25th June 2021
Milnrow massacred but Droylsden derail the run
Match reports from 2 weekends this time around – other commitments meant that last week’s reports couldn’t be produced on time. However given the result the First XI had, it only felt appropriate to make sure it as reported upon!
The weekend of 12th June saw Milnrow visit Rochdale Rd. Reckoned the early favourites for the division by knowledgeable souls on Twitter, Milnrow came across a Thornham side brimming with confidence and playing well as a team. Visiting captain Bebb won the toss and chose to field, much to the chagrin of his own team and the delight of the home side.
An early breakthrough saw McClure back in the pavilion, but that was pretty much as good as it got for Milnrow. Micklethwaite came in at 3, and after a circumspect start due mainly to tight lines from the opposition’s opening bowler Smith, the runs soon began to flow. Howarth (sponsored by Ian Howarth Photography) played the supporting role in a partnership of exactly 100 before departing for 36, his job done. Wiseman came in and the Wiseman / Micklethwaite partnership continued where it had left off from the week before, the two putting on a further 118 runs together. In a chanceless innings, captain Micklethwaite (still inexplicably unsponsored) played shots all around the park, and reached his half century with his first maximum of the season, making it three half centuries on the bounce. This time though he pushed on and set the example for his team, converting a superb innings into a magnificent 112, the highest score of his career.
It says something when Wiseman’s excellent 81* from 80 goes somewhat under the radar, but with the captain dismissed and Thornham at 218 for 3, the stage was set for Raza to delight the home crowd, and he did not disappoint. Raza struck a scarcely believable 74* from only 29 balls, striking 12 boundaries, seven of which went over the boundary for six. The last 10 overs of the innings resulted in more than 100 runs, and Thornham finished on 319 for 3, surely one of the Club’s highest scores in recent memory.
Having been under the pump for most of the first half, Milnrow needed to come out fighting and to their credit they did just that. The openers put on a rapid half century stand before the introduction of McMahon (sponsored by S Dobson) changed the game dramatically. Replacing Hall, McMahon bowled 15 unbroken overs in a spell that returned splendid match figures of 5 for 63. The backbone had been torn out of the Milnrow side. Two wickets for Kashif from the other end really turned the screw, the two slow bowlers bowling in tandem and making the Milnrow batsmen work hard for every run. Having toiled hard for little reward in his opening spell, Pattison returned to mop up the tail and finish the game off, Thornham winning comfortably by a margin of over 100 runs.
The week after saw a visit to Droylsden, and the tables really turned on the team. Winning the toss and batting first, Thornham could only post 113, Micklethwaite eventually top scoring with a hard grafted 29. At one point Thornham were in real danger of not even getting past 100 when the scorecard read 70 for 7. Droylsden’s opening bowler Jones bowled a miserly spell of 15 overs 2 for 23, and he really made the difference as no batsman could get him away. The bowling defied the opposition’s league standing, and Thornham were left indebted to a partnership of 40 from Walsh and Pattison which dragged them into a position where they at least had something to bowl at.
Scoring 113 won’t win you many games though, and Droylsden’s openers attacked from the start – by the time the first wicket fell in the 6th over, 37 was already on the board. The return to the team of Heywood (sponsored by I&N Groundwork) kept the game interesting though, the opening bowler snaring 4 wickets and at one point really applying the pressure. Kashif bowled tightly from the other end and claimed 2 wickets for himself, and when Droylsden were 49 for 4 the result was well and truly in the balance.
Despite Heywood’s heroics, the lack of runs in the first half proved costly and Droylsden overhauled their target to claim the victory 6 wickets down.
Thunder rumble on
Two games saw two victories for the Thunder under Captain McMahon’s leadership. Friday 11th June saw away side Oldham Lions tamed by the Thunder, the Rochdale Rd outfit mauling their opposition. Oldham started well and when the opening partnership was finally broken it was at 66 for 1 off only 8 overs and a large score looked a possibility. This reckoned against the Thornham bowlers however, and pace off the ball changed the game, McMahon and Kashif weaving a web of destruction to rip the heart out of the Oldham side. Two wickets for McMahon and 3 for Kashif, aligned with some tight late overs from Raza restricted the Lions to 131 from their 20 overs.
The run chase was almost never in doubt from the moment it began, regular wicket-keeper Walsh opening up with his deputy Howarth. The two keepers were in full batsman mode this night though, and their opening partnership was nearly unbroken, ending only on 128. The stage was set for Walsh to go to his half century but he unfortunately perished with 45 to his name, receiving a standing ovation for what was a most enjoyable innings to watch. Heywood went in but didn’t have to do anything, and Howarth carried his bat once again, finishing unbeaten on 69 from only 62 deliveries.
A week later, Friday 18th saw Thornham face Milnrow again, this time in the short format of the game and away from home. Milnrow captain Bebb once again won the toss and once again elected to field, a decision which amazed many Thornham players considering the week before in the league. This was a much closer encounter with Thornham posting what was probably a par score of 127. The performance of the first half came from Heywood, in at number 3 and scoring an almost run a ball 42, providing the lynchpin for the rest of the team to bat around.
Not content with scoring runs, Heywood also bowled a miserly 4 over spell, conceding just 12 runs and claiming two wickets both caught and bowled – one of them purportedly an absolute screamer. Pattison kept it tight at the other end too, and Kashif did what Kashif does – 4 wickets and far too good for this Milnrow side. Raza took the other wicket to fall as Milnrow were bowled out for 106.
Second and Third XI results
The Second XI game away on the 12th of June was cancelled due to Covid-19, however the week after saw the team put in an inspired performance to claim victory against local rivals Royton. Restricting Royton to 164 for 8 from their 45 overs, the plaudits must go to Ahmed and Young with the ball. Ahmed bowled 9 overs for only 14 runs, claiming two top order wickets to really rock the hosts. Young’s mystery leg spin was too much for the hosts, the former skipper finishing with 4 wickets from his allocation of 14 overs. Current captain Riley bowled well from the other end, the two spinners combining to keep it nice and tight and restrict the batsmen.
The chase was built on a solid start from openers Mansfield and Iqbal, scoring 20 and 40 respectively. The fireworks came towards the end though. After valuable contributions from Ditta and a quick-fire 20odd from Hall, Ahmed followed up his bowling spell with a typically aggressive 44 not out to take the team to victory.
The Third XI played a friendly at home on the 13th before returning to league action on the 20th at Home to Walshaw (despite the fixture technically being an away game). Bowling first, Thornham restricted Walshaw to 83, with the wickets shared out fairly equally amongst all the bowlers – Asif and Maloney with 2, Ehsan and Fitzpatrick with 3.
With only a small target to overtake, Thornham set about the chase rapidly with number 3 Rana scoring a splendid half century from only 38 balls. The dismissal of Rana saw Heywood into the crease – that is I Heywood, not C Heywood, and it was Heywood who would strike the winning runs, with captain Collinge carrying his bat at the other end for a comprehensive victory.