Saturday, 18th April 2009.
WOODLANDS vs CLECKHEATON at Albert Terrace.
THIS WASN'T QUITE THE START THAT THE MOORENDERS HAD HOPED FOR.
LAST SEASON'S LEAGUE DOUBLE OVER WOODLANDS SEEMED A LONG TIME AGO AS CLECKHEATON LOST BY 119 RUNS.
WOODLANDS. 227 for 9 Wickets. (20-Points)
Tim Orrell 76, Chris Brice 51, Scott Richardson 38, Murphy Walwyn 22, Sam Frankland 17.
John Wood 9-1-29-3, Mark Cummins 9-0-37-3, Tom Pringle 11-1-62-2.
CLECKHEATON. 108 All Out. (4-Points)
Neil Nicholson 59, Tom Pringle 17.
Pieter Swanepoel 14-5-20-4, Richard Spittlehouse 12-4-29-4, Chris Brice 12.3-1-41-2.
Woodlands handed out a comprehensive defeat to the Moorenders. Cleckheaton's league double over their near neighbours last season hadn't prevented their opponents from taking the 1st Division title for a fourth consecutive year and even without their impressive Pakistan bowler Safraz Ahmed they showed they are going to be contenders once again.
Cleckheaton won the toss and after asking Woodlands to bat they bowled well with very little luck. Skipper John Wood, taking the new ball for the first time for some while, put in a quick and aggressive early spell without a breakthrough. After earlier having Sam Frankland dropped, he finally took the first of his three wickets, inducing the same batsmen to edge a catch to the keeper. Scott Richardson, now joined by Tim Orrell, formed a partnership that added a further 60 runs before the opener was clean bowled by Ian Wood for 38. Orrell, initially struggling to time the ball, could have holed out on several occasions against both John Wood and Iain Wardlaw, before gaining in confidence as his innings progressed. He reached 50 off 53 balls and finished on 76 before falling to John Wood in the first over of his second spell. Chris Brice scored one of his typical run-a-ball half-centuries before a late flourish from evergreen Murphy Walwyn with 22 runs from 11 balls pushed the home side past the 200 mark, finally finishing with full batting points and a total of 227 for 9 wickets.
In the middle of Woodland's innings Cleckheaton's slow bowling duo of Tom Pringle and newcomer Mark Cummins had contained the batsmen, the latter taking his first wicket for the Moorenders in his first over. The left arm spinner acquitted himself well taking 3 for 37 from 9 overs. Pringle, despite some late punishment from both Orrell and Walwyn, took 2 for 62 from 11 overs.
Any hope of a Cleckheaton victory disappeared quickly. Their capture from Esholt Mark Cummins' first innings for the Moorenders ended with the very first ball he received, and by the time the visitors had reached the 10 over mark, five batsmen were already back in the pavilion with only 16 on the board; and things got even worse as the score became 19 for 6, and then 29 for 7 as Pieter Swanepoel and Richard Spittlehouse ripped through the heart of the visitors' batting. A score of fifty, at this stage, would have seemed a good total, and it may well have been the case if veteran Neil Nicholson hadn't decided to show his side how to bat on a lively wicket. Mixing caution with some exceptional shots, his innings was technically the best of the match, and until losing his wicket on 59, he and Tom Pringle hadn't looked to be in any serious trouble as the pair added a meritable 69 runs. A hundred had looked way out of sight, but it was finally reached and while Pringle was still at the crease, batting points had become a possibility but his 85 minute stay at the wicket, whilst accumulating 17 runs, came to an end when he became last man out with the total on 107.
Cleckheaton didn't have the best of luck, and a couple of decisions with both bat and ball went against them, but in a game against the current champions they needed to make your own luck. Some of the bowling, and much of the batting was just not good enough on the day to have enabled them to overcome a side of Woodlands calibre.