Junior League Secrestary's Report Season 1991
The Junior Division of the Northern League was not divided into two zones as was the case in previous seasons, but again unfortunately St Annes, Lancaster and Kendal were unable to take part.
Each competing team had to play eight preliminary games leading up to the final and some splendid performances were recorded with both bat and ball.
The most outstanding club side of the year was without doubt Netherfield and it was no suprise when they qualified for the final by topping the Youth Division.
Their opponents were Blackpool, the 1990 winners, and a very large crowd at Parkside Road , settled down to watch the dual in the sun.
Batting first, Blackpool never looked comfortable against the Netherfield attack, and although Stephen Knapman grafted hard in an attempt to establish a foot hold, first teamer Michael Clinning was sorely missed and Jonathan Elleray (8 - 2 - 16 - 2), Philip Birch (6 - 0 - 15 - 3) and Marc Hadwin (8 - 1 - 19 - 3) bowled the homeside into a very strong position at tea.
The Blackpool score of 94 all out was always going to be at least 60 runs short, and mature innings by Craig Walmsley (40 not out), Simon Little (35) and 17 not out from "Man of the Match" skipper Philip Birch saw Netherfield home by nine wickets.
Netherfield Cricket Club are to be congratulated for their splendid hospitality on a day that did great credit to the Northern League and its more talented young players.
Roll on 1992
Assistant Secretary (Juniors)
The Theakston Bitter Northern Cricket League
Under 18 Representative Team Report Season 1991
In my report on the 1990 season, I closed by predicting a successful season in 1991 in both the Manchester Evening News and the North West Colts Inter-League Competitions.
I suppose it can be said that we were successful in reaching the final in one and the semi-final of the other, but judging by our usual high standards 1991 was a bit of a disappointment.
There is no disputing the fact that the young Northern League players are the envy of all the other leagues and when they are all available for selection, they form the most formidable outfit.
The Inter-League season began on a dull Sunday in May at Norweb's ground in Northenden.
The opposition was the South Lancashire League, and the competition, the North West Colts Trophy.
Several of our first choice players were not available for selection for this game but nevertheless the team that made the trip was a strong one and we were quitely confident.
On winning the toss stand in skipper Matthew Parkinson (Lancaster) invited the opposition to bat first on a dry but somewhat strange looking wicket.
An opening stand of 62 had the visitors wondering whether this had been the right decision but the bowlers stuck to their guns and bowled tightly making run scoring a difficult business.
Matthew Parkinson (Lancaster) 2 for 23, Richard Chew (Blackpool) 2 for 20 and Michael Clinning (Blackpool) 4 for 14 ensured that the Northern League had only a modest total to overhaul, and after a somewhat shaky start, Michael Clinning 58 not out and Neil Calderbank (Preston) 33 not out came together and saw the score past the 108 required with an excellent unbroken third wicket stand of 88.
The first round of the Manchester Evening News Competition saw the Northern League drawn once again against the Bolton League,who, if anything were even stronger than in 1990, on paper anyway.
Stanley Park was again the venue and newly appointed captain Gavin Moffat (Lancaster) performed his first official task with perfection by winning what proved to be a very important toss toss.
The opposition were duly inserted and but for a dogged innings of 91 from John Ratledge and a late order flourish from Warren and Ingram the resulting total of 192 for 9 wickets would have been considerably less.
In fact when Ratledge was in the teens everyone on the ground except the umpire and John Ratledge were convinced he'd been caught behind.
Then the cat would have been amongst the pigeons.
After an excellent tea, the Northern League set about their task with relish, and although Michael Clinning for once failed by his own high standards, debut boy Neil Kershaw (Chorley) 46, Gavin Moffat 29 and again Neil Calderbank 54 not out plus a sparkling 27 not out from Philip Birch saw us to 193for 5 wickets, using up only 42 of the permitted 48 overs.
Although at the end of the day it appeared that this was an easy win, make no mistake about it, the Bolton League was crammed full with star players who had nearly all reresented the county at one time or another.
In fact one of our valued supporters enquired whether the Boltonians had purchased a job lot of Lancashire sweaters.
The 23rd of June saw us back on the quest for the North West Colts Trophy, the Northern League played host to the much fancied Cheshire League on a damp, miserable day at the Leyland DAF ground and the third skipper in as many games, Michael Clinning, won the toss and invited the visitors to bat.
The home bowlers set about their task with great urgency, well aware of the black clouds overhead threatening rain at any minute, and in no time the Cheshire team were virtually down and out with a score that read 25 for 5.
A mini revival took the score to 59 but it wasn't very long before the visitors were back in the pavilion for the rather paltry total score of 73.
Nick Beenham (Fleetwood) 6 - 2 - 8 - 1, Gareth Cordingley (Darwen) 9 - 5 - 7 - 1, Marc Hadwin (Netherfield) 9 - 3 - 14 - 3, Craig Walmsley (Netherfield) 7 - 2 - 23 - 3, Michael Clinning 6 - 3 - 5 - 2 and Alex Laird (Fleetwood) 6 - 1 - 11 - 0 all deserve mention for bowling extremely economically and accurately.
The Northerm League started rather shakily, Neil Kershaw and Gareth Cordingley going cheaply but Michael Clinning 29 not out and Neil Calderbank 35 not out saw us easily home with an unbeaten 61 stand..
This convincing victory put us in high spirits and we approached the next game in the Manchester Evening News Semi-Final full of confidence.
This time the opposition were old enemies, The Bolton Association and we were again at home, on this occasion "home" being Chorley Cricket Club,
The Northern League took first strike on an excellent strip and although three of the first five batsmen were out for ducks, a second wicket stand of 128 by Michael Clinning and captain Gavin Moffat formed a solid foundation for the later batsmen to build on.
Clinning's 108 was the first century ever scored by a Northern League player in a representative game and a fine century it was.
Moffat 50, Matthew Parkinson 26, Richard Chew (Blackpool) 30, and 33 not out by Fleetwood's Andrew Cooper piled on the agony and the Association were faced with a task of scoring nearly six runs an over to win.
Richard Chew 3 for 43, Marc Hadwin 2 for 26 and Gavin Moffat 2 for 5 ensured that this did not happen and the Northern League ran out easy winners, the Bolton team falling a massive 106 runs short, being bowled out for 155 in 43 overs.
Match 5, again in the North West Colts Trophy, took place at Lancaster Cricket Club against the Lancashire and Cheshire League.
The home team battered first after winning the toss and Michael Clinning set about proving that his century at Chorley was no flash in the pan, scoring 147 not out in better than even time.
Excellent support by Craig Walmsley 29, Gareth Cordingley 35 and 45 not out from Gavin Moffat saw the score as at Chorley, to 261, this time for only 2 wickets.
Matthew Parkinson 2 for 27, Marc Hadwin 2 for 12 and Gavin Moffat 3 for13 ensured that this was far beyond the Lancashire and Cheshire team and they were all out 139 runs shot of their target with 10 overs still in hand.
The Final of the Manchester Evening News Competition took place at Stanley Park, Blackpool, on a bright Sunday in August.
The Central Lancashire League being the opposition, it was hoped that we would be able to field our strongest team, but because of holiday and Federation committments, Gareth Cordingley was unavailable.
This proved to be a deciding factor as any team hoping to beat a side including two England players (Peter Wilcock and Jonathan Henderson) have to be at full strength.
The Central Lancashire League won the toss and decided to bat, and the value of Peter Wilcock could not have been more obvious, the next highest score to his 122 being only 12.
The score of 200 for 7 wickets would have been a sad sight if early chances offered by Wilcock had been taken.
The wicket had very little to offer the quick bowlers and Marc Hadwin 2 for 34 and Michael Clinning 3 for 45 made most of what help there was, but it was a rather lethargic exhibition in the field.
The Northern League's cause was not helped by the unfortunate injury to opening bowler Nick Beenham in his second over.
The Northern League batting was no better and although Gavin Moffat, Neil Kershaw and Chris Duff (Netherfield) all got into the twenties, the scoring rate was always to slow and the Trophy went to the better side on the day.
The result was extremely disappointing considering the high quality of performances prior to this encounter, what a shame the form deserted us in the final hurdle.
The Semi-Final in the North West Colts Competition proved to be an even bigger disappointment.
It's one thing to lose in a final but not to make the final is even harder to take.
An element of deja-vu existed as the venue was Lancaster with the opposition once again the Lancashire and Cheshire League.
But thats were the similarity ended.
The visitors batted with far more confidence, the earlier result probably acting strangely in their favour making them feel that they had nothing to lose.
At the end of 45 overs a score of 165 for 8 wickets was achieved, but dropped catches again ensured that a team devoid of Clinning, Cordingley and Beenham would not find it easy to overhaul the total.
Craig Walmsley and Simon Little (Netherfield),Gavin Moffat, Neil Calderbank, Richard Chew and Chris Duff all got into the twenties but again no one went on to a big score and the Northern League's challenge petered out some 6 runs short of victory.
For the record the Lancashire and Cheshire League went on to lose to the Cheshire County League in a one sided final at Liverpool Cricket Club, Aigburth.
Although the trophy cabinet was bare at the end of the season, I am sure that when the draws were again made for the 1992 campaign's, the name of the Northern League would be the one to be avoided.
Most of the senior players from 1991 season will be too old for the coming season so I am sure that all the under 18's in the League will be going flat out to claim a place in what has become the most respected representative side in the North West.
The Northern League Under 15 Representative XI 1991
It was agreed that, in 1991, an Under 15 team should be entered in the Michael Roche Inter-League Competition.
This turned out to be a wise decision as the team were successful at the first attempt.
Game one saw us drawn at home, Blackpool Cricket Club on this occaision, against the Lancashire and Cheshire League.
The weather was dull and overcast and the visitors decided to take first strike on a good pitch.
Unfortunately for them, however, the Northern League bowlers were in a misely mood with Paul Richardson 8 - 4 - 12 - 1, David Miller 8 - 4 - 12 - 2 and Ian Tolley 4 - 0 - 12 - 6 being the pick.
A score of 87 for 7 wickets in the allotted 40 overs did not present a problem to the Northern League batsmen, and the winning score of 88 for 4 was reached off only 22 overs with David Tomlinson 41 not out and skipper Ian Tolley 34 not out at the close.
The Semi-Final opponents were the much fancied Bolton League, the venue being Kearsley Cricket Club on a fair day in July.
The home team were extremely confident but I am pleased to report that this confidence was ill founded.
The first mistake made by the Bolton League was to invite the visitors to bat on a drying wicket, and the very respectable total of 185 for 4 wickets was reached in 40 overs.
A splendid knock of 60 by St Annes David Tomlinson and excellent supporting innings of 34 from Stephen Knapman, 31 not out from Ian Tolley and 25 from Andrew Flintoff set the target that was always beyond the home team.
Again the Northern League bowlers were in great form and Johnathan Elleray 8 - 1 - 14 - 1, Paul Richardson 8 - 2 - 20 - 2 and David Miller 8 - 0 - 30 - 3 ensured that even with an eighth wicket stand of 50 was not good enough to snatch the game, and the Northern League ran out easy winners by the margin of 23 runs.
Extemely inclement weather caused the Final at the County's Headquarters, Old Trafford, to be called off but eventually the sun came out on the 20th August at Sandy Lane, the home of Leyland DAF and our co-finalists, the Bolton Association took first strike.
A knock of 84 by opening batsman Dagnall saw a score of 150 for 3 compiled in spite of tight spells by Jonathan Elleray 8 - 3 - 8 - 0, Paul Richardson 8 - 2 - 23 - 1 and Ian Tolley 7 - 0 - 29 - 1.
The Bolton Association bowlers led by "Man of the Match" Dagnall 9 - 0 - 31 - 2 ensured it would not be easy to overhaul this total, but again David Tomlinson and Ian Tolley put the Northern League lads on the right track and the job was finished off in great style by Paul Richardson, 152 for 6 being reached in 38.1 overs.
The 1991 season was a marvellous first season of Inter-League Competitions for our Under 15's.
The team is to be congratulated on a job well done and skipper Ian Tolley, management team of Bernard Tolley and Neil Whitehead are to be thanked for all the hard work and effort put in during the campaign.
We must not forget Leyland DAF Cricket Club for their superb hospitality when hosting the final.