TWO NINE WICKET HAULS AS SATURDAY SIDES WIN AGAIN

2022 is already a season to savour. Two hat-tricks, Niko smacking 146, thrilling run chases, Kieran hitting two sixes in an over, Marshy's impeccable form, the emergence of some promising juniors, and now not one but two nine-wicket hauls on the same day as our 1sts and 2nds kept their hold atop their respective divisions.

We've scoured the recent record books and it's probable that Saturday saw two of the top five best bowling analyses in recorded TSJ history, with Matty Bradshaw's amazing 9-8 almost certainly a record for the 2nd XI and tying for the second best we can come up with. It seems ridiculous that Lenny should take 9-45 against a strong Daisy Hill side and not have the day's best figures, let alone the season's! Two quite remarkable achievements though, and well worth celebrating.

Let's break it down some more.

After two big wins, the 1sts came up against a real challenge in Daisy Hill, a strong side that were tough opposition last year. A reliable opening partnership had carried the score into the thirties and then the Lenny show began; he took three wickets in two overs to take out the top three, and proceeded to wipe out the entire middle order as the home side limped to 103-9. His feat hadn't gone unnoticed down at the Meadows with everyone willing him on to make it a clean sweep. Alas it wasn't to be, and the stubborn last wicket pair added a crucial 53 runs before Burnsy returned to finish off the innings at a competitive 156. Lenny's heroic effort of 15 overs 9 for 45 followed on from his five wicket haul last week, making it a superb 14 wicket return in just two games.

The Totts reply started strongly, despite the loss of skipper Fuller early on. Matty and JB took the score past 50 but both fell in quick succession; it was left to Ruffers and Burnsy to shore up the middle, but having gone past 100 both also lost their wickets to leave the innings in the balance. When Niko and Callum also departed, the lads were 13 from victory with just three wickets remaining. Thankfully the ever-reliable and cool head of Nick Marsh and Nathan's straight bat did the job, taking us to an impressive and valuable three wicket win and keeping the lads nicely at the top of Division 2.

Down at the Meadows, Kieran's "Dad's Army" veterans were also looking to build on the two thrashings they'd meted out thus far. Having won the toss and had first use of another great wicket, the innings didn't quite get off to the flying start we'd seen before. Kieran departed in the first over to one of very few catches the visitors held early on. Indeed, had they taken their chances the Totts top order could have been in even more disarray. Tom and the Doc both played cut shots onto their stumps and then having flayed the ball around Bret was on the receiving end of a horrific LBW decision. Thankfully he hasn't mentioned it since and the incident passed without notice*.

* None of that is true.

When Russ also fell, the innings was in some trouble at 73-5 before a quite remarkable rebuild occurred. The two baby Daddys Watty and Kev showed plenty of fight, with Watty in particular getting going quickly. Despite a couple of near misses, the pair gradually pulled us back into the game, with some good running mixed in with some good striking. Watty passed his half century while the arrival of Mrs H also seemed to spur Kev into action and he took his score to 35 and the partnership to a 83 before he became the second interesting LBW of the innings. With Watty continuing to enjoy the bowling and take his score to a creditable 72 not out, some quick running from "Hollywood" Hayes and Dom helped the Totts score reach 197-8. We thought this might be about par on a wicket which again offered lively pace and a lovely bounce - credit again to KC for a great early season playing surface.

With Marshy absent, Bradders really stepped up to the mark. He was a little wayward last weekend but no such nonsense on Saturday, with the ball going round corners from ball 1. We knew the Blackley batters would lose patience quickly and so it proved, with a huge heave handing Matty a caught and bowled early on. The second wicket fell at 19 and even the most optimistic of us didn't expect that to be just about it for the innings, with Bradders absolutely tearing through the top order to leave them at 35-7. With Doc P appearing to be attempting to ensure Bradders would have to get all the wickets, the plan then went awry as Birdy came on and got a wicket immediately! Bradders then wrapped up the tail in quick time, leaving him with the astonishing figures of 10.1 overs, 8 maidens, 9 wickets for just 8 runs and cementing Dad's Army at the top of Division 4.

This was a supreme pair of bowling performances under no little pressure, and ones which are unlikely to be topped for a while ... though the way this season is going who knows what might be around the corner?

The final senior game of the weekend was over at the gigantic "Crimble", home to Heywood. Katie's 3rds once again turned in a fighting performance but were ultimately unable to make it a weekend clean sweep. The bowling attack did their job, and again we saw a big collapse, with the home side going from 48-1 to 56-7 as Katie and Awais got amongst the wickets. Each finished with a creditable 3-20 as Heywood were restricted to 125. Tatts also weighed in with three wickets later in the innings.

With last weekend's bigger scorers Dom and Johnno absent, the innings was in need of an anchor. Daz and Rowdy actually got the score to 40-1 and all looked rosy until another collapse occurred. The inexperienced Totts side lost their last 9 wickets for 23 in the face of some accurate bowling from Ashton (4-7) and Dearden, with only Daz really getting a start and making 27. Plenty to work on, particularly an encouraging bowling performance on a huge ground. Those who can view CricHQ can see match highlights on there!

Thanks as always to those who played, supported, prepared the ground, worked behind the bar and helped out in any way over the weekend. We couldn't do any of this without you.

What on earth will next week bring?

I Will if You Will Biffaward

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