By Michael Latham
celebrates his seven wickets haul for Leyland
The Furness Building Society Northern Premier
Cricket League (incorporating Readers Cricket Balls) exploded
into life on a glorious spring afternoon as the fall-out from
the Iceland volcanic eruption impacted on the competition.
Several prominent professionals and players were
unable to take their places on the opening day after being
stranded by the flights disruption.
St Annes professional
Dinuka Hettiarachchi and top all-rounder Stephen Twist,
Blackpool professional Nimesh Perera and Lancaster's Roy Silva
were among those affected.
Leyland captain David Makinson
did make it to Fox Lane after a nightmare 60 hour home journey
from holiday in Goa but was too tired to play.
Reigning champions St Annes earned maximum
points from their trip to Lune Road to face a much-changed
Lancaster side captained for the first time by Michael
Lancaster, who finished with the wooden spoon last
year, bowled and fielded superbly to dismiss the visitors for
126 with the returning off-spinner Ben Simm taking three for
Stand-in 20-year-old South African professional Andrea
Agathagelou, a Greek passport holder who is on Lancashire's
books and who will pro for Rishton in 2010, and the talented
teenager Charlie Swarbrick each took two wickets as St Annes
lost their last nine wickets for 59 runs.
Bit St Annes played a masterstroke thanks to the
connections of club coach Atiq Uz-Zaman who managed to employ
the services of Saqlain Mushtaq as sub-pro. A veteran of 49
Tests and 169 ODIs for Pakistan, Saqlain bowled St Annes to
victory, taking six for 39 with his off-spin as Lancaster
collapsed from 68 for 1 with Jamie Heywood and Agathagelou
batting well to 101 all out.
Veteran David Bartholomew
weighed in with three for 20.
Both teams will take heart
from a thrilling game at Lune Road.
Last season's runners-up Preston suffered a late
collapse and went down by three runs to Fleetwood at West
New Preston skipper Adam Parker batted superbly for
75 but was run out by Joe Bell with his side on the verge of
victory and the last three Preston wickets fell at
Fleetwood's Ryan Smith, the opening bowler for Penrith
in the Sydney First Grade competition and holder of a British
passport bowled impressively, taking five for 61.
Fleetwood captain and professional Matt Frith, who plays in
the same competition as Smith took the last wicket when
Charlie Williams was caught by Michael Clinning.
Earlier a second wicket stand of 121 between
Nick Coultas (54) and Clinning (60) provided the cornerstone
of Fleetwood's 160. Lukman Vahaluwala, fully fit again after
being troubled by shoulder problems last season took four for
32 and deputy pro Aqab Ahmed, deputising for Bilal Asad
collected five for 52 and also contributed 36 with the bat.
Ahmed is the professional for Rushden Town CC.
Mark Woodhead scored his first Northern League
Division One hundred as Tommy Clough's re-shaped Morecambe
earned a thrilling seven wickets win at
Woodhead, playing his 20th season of
first-team cricket fulfilled a long-standing ambition with a
memorable knock, finishing exactly 100 not out as Morecambe
overhauled Netherfield's imposing total of 240 with five balls
Woodhead added 133 for the opening stand with
Phil Dennison, whose 76 came off only 89 balls, and went on to
face 156 balls and hit seven fours and two sixes. Phil
Thornton came out of retirement to hit an invaluable unbeaten
31 off only 18 balls including three sixes in Morecambe's
Netherfield's new professional Nick Kruger,
the Queensland opening batsman looked in prime form making 39
on debut before he became one of Tommy Clough's seven
The Morecambe skipper's off-spin will be vital
this season and he returned seven for 73 in an impressive
Teenager Alex Atkinson underlined his potential with
an outstanding innings of 97 off 115 balls with Ryan Wilson
(34) providing late support in a ninth-wicket stand of 65.
Chorley's new South African professional J J
Smuts made a fine debut as the Windsor Park outfit, under the
direction of new captain Andrew Holdsworth, beat Blackpool by
Smuts took three for 26 with his slow
left-arm, including a smart caught-and-bowled to dismiss
Blackpool's deputy pro Chesney Hughes, the Derbyshire CCC
contracted player who played for Fleetwood last
Kieran McCullagh, fresh from a season in Australia
also bowled well to take three for 45 as Blackpool struggled
to 146 for 9 thanks largely to a fighting innings of 40 from
skipper Paul Danson.
Chorley's new opening batsman James
Reynard hit 49 off as many balls on his debut after joining
the club from Horwich and Smuts eased his way into the batting
ranks with an unbeaten 32 off 60 balls as the home side got
home with 13.3 overs to spare.
Darwen's skipper John Cordingley saw a much
improved display from his new charges as they earned the best
of a drawn game against Kendal. Professional Mohammad Zaman
Khan (58) and Mark Emery (49) provided the backbone of the
home side's 212 for 8, teenager Kamran Anwar contributing an
unbeaten 35 off 27 balls as Darwen reached 212 for 8.
and Lancashire Academy player Yakub Bhamji each took three
wickets in impressive spells with the returning Neil
Cordingley opening the bowling and marking his return to the
Northern League with two victims.
Yakub Bhamji claims the prize wicket of Terry
Bhamji bowled Terry Hunte for 2 and Anwar had
Kendal professional and captain Ross McMillan caught by Khan
at mid-wicket for 17.
Kevin Howarth stood firm for Kendal,
batting fluently for 66 off 84 balls including nine fours and
three sixes until he was caught behind off Anwar. In a tense
finish Darwen just failed to force the win, Bhamji bowling
Chris Miller off the final ball of the match as Kendal hung on
at 140 for 9.
The earliest finish of the day was at Fox Lane
where Leyland, without skipper Makinson, wrapped up a
low-scoring win over Carnforth before the full-time football
Carnforth professional Gareth Pedder bowled
unchanged to take five for 31 as Leyland were dismissed for
only 77 on a slow Fox Lane pitch.
grabbed the prize wicket of Leyland's new South African
professional Brett Pelser for 16 and Robert Parker took two
wickets in as many balls after coming on as first-change.
But Leyland's left-arm opening bowler Luis Reece
upstaged Pedder with an inspired spell as he took a League
career best of seven for 10 as Carnforth subsided to 27 all
pro Gareth Pedder is trapped LBW by Luis
The teenaged Reece has enjoyed an excellent
season down under with the Brisbane Scorchers and is currently
playing for Worcestershire Second XI after being released by
Lancashire. Five of his victims were leg before and he also
claimed a superlative slip catch to dismiss Carnforth skipper
Darren Moore and earn Pelser his first NPCL victim. Leyland's
stand-in captain Peter Cummings took 0 for 1 off four
FIRST DIVISION SCORES
CHORLEY v BLACKPOOL
Chorley (12pts) defeated Blackpool (1pt) by 7
Blackpool 146 for 9 (P Danson 40), Chorley 147
for 3 (J Reynard 49)
DARWEN v KENDAL
Darwen (10pts) winning draw; Kendal (4pts)
Darwen 212 for 8 (Mohammad Zaman Khan 58, M
Emery 49), Kendal 140 for 9 (K Howarth 66)
LANCASTER v ST ANNES
St Annes (15pts) defeated Lancaster (3pts) by
St Annes 126, Lancaster 101 (Saqlain Mushtaq 6
LEYLAND v CARNFORTH
Leyland (15pts) defeated Carnforth (3pts) by
Leyland 77 (G Pedder 5 for 31), Carnforth 27
(L Reece 7 for 10)
NETHERFIELD v MORECAMBE
Morecambe (12pts) defeated Netherfield (3pts)
by 7 wickets
Netherfield 240 (A Atkinson 97, T Clough 7 for
73), Morecambe 242 for 3 (M Woodhead 100no, P Dennison 76)
PRESTON v FLEETWOOD
Fleetwood (15pts) defeated Preston (4pts) by 3
Fleetwood 160 (M Clinning 60, N Coultas 54, Aqab
Ahmed 5 for 52, L Vahaluwala 4 for 32), Preston 157 (A Parker
75, R Smith 5 for 61)
Barrow no game
Division Two (2nd XI)
In Division Two reigning champions Lancaster
began their defence of their title with an emphatic 68 runs
victory at St Annes.
Last season's runners-up Leyland
enjoyed a 144 runs win at Lodge Quarry over Carnforth,
16-year-old Liam Hurt making a fine 106 and Chris Kelly taking
Yasin Patel hit an impressive unbeaten 96 to
steer Preston to victory at Fleetwood.
Despite half-centuries from Craig Outram and Sam
Owen Blackpool had to settle for the best of a winning draw
Christian Davies took five wickets to earn
Darwen a tense win at Shap Road against a Kendal side inspired
by teenager Mark Phillips 55.
Netherfield enjoyed an
11-runs victory over Morecambe at Woodhill Lane.
Hyland and Steve Jones each scored half-centuries for
Netherfield while Morecambe chairman Nick Milner defied a hand
injury to hit 57 in vain for the home side, Josh Stafford
taking five wickets.
SECOND DIVISION SCORES
BLACKPOOL v CHORLEY
Blackpool (8pts) winning draw; Chorley
Blackpool 231 for 5 (C Outram 52, S Owen 51no, N
Wall 43), Chorley 184 for 6 (S Tolley 49no)
CARNFORTH v LEYLAND
Leyland (15pts) defeated Carnforth (2pts) by
Leyland 209 for 7 (L Hurt 106), Carnforth 65
(R Gallagher 41, C Kelly 5 for 14)
FLEETWOOD v PRESTON
Preston (12pts) defeated Fleetwood (3pts) by 2
Fleetwood 151 (A Abbas 4 for 21), Preston 154
for 8 (Y Patel 96no, R Fuse 4 for 29)
KENDAL v DARWEN
Darwen (15pts) defeated Kendal (4pts) by 4
Darwen 151, Kendal 147 (M Phillips 55, C
Davies 5 for 30)
MORECAMBE v NETHERFIELD
Netherfield (15pts) defeated Morecambe (4pts)
by 1 run
Netherfield 163 for 7 (S Hyland 68, S Jones 54,
S Cockburn 4 for 31), Morecambe 162 (N Milner 57, J Stafford 5
ST ANNES v LANCASTER
Lancaster (15pts) defeated St Annes (4pts) by
Lancaster 215 (I Parkinson 53, M Grindley 4 for
41), St Annes 147 (A Cotton 41, A Fletcher 4 for 41)
Barrow no game
Morecambe 2nds 162-10 (4pts) v Netherfield 163 - 7 (15
Bright sunshine welcomed in the new season at
Woodhill Lane with Morecambe losing out by 1 run in a
Catching practice will be high on the
agenda as the old adage catches win was proved right yet
Netherfield after winning the toss and choosing
to bat soon lost Wilson well caught by debutant
Morecambe's fielding woes started with both
Hyland and Wilson receiving lives with catches being put down,
Jones batted aggressively and was finally caught for 54 by
Austin off Cockburn.
A suicidal run out followed and with
young spinner Cockburn taking 3 wickets Morecambe got
themselves back into the game.
Hyland was finally stumped
for 68 after surviving 7 dropped chances. Netherfield limped
on to 163-7 at the close with Cockburn and Milner bowling in
tandem for the second half of the in innings. Cockburn
finished with an excellent 4 -31.
Morecambe's reply started promisingly with
Plackett and Izzat looking settled, however when Barton bowled
Plackett for 9, Netherfield introduced Stafford into the
attack. The young leg spinner bowling mixture of log hops,
full tosses and unplayable delivers soon had 4 Morecambe
batsman back in the hutch.
After 19 over's Morecambe's
reply was in disarray at 50-6. However Club Chairman Milner
supported by Pearson (13) started to stead the ship, Austin
(12) and Graves (12) also provided good support as Morecambe
chipped away at the visitors total.
The 9th wicket fell
with 34 runs still required. Newly appointed captain Maartens
joined Milner as the home team edged towards their target.
An exciting finish was in store as the bar
emptied and the home fans regained interest in the game after
what appeared to be a lost cause. The excellent Milner passed
50 and victory was in sight. Disaster followed with only 2
runs required for victory Milner hit captain Barton to veteran
Atkinson who took the catch calmly triggering celebrations
amongst the Netherfield players, Milner with 57 and Maartens
15 Not Out showed how victory should have been achieved.
Morecambe will need all-round improvement if they want to
achieve any success this season.