attention turns to the Cup and locally Stayley visit Norden in the Tanner Cup semi-final.  The other tie is between Friarmere and Heyside.  In the Wood Cup Crompton host Littleborough and Royton face Rochdale for the honour of competing in the last Wood Cup final, (certainly in its present format), which appropriately will be held at Middleton – the place where it all started back in 1921.

By Martin Frost