The 2nd team travelled to Lowerhouse hoping for better fortunes than the 1st team found a week earlier and to secure a place in the Lancashire Telegraph Trophy 2019 Cup final.
Junior Cup Semi Final 2019
Lowerhouse won the toss and opted to bat first. Despite an early breakthrough from Ghulum Abbas the signs at drinks were ominous as Lowerhouse had moved to 67 for 1 with Halstead and Stuart well set. Very familiar scenes to anyone who had been at the 1st team the week before.
Following drinks Lowerhouse moved into the 90s without the loss of further wickets and Dale Gabriel’s team were looking at chasing a total of over 200. A tight spell of bowling from Dale and Christopher Round applied some pressure and Christopher made the crucial breakthrough holding onto a caught and bowled chance off Stuart. It was 98 for 2 and with Christopher bowled out Dale turned to the relatively inexperienced left arm spin of Henry Doyle. Shortly afterwards Bradley Wilson defied both age and gravity to rise like salmon to take a stunning catch at extra cover and Henry had the prized wicket of Halstead for an excellent 63. Bowlers at both ends kept it tight and Lowerhouse found runs hard to come by and wickets began to fall as they pushed for quick runs. They ended their 50 overs at 160 for 7 with Henry posting figures of 10 overs 3 for 35.
Nicholas Round and Benjamin Parkinson opened the reply and faced a hostile opening spell from Halstead and Stuart. There was early controversy when Lowerhouse were convinced they had Nicholas caught behind, only for the umpire to remain unmoved. Nicholas was dismissed soon though, bowled by Halstead for 3 and we were 8 for 1. The pressure was on. Michael Howarth joined Benjamin and with a mix of Benjamin’s usual aggression and Michael’s patience we began to set a platform, despite the umpires feeling that they needed to warn the fielding side about an exchange of words. We made it to 50 without further loss but then saw a quick flurry of wickets and we found ourselves 67 for 5. Benjamin was caught behind, Michael bowled whilst shouldering arms, Samuel Price chipping a catch to mid-on and Bradley also caught behind with veteran Matt Hope bowling a tight spell. In the midst of this we were awarded 5 penalty runs after the fieldling side failed to heed the umpire’s earlier warning about verbal abuse.
This brought Henry Doyle to join skipper Dale still needing around 100 to win. Once he had returned his mobile phone to the changing rooms Henry settled to show a very composed innings, despite having to borrow a bat as he had left his at Acre Bottom. Once Hope had bowled his 10 overs runs became easier to find and the pair settled into a vital partnership. Lowerhouse eventually turned back to their opening bowlers in the hope of a breakthrough, recognising that the only way they could win was to bowl us out. That breakthrough came at 132 courtesy of a suicidal call for a single by Dale who left his partner high and dry. Dale had left the ball and the Lowerhouse keeper had a shy at the stumps when Dale called a run as the ball ran out to mid-off. Henry was run out by a direct hit for 23. We still needed 37 to win when Jake “Cupcake” Walker joined Dale. Jake had earlier opened the bowling to post a decent 1 for 32 from 7 overs but now his batting was put to the test. Dale, probably realising that after the run out was better off in the middle upped the scoring rate with Jake settling into his innings. We gradually moved closer to our target and the visiting Rammy supporters were both relieved and delighted to see a big six by Jake take us to victory.
An excellent performance from a young and developing 2nd team secured a place in the final. The final will be played at Acre Bottom on Saturday 3rd August 2019 when the opponents will be Crompton CC.