Ramsbottom XI produced a fine all round performance to come through what appeared to be a very stiff test of their squad against an improving Accrington side.

 Ramsbottom XI v Accrington XI  5th May 2019

Forced into making four changes from the previous week’s squad due to LCCC Academy call-ups and work commitments, the boys took to the field after losing the toss. Skipper Parton opened the attack with Matt Burdaky and young Owen Collinge. Both bowlers had only bowled a limited amount of overs this season. Therefore some quarters of the home faithful thought that this was a brave call. After a shaky first over, Burdaky settled into a nice rhythm and Collinge hit his straps running. It was Collinge who took the first wicket when he induced the Accrington opener into a leading edge which Jonny Dack, (who went on to have an excellent day in the field) took a good catch after an exhibition of juggling.

This brought the Accrington professional Karl Brown to the crease. The former Lancashire star is considered by many to be one of the shrewdest signings of the year so it was a massive boost to the Acre Bottom boys when Burdake clean bowled him for a duck.

There then followed a decent reparatory stand between Pettini and the talented Kieron Grimshaw which forced a change of bowling by the Rammy skipper. The two old heads of Fielding and Smit were brought into the attack and eventually wickets started to fall with both spinners finishing with three victims apiece off 13 and 15 overs respectively.

Rehan Udwadia also showed his potential for the season with a scalp bowling a tidy three over spell of off-spin. Rammy’s fielding was very good on a cold miserable afternoon highlighted by three excellent stumping’s by the home skipper – who in his own words had a pretty torrid time behind the stumps the previous week.

The fact that the last wicket was gained off the last ball of the innings to gain two valuable bonus points indicated how vital it is to keep the intensity going in the field up right to the end. A total of 135 – although not seeming a lot, was potentially a slipping stone.

In reply – The importance of not losing early wickets and getting the shine off the new ball was vital.

Skipper Parton and new to the team this season –  Alex Olpin,  set about the task of setting the platform for a solid start. Both openers did an excellent job in seeing off several overs from the highly promising Clarke and the Accrington Pro Brown, before Olpin was brilliantly stumped. This brought Rehan Udwadia to the crease and it soon became apparent that he intended to make up for his unfortunate dismissal the previous week as he looked to take the attack to the opposition,

This forced the opposing skipper into making several bowling changes. The only further success Accrington enjoyed was the wicket of the Ramsbottom skipper (Parton) who had played a subdued, but sensible innings before being bowled trying a slog sweep.

This brought ‘Dazzler’ Daryn Smit to the crease and with Udwadia punishing any loose ball; the pair gave an exhibition of how to bat on a tricky wicket. Both batsmen finished unbeaten with half centuries, with Smit reaching his milestone with a massive six that finished the game. This gave Ramsbottom maximum points for the third games in a row. This was an excellent result against a side that should go well in this competitive league. The four players who came into the side acquitted themselves well and we now look forward to the arrival of our new professional George Linde next week. I am sure he will enjoy himself with us and he will get a great Rammy welcome.

Finally our thanks have to go to the mighty Daryn Smit for his awesome performances for us. This guy is a club legend, a great professional in every sense and even more importantly and guy who really loves Rammy CC. We always look forward to seeing him and his family at Acre Bottom.

Man of the Match goes to Rehan Udwadia.

Mick Everett