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Match Day 19th April 2003



By Gerry Wolstenholme

Perhaps not unexpectedly the 70 degree temperatures of the previous few days gave way to cold and blustery weather as the Northern Premier League cricket season opened on Saturday. But this did not prevent some exciting cricket around the league and none more so than at Chorley's Windsor Park ground.

Chorley batted first and made an impressive 240-5 to which Lancashire Academy new boy Tom Smith contributed a magnificent 139 not out, an innings that contained 14 fours and five sixes. Skipper Jim Fazackerley chipped in with 57 and, despite Pieter Strydom's 3-50, Netherfield faced a daunting task. They got off to a good start and Craig Walmsley hit up a quick half century and then, arguably the best professional in the league, Pieter Strydom, set about the Chorley attack. He finished with 105 not out as Netherfield reached their target and secured 12 points at 243-4. It was sad not to see David Wheatman in the Netherfield attack and everyone connected with the League wishes him well for a speedy and full recovery.

Four of the other five games also ended with victory to the side batting second with the match at Leyland Motors probably the closest. Motors batted first and made a respectable 195-9 with Peter Cummings making a top score of 49 not out and wicketkeeper Phil Iddon making 30. Preston's stand-in professional Pierre Jobert took 5-59 and then he made 50 and with Pravel Shah making 49 Preston made 197-7 to win by three wickets with just one over to spare.

Darwen visited Kendal and made short work of the home side who at one time were only in the 80s with eight wickets down as only Simon Little, 35, showed any real resistance. Resistance by the last pair, Alan Fawcett, 15, and Richard Ellwood, 18, took them to a final 135 all out but this was not enough to prevent the Darwen juggernaut from posting 136-5 and a five-wicket win. Highlights of the Kendal innings were four wickets for Jeff Hacking, 4-11, and 3-43 for Keith Semple while Michael Horsfield took a splendid catch to dismiss the dangerous Terry Hunte for 16. Semple showed his all-round worth with 45 in the Darwen reply and Kendal's stand-in professional Ar Rehman took 3-43.

Fleetwood looked like starting well against Morecambe and were well into the eighties with only three wickets down but then last season's malaise, a late order collapse, struck again and suddenly it was 127 all out. New professional Lloyd Ferreira made a top score of 41, John Wright made 33 but only Steven Whiteside, 13, of the rest reached double figures. Morecambe's stand-in professional Nameen Khan took 5-32. Mark Woodhead then started the season well, as he so often does, and his 54 not out was the backbone of Morecambe's reply of 130-3 and 12 points. Phil Dennison made 30 in a fruitful opening partnership and David Fish took 3-49 for Fleetwood.

Geoff Love of St Annes showed that he has lost nothing of his guile from last season as he restricted Leyland to a modest 147-9 from their 57 overs with Vahawalla top scoring with 34. Love took 6-53 and then hit 43 in the St Annes reply. Stephen Twist made 62 not out and St Annes cruised home at 150-3.

The only game that did not produce a definite result was at Blackpool's Stanley Park where a drab affair petered out into a draw. Blackpool won the toss, batted and made 199 all out with Mark Lomas making a top score of 67 and Ian Dawson finishing the innings with a splendid hat-trick. Lancaster made no attempt to go for the runs and when time was called they had not even managed a batting bonus point at 139-5. Professional Renier Munnik made 40 not out and Tom Battarbee made a more enterprising 58 not out.

Scores in brief (home team in bold):

Blackpool 199 (Dawson 4-38), Lancaster 139-5 (Battarbee 55, Munnik 40*)

Blackpool 9 points, Lancaster 5 points

Chorley 240-5 (Tom Smith 139*, Fazackerley 57), Netherfield 243-4 (Strydom 105*, Walmsley 50)

Chorley 4 points, Netherfield 12 points

Kendal 135 (Hacking 4-11), Darwen 136-5 (Semple 45)

Kendal 2 points, Darwen 12 points

Leyland 147-9 (Love 6-53), St Annes 150-3 (Twist 62*, Love 43)

Leyland 2 points, St Annes 12 points

Leyland Motors 195-9 (Cummings 49*, Jobert 5-59), Preston 197-7 (Jobert 50, Pravel Shah 49)

Leyland Motors 6 points, Preston 12 points

Fleetwood 127 (Ferreira 41, Khan 5-32), Morecambe 130-3 (Woodhead 54*)

Fleetwood 1 point, Morecambe 12 points

Second Division Scores in brief (home team in bold):

Darwen 189-7 (Heys 67, Bonner 48*, Potts 4-56), Kendal 94

Darwen 15 points, Kendal 3 points

Fleetwood 182-6 (Clarke 80, Singleton 46), Morecambe 176 (Gates 58*, Cupit 51)

Fleetwood 15 points, Morecambe 4 points

Lancaster (with 10 men) 195 (Sparks 108), Blackpool 196-7 (Bullen 70, Cragg 52*)

Lancaster 6 points, Blackpool 12 points

Netherfield 87 (Demming 4-32), Chorley 88-8 (Catterall, D 47*)

Netherfield 2 points, Chorley 12 points

Preston 133-9 (Bhaiji 45, Starkir 4-22), Leyland Motors 134-7 (Cartwright 87*)

Preston 3 points, Leyland Motors 12 points

St Annes 252-4 dec (Boucher 107*, Ashworth 87, Uphill 4-44), Leyland 257-9 (Slater 75, Mercer 64, Mansoor 44*, Booth 5-69)

St Annes 7 points, Leyland 12 points



Blackpool 199, Lancaster 139-5
By Gerry Wolstenholme

Sadly the opening game of the Northern Premier League season at Stanley Park was the kind of game that will drive spectators away - there were few enough present anyway (vociferous hockey visitors excepted). But more of the same fare will ensure that fans do not return in their droves, or even in their ones and twos. Blackpool won the toss and batted and made a respectable 199 all out. In reply Lancaster made no discernible attempt to go for the runs and at the end of 53 tortuous overs they had not even managed a batting bonus point. Admittedly they lost the early wicket of the potentially dangerous Danny Hagen but Blackpool lost an even earlier wicket in Martin Pickles and still went on to nearly 200.
It was Pickles who provided the first serious action of the afternoon as he took strike to Lancaster professional Renier Munnik. The first ball rapped his pads and brought a loud, but unsuccessful appeal. The second ball was too quick for Pickles' down stroke and that too rapped him on the pads but this time umpire Alan Bolton responded in the affirmative and Blackpool had got off to the worst possible start, 0-1.

Chris Barrow and Stephen Croft started about a rebuilding exercise and they accomplished it very well. Croft played a delightful straight drive for four and Barrow was his usual belligerent self, forcing the usually economical Geoff Barnes out of the attack with figures of 3-0-28-0 with a succession of fours and one huge six over long off that narrowly missed the cars (of the hockey people).
The pair added 51 runs before Barrow, somewhat flat-footed, swished at Simon Gould and Munnik at slip held onto a good catch. Barrow had gone for a fine 32. New professional Deon Kruis made only two scoring shots, both cuts to the boundary, before he was bowled by fellow South African Munnik and Blackpool were 76-3, after only 13 overs. And it was 90-4 when Croft's little cameo came to an end. He stretched forward to Chris Glover and found himself trapped in front of his stumps and Blackpool were 90-4, having survived an invasion from a hockey player dressed in full chicken regalia!

The rapid start then went into decline and the total had only advanced to 108 after 35 overs and in addition a further two wickets had been lost. Mark Lomas had been watchful at one end but at the other, Paul Danson fell leg before wicket to Ian Dawson and Darren Walton had been run out for one. Steve Mercer then helped Lomas take the total to 140 before he too was run out for 15.

Lomas, who pre-season had stated "I would probably look on my job as holding the batting together", passed his half century and advanced to 67, made from 116 balls with two fours and one six, before Dawson bowled him with the fourth ball of the final over. And the innings was to end on a high note for young Dawson as he secured Hackett and Taylor both leg before wicket with the final two balls to take a well-deserved hat-trick. He finished with a deserved 4-36 from 17.4 overs as Blackpool ended on 199 all out. It was not as many as first seemed likely but more than looked possible when the mid-innings was becalmed. Credit went to Glover, 1-64 from 22 overs, and Dawson for slowing down the scoring while the other wicket takers were Munnik with 2-35 and Gould with 1-23.

The Lancaster reply began as had Blackpool's start. Danny Hagen was caught behind by Hackett off Croft for a duck and when Ian Burstow went for five at 17-2, David Heywood and Munnik had little option but to consolidate for a time. They took the total slowly to 50 before Heywood, 25, was leg before wicket to Croft and with two further quick wickets falling Lancaster were on the back foot. Luke Phillips, one, became the seventh leg before victim of the game when he fell to Croft and Kruis took his first NPL wicket when he bowled Ian Parkinson, also for one. That was 57-5 and thereafter Munnik and Tom Battarbee occupied the crease in defence of a number of Blackpool bowling changes.

Eight bowlers were tried, some perhaps to move the over rate along which had fallen behind the requirement rather than to try to buy wickets, but no noticeable increase in the scoring rate came about. Indeed Munnik was at the crease for 43 overs and faced 96 balls for his 40 not out that included one boundary. He rarely played a shot in anger. Fortunately, to entertain the few spectators that remained (and there were just four on the popular side) Battarbee moved along quicker in the latter stages of his innings. And he reached a well-earned half century before the end, finishing on 58 not out from 89 balls with three fours as Lancaster terminated at a disappointing 139-5 and picked up five points.

Even the advent of a topless lady hockey player, who cavorted around the fielders, did not bring any light relief to the few watching as by then the game had declined into one that was instantly forgettable. More of the same and, sadly, the few that were there will be seeking other forms of self-inflicted punishment on future Saturday afternoons!

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