A dramatic final Saturday of the season saw some incredible scenes at the Meadows as the 1st XI were crowned champions of GMCL Division 2A. Going into the day, our lads not only needed to win against Deane and Derby but hope that United Stars, who had overtaken the 1sts a fortnight ago, slipped up in their deciding game at Darcy Lever.

With one eye firmly fixed on events elsewhere, the 1sts batted first and racked up an imposing 223-9, with good contributions throughout the order. Burnsy top scored with a watchful 44, while Niko and Phil Hayes also passed 30. With our impressive bowling attack, any score of this size would never be an easy ask, but would it be relevant anyway? At the tea interval, things didn't appear to be going our way at all. United Stars had dismissed Darcy Lever for just 85, and seemed set to secure the title.

Yet an hour is a long time in cricket. Even as the firsts were beginning to dismantle the D&D batting, United Stars were pressing the self-destruct button. However even at 45-4 the title was very much in their hands. With Totts moving serenely to victory, the Stars middle order capitulated, an eventual total of 70 all out meaning that all TSJ needed to do was complete victory and the title was theirs! Enter Niko - in just four overs, our Kiwi spinner took 5-8 to not only win the game but secure a richly-deserved league title for the 1sts. And so the party started ...

Meanwhile over at Brox, the 2nds spent much of the pre-game attempting to locate the playing area. Once found, the batting got off to a stuttery start, with Tom and Daz out early. Ry and Sam began the rebuild but when both were dismissed for scores in the teens, it was left to stand-in skipper Mooro to lead the innings. His season-best contribution of 73 not out was a gem, and left the 2nds with a good score of 166-6. Awais and Ry Marsh then tore through the home side's batting, with only Munir posting any sort of score with a battling 24 not out. Awais ended with a highly impressive 6-17 while Ry picked up 4 wickets as Brox were scuttled for just 74.

A richly-deserved positive end to the year for the 2nds, who overcame a stuttery middle part of the season to post some impressive victories and saw good contributions from veterans and newcomers alike.

On Sunday the thirds hosted Brooksbottom in a rain-affected clash. Having racked up 147 in their overs, thanks to a number of decent contributions from Sam, a returning Rick Carr and Katie, TSJ looked well set. The Brox innings was unfortunately curtailed by the elements. At 76-6, with Nick Taylor having taken a season-best 4-24, Brox were well behind on the required run rate and with no further play possible, TSJ 3rds enjoyed another victory, giving them plenty of momentum going into the final match of the season at Edenfield next week.

Thanks as always to those who made the weekend possible, and congrats again to our champions!


I Will if You Will Biffaward

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