26th May 2021
Thornham were finally back in action on Saturday after two successive washouts when the First XI travelled to South West Manchester. The week’s weather could only be described as grim and a delayed start at the Chorlton ground was perhaps inevitable. After much deliberation the umpires and captains agreed a 44 overs per side game at 1.45pm and captain Howarth (sponsored by Ian Howarth Photography) standing in for Micklethwaite won the toss and asked the hosts to have a bat on a green damp track.
Thornham openers Pattison and Heywood set the tone with a tight opening spell. It was Pattison that struck first, trapping opener Khan in front with the score on just 3. The home side’s run rate was slow, and Pattison was soon again in action when he had Ahmed caught in the slips, Howarth with a smart catch. South West recovered, building a partnership between Hanif and wicketkeeper Mayho and it took the introduction of Kashif to stop the comeback in its tracks, bowling Mayho with the score on 45. Hanif had played some aggressive shots but perished when Heywood caught it off his own bowling and South West were left reeling on 45-4.
Heywood had bowled his 13 overs for only 34 and was replaced by the returning Clough who had a massive appeal turned down first ball from umpire Leatherbarrow. It wasn’t long until he was in the wickets, having Dasgupta caught by Raza and then Nana caught in the slips again by Howarth. Kashif wasn’t to be outdone and also took a sharp catch off his own bowling before bowling Bilal. This purple patch for Thornham saw 4 wickets fall with the score on 66. The innings was wrapped up by Clough who finished with 3 wickets from his 3 overs It was Kashif who again took a lot of the plaudits, ending with 4 wickets, however It was a fantastic effort from all of Thornham’s players in the field and with the ball.
With a small score as the target, Thornham needed to be professional and play smart cricket on what was still a tricky wicket and that was exactly how openers McClure and Howarth set about the innings, the former playing his natural attacking game and the latter brushing off the ‘flashy opener’ tag to dig in and work it around, setting hiss tall out to bat through the chase. McClure was the only wicket to fall with the away side half way there as he was caught on the boundary.
With Micklethwaite absent, a shuffling of the order brought Smith to the crease to play what could only be described as an ‘Andy Mick’ innings. Thanks to Howarth ticking along nicely at the other end playing some great cricketing shots the victory was sealed in the 25th over. Smith upped his scoring rate to finish 11 not out and Howarth remained unbeaten on 37.
A dominant win for Thornham as we are set a busy few weeks ahead with the opening of the T20 campaign away at Oldham on Friday, whilst on Saturday we welcome our old Lancashire County League friends Denton to Rochdale Road.
In the weekend’s other games, the Second XI came second in both their League and Cup matches, whilst the Third XI’s friendly at home resulted in a loss to a very strong side.