RAMSBOTTOM beat DARWEN by 140 runs May 22nd 2021

RAMSBOTTOM lost to WALSDEN by 5 wickets May 23rd 2021

This was a mixed, if ultimately character building, weekend for a young and depleted second team who badly needed to bounce back from a traumatic defeat against the olde enemy last time out.

Saturday began at Darwen with what the experts like to call a good toss to lose. Inserted on what looked like a sporting wicket we posted a more than competitive total of 228-9. They say it’s a game of small targets so after Olly Cameron had us 0-3 after five balls last Sunday (rumours that Jason Pyke rang Braithwaite at drinks begging to re-sign have been categorically denied by connections) it was progress to get out of the first over unscathed. Rammy’s total of 228 was built around a century partnership between Alex Olpin (59) and the skipper Jonny Dack (73) Harry Campbell took the honours for the Towers, running in hard for twelve overs and being rewarded with four wickets.

After Owen Collinge (2-39) made early inroads, Darwen moved smoothly into the seventies with Jack Davies (29), the latest off a high-quality family production line, looking especially impressive. Chris Round (3-12) came into the attack and snared both Drugan (20) and young Davies with the help of two Smit-like catches at first slip from Dack. Starting to get behind the rate, Darwen needed to accelerate but ran into an inspired Jack Thomond who snuffed out the threat with impressive figures of 4.5-3-5-4 as Darwen were bowled out for 88

Sunday took us up to Walsden for a third attempt to complete a first round Junior Cup tie. With the forecast again looking grim the captains and umpires sensibly agreed to a 20/20 format to avoid a potential bowl out.

Sam Price (16) and pinch hitter Jack Thomond (32) got us off to a flyer before Rob Read (25) joined Jonny Dack to pile on a rapid 84 run partnership. Dack was finally out in the last over for 72 as the Rams posted what should have been a highly competitive 178-5. But Walsden is an idiosyncratic ground and their players know exactly where the scoring zones exist. Deprived of his two most experienced spinners, the skipper was forced to go with a selection of young look-a-like-top-of-off medium pace. A diet that the experienced Walsden top order eat for breakfast.

The Khan’s Junaid (19), Fiaz (46) and Jasim had posted 100 by half way and the writing was on the wall but there’s always seems to be an incident when we play these. Jasim had already smacked two gorgeous, Greenwich like, cuts past the right hand of George Lee when he unleashed a third. The plucky fourteen-year-old dived bravely and got a good hand to the ball but parried it away to the boundary. Clearly in agony he left the field and was carted off to hospital. As happened last year a request for a sub fielder was denied so “Who you gonna call?”

Arise Athena! None other than Janine Ireland stepped into the breach. Cue calls of “show us your arm” amongst others from the ever so excited opposition but if they thought that might intimidate this force of nature they were sadly mistaken. Unfazed she prowled the inner ring like a cougar but no prey came her way. Ed Lee (2-10) managed to bag two Lords in two balls but it was too late as Jasim ended up with an excellent 47 not out and they won with three overs to spare. So Walsden advance to play Church in the next round and we retire to reflect on what might have been.