Result: Cheadle Hulme Ladybridge CC 83-6 (36.3 overs) BEAT Maritime CC 79 (23.2 overs) by 4 wickets (Cheshire Cricket League Division 3)
Venue: Ladybridge Club (Saturday 27th May 2017, 1.30pm)
Att: 7 (hc)
Ahead of the second instalment of my cricketing summer, Saturday morning arrived with me still having not decided where I was to be headed. As usual when this predicament rears its head, I handed responsibility over to a random draw and so it was decided I’d be visiting Cheadle Hulme Ladybridge CC and the Ladybridge Club during what appeared to be a sunny afternoon!
After heading up on the bus to Stockport, a quick change over here saw me heading over to Cheadle Hulme, getting off not too far from the Cheadle Heath Nomads’ ground that I’d visited the previous year when I saw one of the muddiest games of football I’ve ever witnessed live. It was crazy and I certainly hoped the weather on that day wouldn’t repeat itself and leave me with no cricket today.
As it was, I arrived at the ground around ten minutes prior to the game getting underway and with the sunshine illuminating the playing field, all looked good for an afternoon basking in the warmth. A minutes silence took place prior to the game in remembrance of those lost and affected by the atrocity in Manchester at the beginning of the week. Of course, my own thoughts are with all the innocent people involved and rest easy those who have had their lives cut short so awfully.
Just two overs into the game though and we were off for rain as the Great British summer struck again! Before we truly get into the contest, though, here’s a bit about Cheadle Hulme Ladybridge CC:
Cheadle Hulme Ladybridge CC was formed in 1948 as Christ Church CC, originally playing fixtures on local school fields. They joined the Stockport & District Cricket League in 1951, with many of the players being too old to continue in the local youth leagues the club had originally competed in. Playing in Division 2, the club were promoted as runners-up in 1957 and moved to Flowery Field (now home to Stockport Georgians) in Woodsmoor for 1958. With most members hailing from Heaton Moor at this point, a name change saw the club take on the moniker “Moorfield CC”.
1964 saw Moorfield end up as runners-up in the S&DCL and were also losing finalists in the league’s cup final. 1968 saw the club move into the North Cheshire Cricket Federation, but remained here for only one season (though they did have an XI here for the year prior too in addition to their S&DCL one), before moving to the South Lancashire League’s Division 3 where they were immediately successful, finishing as runners-up and winning the Westbrook Cup.
1971 saw Moorfield move to the current Ladybridge ground, on the back of it having been vacated by Cheadle Hulme CC. A further runners-up spot in Division 2 saw promotion to Division 1. However, a further league switch followed in 1972 with the club going to the High Peak Cricket League, before a further switch in 1976 to the Cheshire Cricket Conference following the disbanding of the High Peak League.
1977 saw, you guessed it, another league switch, the club now finding themselves in the Cheshire Cricket Competition. Here, they fielded the only test cricketer to have played for Moorfield in a league game, Claremont Depeiza. 1980 sw Moorfield change name again to the current one and 1982 saw CH Ladybridge win a double, with the Knockout Trophy and Bardsley Trophy being lifted.
1984 saw Ladybridge win the Cheshire Cricket Competition’s 1st XI cup and the following year saw the arrival of the League title join the honours list. 1986 saw Ladybridge head for the Glossop & District League before 1990 saw the club in some trouble after losing ten senior players. However, they recovered to win the Bardsley Trophy again the following year.
That was pretty much it until the millennium when CH Ladybridge moved to the new Cheshire Pyramid system and the Cheshire Cricket League. 2001 saw them lose out in a “promotion game” though a runners-up spot the following season saw them promoted to Division 2 form the 3rd Division via the help of the club’s first overseas player. 2006 saw relegation back to the Division 3 suffered but 2015 saw the club return to Division 2 of the Cheshire League, current skipper Matt Bishop starring with 500 runs and 50 wickets in the year, the first Ladybridge player to achieve the feat. However they find themselves back in Division 3 for this season, having been relegated at the end of last season.
Luckily we were off for just ten minutes or so as the thunderstorm mostly skirted around the ground, leaving a dark, threatening backdrop to the aircraft on approach to Manchester directly over the club. However, it was to be the last meaningful rainfall we’d encounter during the game and we were back underway shortly. And we were underway with major fireworks!
Visitors Maritime, from out Merseyside way, were the unbeaten league leaders and, with all due respect to Ladybridge, everything pointed to an away win. However, during a period of a half-hour, Maritime found themselves six wickets down and with just eighteen runs on the board. “It’s always like this here!” came the call from ‘keeper/skipper/twitter guy Simon who’d come over to welcome me during the earlier stoppage! Anyway, here’s the entertainment in more detail!
After winning the toss and batting, some early boundaries meant Maritime looked in good stead prior to the rain delay. However, they fell apart afterwards. First, opener Alagiah Suthakaran fell for nought, nicking behind off Rick McGrail, before he was followed shortly afterwards by fellow opener Gayan (14), who saw an edge fly to second slip at some pace where a fine, diving catch by MacLennan saw him heading back, giving Matt Ward a first wicket of the day.
Once Pratham Shetty (4) saw his stumps disturbed by McGrail with one that looked to have kept a little low, the visitors looked in a little bother at 18-3. However, this was just the beginning as the leaders looked to have lost their heads during the next ten minutes or so.
First, an instant replay of Shetty’s dismissal saw Thisal Jayawardana head back first ball, becoming McGrail’s third scalp. Four became five moments later when Julian Morris fell LBW playing no shot, again without scoring, and the sixth man to go was Anton Jastin who played an almighty heave at his first ball, missed, and ultimately was castled. Both Ward and McGrail were now level on three wickets each, four ducks (two golden) had already been registered and Maritime were in some disarray.
However, some normality was restored by the seventh wicket partnership of #6 Kasun Ranasinghe and #8 Sahni Ajay. Both looked to be positive in the face of adversity, hitting a number of boundaries in a counter-attack to try and force their side up to a respectable total. However, upon reaching 52 and having added thirty-four runs, Ranasinghe fell, tamely chipping a shot up to square leg for 25.
Ward claimed a five-fer by dismissing Sellathurai Jeyakumar for a duck before adding the scalp of Prarajasingam Sathakaran for a single run, forcing him to nick off to ‘keeper Clarke, ending with figures of 6-48 from his ten overs. McGrail couldn’t add to his three early strikes, though he really ought to have, as he saw three late dropped catches off his bowling go down, including two in one over. However, he still ended up with economical figures of 3-26 from his 12.
As it was, it was left up to first change bowler Nick Hodgson to end the innings, forcing Maritime’s #11 Murugesu Kulatheepan to get a thin edge through to Clarke who claimed his third victim of the innings and secured each bowler a wicket, Hodgson ending with 1-5 from eight deliveries. Ajay was left stranded on a, somewhat frantic, 30 as the leaders headed back to recoup and somehow figure out a way to defend an under-par 79.
After a quick chat with Dave, who watches Ladybridge’s matches for the first innings only before heading off and a visit to the bar for a pint of Marston’s fine 61 Deep Pale Ale for the decent price of £2.80, it was time for the players to head back out after their half-hour “tea” break. With drizzle still in the air and threatening to become something more substantial, CH Ladybridge came out and knocked off some runs early on, before opener James Howard (13) became the first to fall for the home side, playing across an Anton Jastin delivery.
He was quickly followed by #3 and skipper Matt Bishop (one) who became Jastin’s second victim, being defeated by a full one, before a terrible LBW decision did for Clarke. How the umpire couldn’t here the edge from 22 yards I don’t know (I could from out on the boundary), but up went the finger, Clarke (8) showed his understandable displeasure through the medium of waving his bat, but Sathakaran had his man and suddenly Ladybridge found themselves in a spot of bother.
This spot of bother became more of a dangerous area when Shaz Hussain played a big drive against the slingy, Malinga-like Sathakaran and saw his stumps parted. He was gone for two and suddenly Maritime were eyeing a victory from the jaws of defeat! A bit of a recovery was started by Stephen Robins and Jake Moore (9), but when the latter was dismissed by the returning Jastin after nailing a drive to short cover, Ladybridge were still 30+ runs away from the win.
However, a slow, watchful, partnership between Robins and MacLennan saw the pair take the sting out of the Maritime fightback and edge their side closer and closer…and closer to their target. It really was slow going with no risks taken and barely a shot in anger at times during their stay in the middle together. This point is really proven by the fact that “extras” was the innings’ high-scorer despite Ladybridge’s reply taking up 36.3 overs!
But you couldn’t blame them in the slightest for how they approached it and it was certainly effective. When MacLennan was eventually dismissed by spinner Suthakaran for nine, Maritime pretty much knew the game was up what with Ladybridge requiring just nine more to win. These were knocked off by Simon Martin (10*) who, along with Robins (15*) saw their side home in a tight, pulsating contest, which ended with a pair of fours by the former.
After a quick goodbye and congratulation to the pair pacing around the boundary during the latter stages, I made my exit to the bus stop outside and was soon carried back to Stockport and onwards home, delays on other services meaning an earlier arrival time! Keep up those delays guys! A good day was had once more (and again I’m just happy to have gotten in two full games with the weather that’s been around over the last couple of weeks) and next week sees a first foray of the season into the Cheshire County League. It’s in Sale again…!
Value For Money: 7