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Season roundup - 2023

29th Sept 2023

Season roundup - 2023

Season Roundup – seniors

With the weather the way it was during July and August, there wasn’t much to report in the way of cricket. The summer ended with a bang however, the 3rd XI competing for the title in the final weeks of the season, and the First XI securing their place in Division 1 for next year with a final day winner takes all victory over Golborne. Here is your end of season round up for 2023!

1st XI

Divisional standing – 7th (of 12)

In a division which (somehow) was to see two teams promoted and four relegated, out of 12, Thornham went from competing for the title at the of June to battling relegation at the beginning of September.
The final game against Golborne really was high stakes – the loser being relegated to Division 2 whilst the winner was guaranteed survival. A reasonably solid start from Thornham saw them 68 for 2 before the collapse set in and suddenly, we were 77 for 7. Chris Heywood provided the lower order resistance with a stubborn 21 to help Thornham post 116 all out.

A truly unbelievable start to the 2nd innings saw wickets falling almost every over. 2 for 1, 3 for 2, and then the big wicket of the sub-pro, and suddenly Golborne were 32 for 8, almost in the blink of an eye! Heywood bowled the aforementioned sub-pro with a peach, whilst Collins at the other end was a menace with nearly every delivery, capturing his first 5 wicket haul for the club and finishing with figures of 5 for 26 from 11 overs. Golborne were eventually dismissed for 65, sparking rapturous scenes at TCC.

Other notable games and performances from July and August included a narrow loss to Stayley at home, where an unscheduled delivery of brown paper envelopes nearly threatened to derail everyone’s day. There were multiple abandoned fixtures, unfortunately including the away fixture at Tottington in a weekend where every other divisional fixture was completed. The home game against Austerlands was another fantastic cricketing spectacle, Thornham once again attempting to defend a low total but this time coming out the wrong end thanks to the opposition’s pro scoring 88 of 133 runs.

Thornham defeated eventual divisional winners Uppermill at home thanks to fabulous bowling performances from Afzal and Collins, just showing that in Division 1 it really was possible for anyone to beat anyone. The home game against Milnrow was abandoned after Thornham had comfortably posted over 200 and reduced the visitors to 29 for 3 – a shame really as that was a game the Club were really expecting to win, especially after such a dominant batting performance. In another rain affected fixture at Westleigh, a depleted Thornham bowled their opposition out for only 84 with Heywood taking a scarcely believable 7 for before we cantered to victory by 10 wickets.

All in all, the season ended with the First XI probably ending where they should have – some good cricket and some bad cricket over the course of the year left us mid table. Bring on 2024!

2nd XI

Divisional standing – 12th (of 12)

A disappointing season for the Second XI saw them relegated the season after securing promotion. The loss of some key players in the winter certainly didn’t help by disrupting the core of the team, however the main problem seemed to be run scoring, with no player passing 400 for the season. The other old adage is that catches win matches, and that’s certainly something to work on for 2024!

The season ended with a victory over Bury, a nice way to finish. Useful contributions from most of the top order saw the team post 150+ before Marcus Young did what he does, ripping through the opposition on his way to a 7 wicket haul which capped off another fine individual season. Marcus took over 60 wickets in the season, a truly outstanding achievement.

Obaid Iqbal was the team's leading runscorer, and his highest score of 85 came in the near chase of 227 at Woodbank, which would have been a fine victory indeed had the team got over the line.

Low scoring defeats to Rochdalians, Unsworth and Woodbank didn’t help the cause alongside narrow defeats to Stand and Elton. Canavan performed well against Rochdalians with 3 wickets, and the returning Arron Wild underlined his prowess with the bat against Unsworth, scoring an unbeaten 39. The defeat at home to Stand was certainly a decent effort with the ball, threatening a comeback, with 4 wickets for Mobeen Iqbal - but ultimately the lack of runs was again the undoing.

Several other games were abandoned, and the Second XI will play next year in one of the GMCL Division 5s.

3rd XI

Division standing – 3rd (of 10)

It was a truly fascinating season for the Third XI.

The team finished 3rd in their division with 9 outright victories – the same number as champions Springhead. The season started with a 10 wicket loss to Royton, before 2 abandonments and a couple of victories. There was then more than a 2 month wait for another victory, with fears the season could slip away. A 6 game winning streak then followed to catapult the team into contention for the title, but a narrow loss in the penultimate game meant that dream was not to be. It was a good dream while it lasted!

Sarfraz and Abel were the outstanding performers with the bat, backed up well by Schofield and an emerging talent in Chadwick. Sam Holdaway was on track for a real breakthrough year with both gloves and bat before he made the step up from the Third XI and showed what he can do in the higher teams. With the ball, the outstanding performer was Shahzad, supported well by Asif, Raza and Bromfield – a player who was a real bright spark this season, finally bowling the Chairman out in the nets after 6 years of trying. Bromfield showed on the field just how you can improve your game by working hard off the field. Captain Collinge even claimed a wicket this year!

Sarfraz made 63 in the first victory, at home to Milnrow. Collinge registered his highest score of 49* (jibbed a fifty!) at home against Shaw, the start of the amazing run of victories. He was supported by Holdaway who notched 48*, their partnership worth a more than useful 104! Perhaps the stand out game though was Heyside away on the 30th July. Smith did what Smith does at Heyside – got injured and taken to hospital whilst Sarfraz was booming sixes everywhere. An outrageous bowling performance saw six of the Heyside players register ducks, with Shahzad taking 5 wickets from his 10 overs and Asif 4. It was a pleasure to watch!

Riding the wave of confidence saw Saddleworth blown away with the ball, and then Milnrow. The home game against Springhead saw the crowning moment of the season in a 5 wicket haul for Bromfield (one of whom was a genuine First XI player!), before Sarfraz’s third half century of the season guided the team home. Victories against Heyside and Rochdalians followed, Abel posting crucial runs in both games. The Rochdalians fixture saw Shahzad return figures of 8 overs, 2 maidens, 9 runs conceded and 7 wickets taken – an outstanding performance.

Failure with the bat in the penultimate game effectively cost the team the shot at the title, before they finished off with a comfortable victory at Shaw in the final game with all round contributions from (nearly) everyone in that game.

Congratulations to the 3s on a very good season, and indeed well done to all the players who have represented Thornham Cricket Club this year!

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