The August Bank Holiday weekend arrived full of promise, with huge games for our sides and glorious weather to boot. Could the 1sts push on towards promotion and would our other sides build on last week's victories?

The 1sts simply had one of those days. They travelled to Bamford to take on United Stars in a top of the table match which - if successful - pretty much guaranteed the Division 2 title. Having taken early wickets and reduced the home side to 64-5, keeper Tufail was allowed to anchor the middle of the innings; a couple of dropped catches and a contentious decision did not help matters, but when Smalley finally captured him to bring up a five wicket haul, the innings had progressed to 109. Late hitting from Iqbal hoisted the home side's score above 150, putting some respectability to proceedings and giving the Totts boys another of those challenging targets.

Unfortunately this was one occasion this season where the batting simply didn't fire at any point. Only JB reached double figures and a side that has been free scoring and used to knocking boundaries left, right and centre could only muster four through the innings. A final score of 61 was ultimately not enough to challenge the United Stars total, and was a somewhat disappointing response in such a big game. The positive news is that the 1sts remain 3 points clear of their rivals in the race for the title and will be sure to roar back at the Meadows next weekend and put this disappointment firmly behind them.

Meanwhile, the 2s were looking to build on a good win at Darcy Lever when they took on Bolton Indians at the Meadows. With Watty away and KC still struggling, the captaincy was passed to Doc P. First job - win the toss. Now long time TSJ players will recall Paul's somewhat alarming lack of ability to ever win the coin flip, even to the point where we once turned up at Lakeside, he tossed up with the wrong team (lost) and then when the real Lakeside appeared, he lost the toss again. Surely some sort of record? Anyway, history didn't repeat itself as we first made sure that the correct opponents had arrived, and then we actually won the toss! One small comedic moment did present itself as the beaming Bolton Indians skipper vigorously shook hands and announced "I'm Apache - you won't forget that!", prompting our new captaincy hero to respond "I thought that was the other sort of Indian?". (I didn't really)

Anyway having won the toss on what looked a rather pleasant strip, the Doc then managed to get himself out to a dreadful full toss spooned to midwicket. This left Danni Collins and Ry Marsh - surely among the greatest double acts in modern TSJ history - to rebuild and they did so in some style. Ry was clearly feeling some sort of pent up aggression while Danni was struggling to stand up thanks to a colossal hangover, but despite this they put on a highly entertaining 70 runs in next to no time. There was one moment your reporter particularly enjoyed while umpiring at square leg ... Ry propped himself forward quite some way to play an immaculate forward defensive. "Nice lunge, Ry" came the sniggers from the non-strikers end. It's as though George and Mildred had been reformed! One for the younger reader there.

Anyway, amid all the hilarity, a tumble of wickets threatened to derail the innings. Last week's centurion Sam came and went first ball to a delivery that kept suspiciously low, while Kev, having nearly been decaptitated by an identical delivery to the one which hit the base of Sam's off stump, slammed one fully a hundred yards up in the air, got dropped and then got out almost immediately. Our three leading run scorers of 2022 contributed less than 10 between them - were we going to throw away a great start? The answer, fortunately, was a resounding no. Ry Marsh continued his good work before falling for 49 playing some sort of bizarre, 'Doc P 2010 esque' airy flick to midwicket and losing his stumps. This was disappointing but up stepped Big Bird Russ Brooks. Rolling back the years (quite possibly decades), Birdy proceeded to cut, heave and occasionally beautifully drive his way to his first half century of the season and indeed looked set to double up with a hundred until an over-eager Mooro, who had been practising his batting (but sadly not his running) on the sidelines, ran him out on 86. This terrific knock was then built on by Mooro and Daz who mixed some great cheeky singles with some judicious hitting to put on 45 in just five overs and take the score to a season-high 273-8.

One note on the first innings - it. went. on. for. ever. Almost four hours to bowl 45 overs was ludicrous in an innings with no balls lost, no delays for injury and only one drinks break. Indeed it took so long we pretty much had tea at tea time. Speaking of tea, another excellent spread with one delightful quiche in particular.

Anyway, back to the action. Doc's team talk gave us possibly the first ever example of Latin in a cricket group huddle, and a new club motto - rumpenda usque ad illio, loosely translated as "shove it right up 'em!" ("Oh my days, what is my life?" said Danni). A total of 273 was always going to give us plenty of scope to attack and we'd probably have done that except that the first few overs took about an hour to bowl thanks to some quite ridiculous timewasting antics from the opposition. We'll not go into it in any detail, save to say that Ry in particular was getting very wound up and ended up giving one batsman an almighty send off. The poor batsman wasn't even the worst offender. Anyway, to their great credit the Totts lads and lass turned this annoyance into a really positive vibe, with some tremendous banter coupled with some really committed fielding - Danni in particular was haring about all over the place. There was a truly great moment when Sam ran out the opening batsman with a somewhat unusual limp wristed throw that should have been accompanied by a "take that, you nasty batsman" comment. Cue 9 fielders and one sister in mild hysterics.

Nick Marsh finally got his reward for some patient bowling in the face of all manner of swipes, slogs and cow shots when the ball was drilled to the Doc at mid off, and then came a three ball patch which neatly summed up the visitors innings ... new lad comes in and first ball plays a lovely defensive push. "Ooooh" said Mooro at slip, followed up with "That was nice". Next ball is drilled to mid off - "Hey lads, we've got a batter here!" chirped the Doc. Third ball - an almighty heave across the line in the direction of the island lodge, LBW, thanks very much - "Yep, we've got a batter here, lads!". Magic. There was also a delightful over where the skipper mixed up Mooro, Danni and Sam with comic effect. You had to be there really.

Doc P came on and tightened things up, though probably not to the extent that Birdy was tightening up at this point! Poor lad was ambling about like the tin man! Doc picked up a pair of wickets to leave the score at 91-6 and the game was pretty much won. After a brief partnership, Kev snaffled his first wicket and then the Doc picked up two in two to leave the visitors at 125-9. After a few brave defensive shots from a very young number 11, Danni then got in on the action, showing her brother what a real cricketer throws like to smash down the stumps from midwicket and end the game. A highly satisfying victory against opponents who at times seemed more intent on keeping us out until September than progressing the game. Some terrific team spirit too - thanks troops!

Sunday's third team game saw another Collins century, this time from Bret who strode to the crease in the midst of a crisis to batter probably the first ever TSJ century from number 8. At 31-6 from 18 overs, Edgworth probably thought they had the game in the bag. An hour later and Bret was walking off having murdered 127 from 80 balls with 12 sixes thrown in for good measure. Tatts at the other end was no doubt enjoying his junior part in the double act, with a satisfying 20 not out from just 44 balls faced in over two hours at the crease! Katie then helped the final total to a resounding 197-7, surely enough to ensure another win?

The answer was a resounding yes, with Awais, remarkably playing his only game of the weekend (that we know about), taking five wickets to reduce the visitors to 44-5. At this point Ormrod and Jenkinson attempted to recreate Bret's influence by smashing 76 in 9 overs, but when both fell in the space of 5 balls the innings was as good as over. Nick T picked up a couple of wickets and the two Schoeys also chipped in. A victory by 61 runs was a nice way to build on last weekend's performance and brought us our fourth different club centurion of the season, which might well be a first.

Thanks as always to the groundstaff, helpers, teamakers, spectators, volunteers, and all who contributed to two highly enjoyable home game days over the weekend. Best wishes to all our teams for some more big matches coming up, with the firsts looking to right some wrongs at the Meadows on Saturday and push on for promotion. Good luck to all.

To view scorecards from all our games, view the TSJ fixtures and results on CricHQ or check out our fixtures page.

I Will if You Will Biffaward

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Twitter: @TottyStJohnsCC