Stalybridge CC 1st XI vs Birch Vale & Thornsett CC 1st XI

Depleted Stalybridge team right royally beaten by Birch Vale.

On the back of a double header last weekend, where the 1sts continued their unbeaten run in the league on Saturday, beating Dove Holes 2s by six wickets at their place, after bowling the hosts our for 59, then only to be soundly trounced by a strong 1st Division Woodley side in the 2nd round of the Bissenden Cup by 171 runs, the following day, today could have gone either way, given the depleted nature of the squad when I arrived at the ground, with a number of key players missing, to the point of bringing Club President Paul Whitworth out of retirement.

Captain Mike Whitworth was in a Jubilee jubilant mood winning the toss, and put the visitors into bat, and everything seemed to be going to plan up until to the ninth over, when Muddy Bashir picking up a couple of wickets, and James Brady picking a pair also, before Bashir tripped on his follow-through, injuring his knee mid-way through his 4th over, his only consolation is the ball was subsequently caught by Gary Sandiford at Extra-Cover (admittedly two balls before Brady’s 2nd wicket, at the start of the 9th, but cut me some artistic license).

With Bashir unable to continue his bowling, the visitors sensed blood in the water and started to build runs on the board, with David Platt and Steve Burns  putting on a 43 run partnership before Burns was given LBW in the 19th over to net Gary Sandiford his first of his five wicket haul, but dismissing Burns brought Ash Barrett to the crease, and his partnerships with Philip Trueman (16), Adam Robinson (12) and Naman Jawaid (10), netted him 69 runs out of the combined 93 earned while he was at the crease, taking the visitors to an unexpected 186/9, the final wicket of Jawaid saw the visitors just 1 run short of 200, and maximum batting points.

After the interval, losing opener Rob Mallet in the 4th over with 8 runs on the board, wasn’t part of the plan, but with the dismissal of Captain Mike, at the start of the 8th over, to Philip Trueman definitely soured his mood, which deepened even further when Trueman picked up the scalps of Saad Jelani and Gary Sandiford in the next two deliveries giving him his hat-trick.

Golden DuckGolden Duck

Gary apparently shared Mike’s ill mood as evident by launching his helmet at  my score-hut following his dismissal.

With the hosts now 16/4, Birch began to turn the screw further with some very economical bowling, Trueman doing 10 overs finishing five maidens, 4-11, Ash Barrett (4-23) who had punished Stalybridge batting, proceeded to take the next four wickets seeing taking the score to 55-8, with defeat on the cards, Bashir attempted to return to the crease with Gary Sandiford as his runner, but just 8 balls into his innings, he collapsed in a heap after striking a four past the bowler and was unable to continue, get well soon matey, hope it’s nothing too serious.

Much to his (comical) disgust, Paul Whitworth’s return from retirement, and Stalybridge’s innings ended just 12 minutes later with 3 runs to his credit, after being run-out by his opposite partner Ash Wardhaugh (2), to see the hosts lose their first game of the League campaign by 131 runs.

Next week, the firsts will have to lick their collective wounds, when they make the 40 minute or so trek to Macclesfield, where they face Pott Shrigley who dismissed Chapel-en-le-Frith for just 50 runs and chased the total for the loss of just two wickets this afternoon.

Final result and score-card: Birch Vale & Thornsett CC 1st win by 131 runs.

Stalybridge CC 1st XI vs Whaley Bridge CC 1st XI

Stalybridge 1s chase low scoring Whaley to go top of Division 2.

As mentioned in last week’s report, today’s opponents were league leaders Whaley Bridge, who like Stalybridge had won their previous matches so far prior to today’s fixture, so when Stalybridge’s Captain Mike Whitworth won the toss, it was surprising to see him put them into bat, their opening pair of Wicket-keeper Luke Schofield and Captain Henry Holden putting on decent runs  in each of their previous innings, though perhaps it was the threat of rain (that thankfully didn’t happen) that prompted the decision.

However my trepidation was ill-founded when James Brady‘s 3rd delivery in the first over caught the Whaley Captain LBW for a Golden Duck, and the visitors just 2-1.

His replacement Jake Higginbotham managed to contribute 19 runs to a 32 run partnership with Schofield, before being the first of Mike Whitworth’s three “caught behind” wickets, the first in the 11th over off Brady, the second in the next to dismiss Ivan Heathcote for 1 off Madussar Bashir; the visitors now 35-3.

After 70 minutes at the crease, opener Schofield was just 4 balls behind Dale Jones‘ (4) dismissal; Whitworth’s 3rd catch of the day and Brady’s (3-24) 3rd wicket, with Luke being caught on 20 by Rob Mallett in Jacob Dooley‘s initial delivery of the 18th over.

Stalybridge CC vs Whaley Bridge CC 1st XI - 21/05/2022
Stalybridge CC 1st XI vs Whaley Bridge CC 1st XI – Div 2 – 21st May 2022

The 20th over saw two wickets fall, the first, a catch by Rick Wright off Dooley for his second (2-11) to send Daniel Morten back to the pavilion after 5 minutes and the last ball of the over saw Bashir run-out Al Wightman (0) above, with a direct hit with very little to aim at to see league-leaders seven down with just 47 runs to their name.

The final 3 wickets would hang on for another 7 ½ overs, with Muddy picking up another two to finish 3-17 and Jamie Brownhill (1-15) picking up the other wicket of late insertion to the Whaley squad, Michael Madden (12) to give an all-out score of 68.

With a low run-chase on the cards, the winning opening pair from last week’s Buxworth fixture of Rick Wright and Rob Mallett put on a 23 run partnership before Wright was caught for 12 from an incredible catch from Dale Jones‘ own delivery, taking it out of the air on his follow-through, two balls later saw him dismiss Wright’s replacement, Jordan Sherwin (0), caught behind.

But it was the 27 run partnerships of Mallett and Whitworth, and after Mallet’s dismissal in the 15th over for 24 for Dale Jones’ and Whaley’s 3rd and final wicket, a 19 run partnership of Whitworth (23*) and Mike Hatton (7*), that finally saw off the visitors, with the winning run an anti-climactic leg-bye at the end of the 19th over after Whaley managed to peg Stalybridge on a tied score for 11 deliveries to finally see Stalybridge victorious.

Next Saturday, the 1sts try to extend their winning run to six games, when we have a long drive up to Dove Holes, to face their 2nd XI squad, who are currently having a torrid time, with 4 league losses out of 4. with only their Hawke Trophy game against Pott Shrigley in the W column.

Final result and scorecard: Stalybridge win by 7 wickets.