Perennial league champs and rivals Rochdale Catholic Club are never an easy team to play, and when you lose 5 key players it doesn't make things easier. Losing the toss when down to just 3 bowlers is probably the final nail in the coffin - but despite all those events coming together, the 1sts somehow managed a highly unlikely 4 wicket win with 15 overs to spare against the league leaders.

With both Marshys, Ash, Asif and Kieran away, bowling responsibility fell hard on the returning Doc's shoulders, and it was left to Scunners - who had previously bowled just 3 overs the whole season - to open with him. With 18 overs gone, a score of 40-5 was both remarkable and highly unexpected. Skunners was on good form, while Doc was giving nothing away. Two of the league's leading run scorers had fallen in single figures and only Subby Shah of the visitor's top order looked to have anything like a straight bat. With the wicket seaming and keeping low, Derek Whitehead and Subby dug in and scraped the total up to 84-5.

Then, just as it looked like the Catholics might do their usual escape act and put on a decent score, Doc struck twice in an over and then Russ winkled out the last three players to leave Totts a score of 101 to win - the home side had fielded brilliantly, with special mention to Ryan Stoney, Stu Batigan and Danny for throwing themselves around and saving a good 30-40 runs along the way. Paul ended with 5-36 off 20 overs, and the support from Skunners and Bird was terrific.

With Mo back for the visitors, and a highly inexperienced line up for Totts, the first few overs were going to be crucial. Stoney casually despatched Mop to the boundary in his first over, but inside 3 overs one of the league's best ever bowlers had removed three Totts wickets for just 15 runs, including Friday's 50 hero, Nelly, for a duck. Russ and Danny then settled in and with Russ unfurling a few spanking drives and cuts, the score raced to 36 inside 6 overs.

Then, disaster, as a mix up saw both players at the same end and Danny on his way out. Enter Doc P. The partnership between the main two batsmen was going to be vital, and so it proved. Neither player looked in any sort of trouble on a difficult wicket, and took the score up to 80 before the introduction of young Mulkeen with his highly underrated left arm spin sowed a few seeds of doubt. After a couple of near catches and a missed stumping off hsi first couple of overs, Russ was dismissed, and with an inexperienced group of lads to come, Doc then took charge, scoring 18 of the remaining 20 to secure the game with a collected 40 not out and lead the side to the most unlikely of victories.

I Will if You Will Biffaward

Beryl Avenue, Tottington, Bury, BL8 3NF
Twitter: @TottyStJohnsCC