Result: Worsley CC 153ao (35.2 overs) LOST TO Wythenshawe CC 195-8 dec. (38.5 overs) by 42 runs (GMCL Division “H”)
Venue: Ellesmere Sports Club, Walkden Road (Saturday 25th July 2020, 1pm)
A second weekend of cricket in this massively truncated summer saw me heading to Worsley for the opening day of the Greater Manchester Cricket League. Playing in the newly designated “pick some random letters” divisions, the GMCL has a slightly different approach to many of the others nearby, in that it is largely the same format, other than being more regionalised in small groups.
Whatever the case, today’s opener saw the Salford-based club taking on Wythenshawe, and with it being a comfortable hour’s bus journey from my house to the ground, their seemed little reason not to pay a visit, especially when the pictures revealed quite the quaint pavilion building. Anyway, a trouble-free trip saw me alighting at the derelict Cock Inn (*chuckles childishly*) with around half an hour to start of play. After the warm ups and confusion of just what the guidelines were upon arrival and for changing, the players eventually were all set and after winning the toss and being read the riot act by the umpires regarding the new regulations, the Wythenshawe opening batsmen strode on out into the middle, eventually followed by ten Worsley men – the 11th eventually joining the fray after around 5 overs.
Worsley Cricket Club was founded in 1846 by the 1st Earl of Ellesmere for his workers, as to improve their overall livelihoods as they worked upon St. Mark’s Church. Having had fairly brief stays on two previous grounds, the club arrived at their current home, just off Walkden Road, at the end of the 1800’s and have remained there ever since, playing the sport non-stop from that time, aside from during World War One. The ground was even named by ex-England and Lancashire star Archie McLaren as “the prettiest ground”.
Officially one of the sporting arms of the Ellesmere Sports Club, Worsley, a founding member of the Greater Manchester Cricket League upon its inception a few years back, the club finished as runners-up in the GMCL’s Division 3 and, therefore would have been in line for promotion to Division 2 for this season, had the dreaded “C-word” not reared its ugly head and sent everything into disarray. However, I’m sure they’ll take just being out on the pitch in any respect at this point! As with the previous blog, info and history and honours are hard to come by, so let’s get on with the action!
Now with both at full strength, we could really get into the match at hand and Wythy looked to be starting brightly, the two openers hitting some sweet straight drives to pick up a boundary each. There was even the rare sight of UMPIRE DOWN! However, the promising opening partnership was soon broken, when #2, keeper-batsman Ryan Booth, was out, nicking behind off Dan Henshaw for six when attempting to leave one outside his off stump; and when #3, Martin Leonard (one), followed him back to the hutch in short order, having been cleaned up by James Kilner, the visitors found themselves in a spot of bother. A wicket for both opening Worsley bowlers too.
The first change bowler James Brocklebank then claimed his first scalp of the match, taking #4, Andy Davis, for just four, before a little partnership between Comyn-Platt and #5, Vijay Muslapuram, helped to steady the ship a little. But when Muslapuram was bowled by Brocklebank for 16, it looked as tough for Wythy to get to a competitive score on a green-ish track. However, Comyn-Platt and #6, Sam Grant, would have other ideas, as they steadily built a partnership and took the side well into three-figures. Indeed, the new bat Grant showed his intent from ball one, creaming one over cover with a glorious shot.
That set the tone for what would be to come and the pair moved through the gears as the innings progressed, Comyn-Platt striking a number of sixes and threatening his team-mate’s car parked behind the fence. Eventually, Grant fell for 42, being bowled by the spinner Tom Rawding, whilst #7, Connor Gibson, fell to the same man, trapped in front, for 5. However, Comyn-Platt remained the constant and looked set for an opening day century, as he played two lovely shots to move onto 96…before disaster struck and a fine yorker delivery did for him, Rawding once again doing the business for his side.
A final wicket went down – that of Umang Arora (3) – to the returning opening paceman Kilner, before Wythenshawe decided they’d had enough and called the innings on 195-8, with Juvrajavir Singh unbeaten on a single. It looked a good, challenging score and one that dangled a tasty looking carrot in front of the Worsley batsmen. As an aside, I’d been joined, by this point, by, Sam Hodkin, who had finally been freed from work-based trials and tribulations and after grabbing an interval pint from the Ellesmere social club – across the bowling green – we sat down at the outdoor tables with just enough view of the field of play, despite the best efforts of the hedgerow in front. Incidentally, that hedge had already caused an issue earlier in the day, when a ball disappeared for a good ten minutes. Drama, I know.
Worsley’s innings got underway as we sat there and, well, it was a stuttering start to say the least. #1 Sanjay Patel (one) was trapped lbw in the first over by Muslapuram, whilst the spinner Leonard, opening the bowling, got #2, Tom Rawding (nine), smartly caught at slip by man-of-the-match Comyn-Platt. A mini-partnership by #3, keeper-batsman Chris Jordan (14), and #4 Tom Brogan (nine) followed, but both were ousted in short order, Jordan falling when he chipped to square leg, whilst Brogan was trapped leg before – both claimed by Muslapuram.
The wickets continued on unabated, when #6, David Sykes, tamely lobbed one from Leonard into the hands of mid-off for a duck, and when #7, Waqas Pervez-Griffon (one), went edged to slip off of him too, the score wasn’t even at 50. When you’re six-down at that kind of point you’re going to tend to struggle. However, a bit of lower order resistance was provided by #5, Joe Cox, and #8, James Brocklebank, who took the score on towards the century mark, before the former was dismissed for 14, middle-order destroyer Leonard again the man to take the wicket.
But whilst Brocklebank was still there, you felt Worsley had an outside chance, but he would eventually go for 64, as he didn’t quite get to the pitch of the ball from the second, recently introduced, spinner Connor Gibson and popped one high into the air, where the fielder took a safe catch at mid-wicket. That was that you felt, and so it proved, as #9 Andrew Quinn and #10 Dan Henshaw both fell to Gibson in the same manner as each other, stumped by Booth, for a patient twelve and six respectively and Worsley were duly all out for 154, James Kilner left not-out on four. A decent effort from the position they were in, but not quite enough to overcome a strong looking Wythenshawe side.
A lift back was offered and gleefully accepted by myself (all following the guidelines to a “tee” of course), which meant I could avoid having to wear the horrific face masks for more time than I eventually did(!). And so ends a brief sojourn with cricket this year, as football returns to these pages from the next week. We’ll, lockdowns depending of course. Have I ever said how much I despise this government? Not necessarily parties, just this one. Useless bastards. I’ll stop there whilst I’m still somewhat polite! Let’s hope we get back on the right track in short order and, remember, it’s a far better outlook now than 10 weeks ago. Positivity works sometimes, if only those in power would try it…
Drink: 5 (had to be – it was in plastic!)
Value For Money: 8
Man-of-the-Match: Charlie Comyn-Platt (Wythenshawe)