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Leyland 2nd XI Readers Cup Division 2 winners

Back row left to right, Hamza Khan, James Rounding, Jonathan Mote, Sam Oldham, Will Jacques, Alex Williams, Steph Reece (Scorer)

Front row, Steve Pallett, Ross Bretherton, Ian Farrington (Captain), Tom Reece, Jacob Wright (Wicketkeeper)

Leyland 2nd team won the Division Two Readers Cup for the fourth consecutive season with a hard fought victory over Chorley on Sunday. The cup win completes a successful season for the side that also saw them claim the Northern Premier Cricket League Division Two league title.

On a pleasant day at Fox Lane, visiting captain Alex Howarth chose to bowl first upon winning the toss on a pitch that was still damp after a significant amount of rain the previous day.

Left arm pace bowler Richard Flood and Jack Bentham combined to reduce Leyland to 45 for 3, before youngsters Sam Oldham (42) and Ross Bretherton (27) put on a 58 run partnership for the fourth wicket. Michael Mead dismissed both set batsmen in an excellent spell of 4 for 30 and some high quality Chorley fielding helped restrict the Leyland innings to 150 for 9 in their 40 overs.

After the tea interval the Chorley reply got off to a disastrous start as skipper Howarth, Joe Tiffin and Michael Critchley were all dismissed without scoring to leave their side reeling at 11 for 3.

Jack Bentham and wicketkeeper Alex Weetman added 55 in a sensible partnership before Bentham became one of four victims for Leyland leg spinner Alex Williams. Williams also excelled in the field with three catches including a good effort in the deep to dismiss danger man Weetman for a well-made 41.

Richard Flood added 26 quick fire runs down the order to keep Chorley in the game, but when last man Max Harper was caught and bowled by Sam Oldham, Chorley were dismissed for 119 in 35.3 overs to give Ian Farrington's side victory by 31 runs.

For his bowling spell of 4 for 27 from 8 overs Alex Williams was chosen as Man of the Match by umpires Ken Ashworth and Jim Briscoe.

Man of the Match Alex Williams of Leyland

Reflecting on his side's success, Leyland captain Ian Farrington said the following, "I am delighted to have won the league and cup double this season. The cup final on Sunday was a tense match. Chorley are a good all-round side with a number of dangerous players, so we knew it would be a tough game.

The pitch was slow throughout the game which made scoring runs difficult. Sam and Ross shared a crucial stand to allow us to post a decent total. Alex Weetman and Jack Bentham batted well for Chorley so it was important to break that partnership when we did. Alex Williams bowled a superb spell and he was deservedly named man of the match."

Thinking about the league campaign Farrington said, "A number of teams playing in Division Two this season were able to include experienced players who have previously played in the first team. As a result the overall standard of play in the division has been high at times and those players will no doubt have passed on a lot of knowledge to their younger teammates, which should bode well for the future."

"When we lost a rain affected game to the defending champions Morecambe in May, I thought that we might struggle to win the league as ours was an inexperienced team. I was proved wrong though because after that game we embarked on an unbeaten run and played some excellent cricket.

The players showed a lot of commitment over the whole season which allowed us to have a settled squad of about fourteen players, all of whom were capable of putting in a good performance when required. I really enjoyed captaining this team; we have had a well-balanced side and the camaraderie in the group has been fantastic.

I have been particularly pleased to see a talented set of young players, all aged 16 or under, establish themselves in the team and make important contributions with bat, ball and behind the stumps. I hope that Sam, Ross, Hamza, Cameron and Jacob can go on to be key players for our club for many years to come."

Thank you to Ian Farrington for the photographs and report

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