Another Saturday afternoon down at Rochdale Road found Thornham batting first against Droylsden. Heywood was the first wicket to fall, guiding a catch to gully. This brought Micklethwaite to the crease and he played second fiddle to Afzaal who was scoring runs freely at the other end. Harshly adjudged LBW, Micklethwaite departed, and when Hardy was caught behind this left the visitors 66 for 3.
Belying the struggles of his partners, Afzaal continued to motor on at the other end, striking 16 boundaries in all, including 7 maximums. It was a phenomenal display from the opener, even more impressive considering he had been a fitness doubt for the game. Afzaal was desperately unlucky not to bring up his maiden century for the club, dismissed on 95 to a ball that kept low. Overseas Allison followed almost immediately after, and then Howarth was given either caught behind or LBW, with nobody really sure. Perhaps it was bowled? Any which way, three quick wickets left a rebuilding job required.
Collins was the mainstay of the rebuild, ending 28* to drag the team to 186, coincidentally the exact same score from the weekend prior.
The second innings started well for Thornham, with Droylsden’s opener given out LBW to Collins – this was another decision where the batsman probably had reason to feel aggrieved. With Halliday caught 2 balls later, falling into the drive trap set by bowler Collins, Thornham were bouncing, wicketkeeper Walsh chirping away from behind the stumps.
The next wicket to fall was to Clough; opposition number 4 Mooney had struggled to 3 off 32 balls before trying to open his shoulders. Sadly the player was not to be found for the usual courtesy of a handshake at the end of the game, presumably having enjoyed the hospitality and, in the true spirit of cricket, left early.
A partnership formed for Droylsden and it took the pace of overseas Allison to break it with a fierce burst from the Saqib Mahmood end. Clough bowled 15 overs on the bounce to end with excellent figures of 1 for 38, probably deserving more for his mammoth efforts. The game was beginning to look tense, with both teams clearly in with a fighting chance. Droylsden captain Cicchirillo and overseas player Purchase put on a partnership of 64 to put the visitors in the ascendancy, but the spin of Heywood and seam of Pattison took the game deep. Some lusty blows from Jarvis put the visitors on the brink and at 182 for 7 they were clear favourites. Heywood took two quick wickets to take it to the wire before a bottom edge off Pattison meant Droylsden took the spoils.
A fabulous game of cricket for the second week in a row for the First XI – on another day victory would have been theirs. It was a game of cricket neither side probably deserved to lose, and captain McMahon can be proud of his players and the fight they showed.
Thornham 2nd Team took on East Lancs Paper Mill away. Thornham lost the toss and were asked to bowl first.
Thornham kept it tight right from the off and gave very little away. Opening bowler Safwan Eshan bowled East Lancs opener Lomax for just a single and then took a fantastic one-handed catch from the bowling of Aaron Hall to dismiss number 3 Kenyon who looked dangerous. Umair Ahmed bowled a mammoth spell of 14 overs straight, giving very little away whilst Aaron Hall and Mohammed Adnan dried up the runs from the other end.
All 4 Thornham bowlers finishing with impressive figures, but in particular Aaron Hall who finished with 3 for 21 from his 12 overs. A special mention goes to Sam Holdaway whose wicket keeping was particularly impressive with multiple diving takes and a run out from a difficult throw.
East Lancs Paper Mill finished on 160 for 7 from their 45 overs. A low score in warm conditions on a flat track.
Thornham wasted no time at all chasing the total down. Openers Alec McClure and Tom Smith scored freely, all around the ground.
Mclure hit 14 4's and 4 6's on his way to an unbeaten 91 from just 85 balls. A fantastic display of power hitting with some booming straight drives and pull shots.
Smith supported extremely well and hit 7 4's and 2 6's of his own on his way to an unbeaten 59. Smith hit several majestic cover drives, piercing the field with ease to find the boundary.
East Lancs tried 7 bowlers but to no avail. Thornham cruising to their target in the 29th over, scoring at a fraction under a run a ball.
An extremely impressive run chase, winning by ten wickets and with over a third of the overs to spare.
It’s one of the furthest away days of the season, but with a pizza oven and fantastic facilities, who can complain?
Skipper Collinge won the toss and elected to bat with Iqbal and Sarfraz opening.
A steady start saw the pair 41 for no loss at 10 overs, whilst some tight bowling had Thornham at 77-0 at drinks. Sarfraz was bowled for 46 trying to accelerate the score.
A handy 22 from Umair Ahmed and 15 off Horridge saw the score finish on 204-2 with Iqbal doing his best jug avoidance being 94 not out.
Fitzpatrick and Maloney opened the bowling, with the former bowling tight lines.
Next into the attack was seasoned campaigner Heywood who sped through his allocation of 10 overs finishing taking 3 for 37.
Young also bowled his allocation of 10, which the opposition captain called "the best spell of leg spin" he had ever seen. Maybe he should come to Thornham more often!
Thornham bowled Edgeworth out for 146, with the victory more assured than it was on the field. A shout out to Uzair in getting his first senior wicket.
Dr Anthony Crook memorial match
More than 2 years after Dr Anthony Crook passed away in the early stages of the pandemic, the Club was finally able to acknowledge his impact and give him the send off he deserved. On a beautiful day down at TCC the crowds flocked in to watch the Chairman’s Select XI take on the First Team Captain’s Select XI, late drop outs meaning these XIs were in actual fact Xs.
McMahon won the toss and decided to have a bowl. Opening for the Chairman’s X were overseas Allison and regular bowler-turned-opening-bat-for-the-day Pattison. Allison made a breezy start before being dismissed by Abel, at which point McClure came in to continue with his good form from the Saturday prior. Retiring on 53 off just 34 balls, McClure struck 9 boundaries and punished some friendly bowling. Pattison wasn’t to be outdone and struck 9 boundaries himself, retiring on 52 for his first ever half century – it is a shame the match won’t be counted towards his first class record but there will no doubt be many more chances to come to get that elusive competitive fifty.
McClure also retired, and with the scoreboard flying along captain Micklethwaite took the intriguing decision to send in two of his veterans, K McMahon Snr and Ian Mansfield, in an attempt to slow the scoreboard down a touch. McMahon Snr clearly hadn’t received the memo, cutting his first ball for four! In a match which had been dubbed in the McMahon household as “Father vs Son” grudge match, Kevin did the right thing and avoided being dismissed by son Paddy. It took the spin of Heywood and Stevie Butterworth to help the bowling side regain control of the game, 11 overs from the fearsome slow bowling pair yielding only 37 runs.
Holdaway was on the wrong end of a Smith run out 2nd ball, before Hall was also dismissed second ball. There was amusement on the bench at this, but captain Micklethwaite went even further and added to the laughs by being dismissed first ball to spinner Dobson. There remain questions about the accuracy of this dismissal; perhaps umpire Willman had been paid off by the opposing skipper? Either way, the crowd enjoyed it!
Ian Mansfield’s son in law (we think) Jamie provided some late entertainment to drag the team to 198 before Holdaway, having been graciously offered the chance to bat again, was somehow dismissed second ball for the second time in the match. Smith ended not out on 36 at the other end, another productive weekend of run-scoring for him.
Having been done over with bat in hand, captain Micklethwaite decided he was going to open the bowling, and his spin was looking good before a flighted delivery was hit fully hard by Burke into the farmer’s field for six. It was as if Burkey had never been away, with some glorious eye-catching shots in his 50 retired. Come back Burkey!
Dobson was caught behind to give Holdaway something to remember the day by, and this brought Hardy in who set about enjoying himself, with switch hits and ramps a particular feature of the innings. Pattison snared him before McClure tempted Heywood into a big shot, the edge being taken at slip by Ian Mansfield. Sub Pro Grey was rattled by Hall before the spin of Allison knocked him over, the huge turn from the Pavilion End making Micklethwaite’s atrocious LBW from earlier in the day look even more appalling.
Skipper McMahon needed someone to grab the bull by the horns and he did so himself, striking some lusty blows in his 28, partnerships with Burke and Abel looking promising. Abel was looking good, with a particularly gorgeous drive through the off side leaving the purists drooling. The dangerous Towler came and went, and this left the last wicket pair of Madden and Butterworth to try and win the game. Some tight death bowling from Pattison and Hall restricted the visitors, and the game ended with the Chairman’s X winning by just 3 runs.
The real highlight of the day however was during the tea break. With members of the Crook family present, including Tony’s widow Barbara, President Kevin McMahon gave a speech about Tony and the profound impact he had on not only our Club but local cricket in general. A tree was planted in Tony’s honour with players and fans alike acknowledging the moment and the man, with the Club finally able to show their appreciation for a colossus of the game.