The Rams weekend performances could be best summed up as the pretty good, the rank bad and the not so ugly as many expected
Ramsbottom 1st Team v Greenmount 1st team – T20 on 11 June 2021
GCC 136 for 6 (20 overs) RCC 137 for 2 (12.4 overs)
Friday brought the much anticipated T20 clash with local rivals Greenmount and the fixture certainly fired the imagination of the locals with a bumper crowd ensuring that there would be a smile on the face of the home treasurer with massive bar takings inevitable. Greenmount chose to bat first and despite the relatively early loss of Andy Kerr, both pro Chesney Hughes and young Tom Heaton found scoring easy against some average bowling on what looked a very good wicket.
With the score on 82 Owen Collinge was bowling with a fair amount of pace when he cleaned bowled the home professional. When Tom Heaton fell for a fine 41 with the score on 93 there were still plenty of overs left. But the Rams attack, with our pro yet to bowl his full quota, started to put the ball in the right areas and the runs dried up. Sadly for us, half way through his second over and with one wicket already in the bag, Daryn received a serious finger injury fielding off his own bowling and was forced to leave the field. This did not affect our other bowlers and aided by some good fielding, highlighted by a magnificent one handed catch by Grimmy, we were able to restrict the final score to 136. From a situation where we looked liked chasing in excess of 170 this was good effort from our bowlers and fielders.
Our usual T20 openers Brad & Jacob soon signalled their intentions by attacking the opposition bowlers from the word go and running well between the wickets (something that Greenmount had not done) till Clarkey fell to McGuinness with the score on 32. This was the signal for Brad to go berserk and despite losing Ben Parkinson with the score at 68 and being joined by our bandaged up pro Daryn he absolutely slaughtered the opposition attack; hitting 7 fours and 7 sixes in his 84 not out from 45 balls. This made Daryn’s 20 not out off 15 balls look quite pedestrian and resulted in us winning the game in the 13th over.
Amateur man of the Match was obviously Brad but the downside of the game was the bad finger injury to Daryn which may mean him missing games from the next weekend onwards.
Ramsbottom 1st Team v Burnley 1st team – 12 June 2021
RCC 109 All Out (47.1 overs) BCC 113 for 2 (25.3 overs)
With us to being unable to get a sub pro at such short notice Daryn had to play against Burnley despite being unable to bowl and having to field with his left hand only. To make matters worse the wicket was one that would have suited him down to the ground. Jon Fielding was brought out of retirement to strengthen the bowling attack. Thus when we elected to bat first it was important to post a decent competitive total. Burnley must have sent a spy to view the wicket prior to the game as they packed their team with spinners and this proved to be our downfall. This was a very poor performance by our batters with only Jacob Clarke (27), Simon Hanson (18) and Ben Parkinson (10) making double figures.
A total of 109 was never going to be a challenge and although Chris Round did manage to bowl the two openers Burnley reached their target with over 24 of their overs left. It was sad that Jon Fielding looked to be our best bowler on the day despite having not played all season and having had several pints the night before. A bad day ended with the news that Daryn Smit had decide to give up the captaincy.
Amateur man of the Match was Jacob Clarke for is 27 and he seemed to get a poor decision.
Ramsbottom 1st Team v Prestwich 1st team 13 June
PCC 229 for 6 (45 overs) RCC 212 for 7 (45 overs)
Sunday took us to Prestwich, current leaders of the GMCL, in the LC Federation Cup and we had what looked an awesome task. Daryn played as you cannot use sub pros in this competition but with Dan Pike and Jon Fielding unavailable we turned out a very young side. For those supporters who turned up early and watched the warm up it really looked like it was going to be men against boys as the home side appeared full of mature, experienced cricketers.
Winning the toss and batting first our sense of foreboding seemed to be right as both Prestwich openers oozed confidence and played some quality shots, seeing off our opening bowlers Jacob Clarke and newly appointed captain Kieren Grimshaw. Simon Hanson and Josh Dentith were then brought into the attack. Now Simon has hardly bowled this season and Josh will the first to admit things have not gone for him so this was a very brave call. However soon both found a good length and with the score on 51 Simon bowled Walters and on the same score Josh dismissed Wharmby caught at slip. Both bowlers put in a great spell causing the batsmen problems and bringing the run rate down. Simon finished with 1 for 19 off his 9 orders and Josh 2 for 35. When Holden, who had had more than his fair share of luck, was caught off Chris Round with the score on 114 with over 30 overs gone it looked like Rammy were on top. However Prestwich have a strong batting line up and Ryan Stanbury, nicknamed Rhino, came to the crease and really turned the game. He smashed 87 off 43 balls before finally falling in the last over of the innings which totalled 229.
When both out openers were out with only 9 on the board it looked like we were heading towards another embarrassing defeat. However Daryn and new skipper Kieren dug in and looked to be changing things in our favour until Daryn fell LBW to the experienced Bradley for 41, the umpire taking an agonising amount of time before lifting his finger. Brad Fielding fell soon after caught on the boundary top edging a sweep. Jacob Clarke joined Kieren and made an entertaining knock before he was also caught on the boundary for 16. When Ben Parky went first ball it looked like our prematch thoughts would materialise, but what we did not expect followed. Harry Caton came to the crease and right from the first ball he attacked the bowling; boundaries started to flow from his bat and with Kieren batting sensibly in tandem the score mounted and suddenly one could sense panic amongst the opposition. The pair took the score to 196 before Kieren fell for an excellent 63, much to the joy of the Prestwich players and spectators. Our chance of victory had disappeared but Harry continued in his aggressive manner and finished with a brilliant 63 not out earning himself his club baggy green. To finish only 17 short from the position we were in was a very good effort considering our pro was very restricted by his injury and unable to bowl.
Amateur man of the Match goes to Harry Caton but fine performances came from Grimmy with the bat and Si and Josh with the ball.
Next Saturday we face a big game against Rochdale, a team just ahead of us in the league. We don’t know how long Daryn’s injury will keep him out and getting a replacement pro on a Saturday is not easy. I saw some green shoots from our performances against Walsden and Prestwich but we need to get some consistency back in our game and if we all get behind the team we can get back into the winning groove.