Match Report Ramsbottom 1st XI v Darwen 1st XI – 12th August 2023
RCC 158 for 7 (37 overs) DCC 142 all out (36.3 overs) – RCC win by 25 runs (Duckworth Lewis)
Ali Packs a Punch
With our regular opener Tom Parton on holiday the Rammy selectors took a gamble by including 17 year old Ali Abbas for his 1st XI league debut and entrusting him with the opening spot.
With the Darwen skipper winning the toss and weather conditions not favourable it was no surprise that the Rams were asked to take first knock.
There was clearly no great expectation from the few Rammy faithful on the ground when the game started at 1:30 pm after losing 4 overs due to the rain.
It is fair to say we have not had a decent start to our innings this year in the league with the highest opening partnership standing at 22, so not a lot was expected of JD and Ali.
The two must have not read the script because after an early slice of luck for JD both batsmen took advantage of a lovely track, with Ali the predominant run scorer in a partnership that took the score to 48 off 13 overs before a heavy shower took us off the ground. Darwen have a very experienced pace and spin attack but both our batsmen looked in no trouble and exhibited some lovely stroke play.
Another 9 overs were lost before play resumed and sadly JD fell caught behind off the first delivery after the break. This brought in Ben to join Ali. The scoring continued at a good rate with our young opener playing “bazball” style cricket. He had reached 48 when he had to face up to Dave Bowden, one of the best left arm spinners around. Nervelessly he cover drove him for two to reach his half century and followed up by smashing him for 2 consecutive fours before falling trying to hit a third. An exceptional, entertaining knock by such a young lad against a top team.
Ben and Harry then took up the gauntlet and both lads started to run the opposition ragged with quick singles and the odd boundary. With Duckworth Lewis being in play it is important to keep your wickets intact as was clearly illustrated in our Haslingden game. However with the score on 121 Harry got a little overzealous and went for a single that was not there and was run out.
We then went through a period of losing 3 quick wickets for the addition of only 9 runs. One had to feel sorry for Ben who fell to another brilliant catch having made a fine 34. Brad and the Pin then had a quickfire stand of 26 and we finished with a total of 158 for 7.
This made the Duckworth Lewis target for Darwen 168 off 37 overs. The 2022 champions have a strong batting line up so early wickets were needed from our tried and tested bowling partnership of Birdy and our pro Billy. We were not disappointed. Both made scoring difficult with their accurate line and length and with the score on 7 Birdy proved he was not friend of the Friends having Mark lbw and bowling Scott with the next delivery, bringing the Darwen prop Punit Bisht to the crease earlier than he expected. Bisht is a prolific run scorer and his wicket became of paramount importance to us, especially with opener Mirza struggling to make runs against the tight bowling. Just as he seemed to be getting into his stride Birdy delighted the home fans by having him caught behind for 17 with the score on 28.
This induced a change of bowling with Denty being brought into the attack to save our pro for the later overs. In fairness Denty’s first spell was not very good with too many short deliveries although he somehow managed to induce Mirza to play on with the score on 47.
With Birdy having bowled out, Harry was then forced to change our bowlers about and the Darwen pair of Dave Bowden and skipper Kamran Anwar took advantage of some poor bowling and took the score to 125 before the re-introduction of our pro led to him bowling Bowden. By this time Denty had also been brought back. Anybody who had seen his first spell would not have believed it was the same bowler as he hit his line and length right away and at 126 he bowled Anwar who had made 48.
After this it became the Denty show. With Billy, as usual, giving nothing away the Darwen batters saw the required run rate rising and tried to get the runs off the amateur. With Denty getting it on the spot both Davies brothers fell to boundary catches by the reliable Ben and Painter was bowled giving our left arm spinner a 5 wicket haul and a collection. When Rehman as caught in the deep off Billy, Ramsbotton had pulled off a very unlikely win against a team that had been joint top of the league and earned 12 valuable points.
Although we are clear bottom of the league and odds on to be relegated this win will give us the confidence to try and win our remaining games and then who knows what will happen.
Man of the Match – Ali Abbas for a remarkable league debut which we think is the first time someone has scored a 50 for Ramsbottom on their first appearance. Credit goes to Birdy who got rid of the first 3 wickets and of course Denty whose 5 for earned him his first collection of the season.