To paraphrase veteran American soft rock giants Starship "get over that Island Lodge Bridge on another gorgeous sunny Saturday". Well if you had you'd have been treated to one of the finest all-round TSJ performances in recent memory. After weeks, nay months, of rain, cold, damp and general frustration for the players and groundsmen alike, a warm day finally arrived and boy did the 1sts celebrate in style.

A young Heaton 2nd XI turned up full of energy but by the end of the day they were somewhat shellshocked thanks in large part to the destructive work of our new Aussie sensation Lachie. Having gradually got into his stride over the past couple of weeks this was the day that everything came together. There was no sense of what was about to happen when skipper Hayesy and Tom departed early, but this merely set the scene for our Antipodean duo of Lachie and Niko to start the innings rebuild. With Lachie taking a more aggressive role, the pair started to produce some glorious strokeplay, and when Niko fell this brought Ruffers to the crease. After last weekend's blob, there was a point to prove and a couple of hours later it's safe to say thoughts of last week were a very distant memory. Huge hits, some delightful cover drives, glances, flicks, they all came out as the pair absolutely obliterated the bowling; with Farley chipping in late on, the Totts score reached a near-record 350-4, with Lachie posting a remarkable 142 from 113 balls, including 8 towering sixes, while Ruffers posted an unbeaten 107 from 92, with another 5 maximums thrown in.

You'd imagine the Aussie might need a rest but he was having none of it, opening the bowling with no fewer than 5 slips and a gully - surely a first at the Meadows? "I was lucky if I got two slips" grumbled the Doc later to former skipper Frankie Brockway ;). Of course he struck in the first over didn't he, and from then on it was carnage, with Ry Marsh bowling big in-duckers and Lachie continuing to blow through Heaton's top order to finish with 5-23. Niko was introduced late on to bowl a remarkable couple of overs, at one point fizzing them down like Wasim Akram and then getting a wicket with the most Russell Brooks half track nonsense you've ever seen. Still, when it's your day it's your day! Lenny picked up the final wicket as the last four wickets fell for the addition of precisely zero runs, and a final total of 56 left Totts victorious by 294 runs, again surely close to a club record? The 1sts remain unbeaten in the league and top of the table! There's also time to note Sam Collins and his ridiculous one handed catch at square leg and the excellent fielding work from young Lucas, making his 1st XI debut at just 15 - a big future awaits.

Meanwhile the 2nd XI were looking to get back to winning ways after last weekend's double washout. A trip to Croft Lane and ELPM offered hope of a victory and the boys delivered in fine style. Kev Hothersall produced a sterling bowling performance of 4-17, while young Jack Schofield was given the new ball and bowled admirably. A home total of 108 was unlikely to prove too much of a challenge, but when Watty fell to a huge heave against the spinner there could have been a wobble. However Nathan and the returning Donny eased all worries with a superb unbroken partnership of 106. Donny ended on 42 not out while Nathan opened his shoulders and struck several mighty blows in an excellent 63 from 50 balls, punishing the home side for a costly drop earlier. While Nick's side currently sit 6th in the league, this is something of a false position with the large number of games abandoned, so it'll be interesting to see how quickly they can mount a challenge if we finally get a run of decent weather.

Now moving on to Sunday and a quite remarkable cup tie between the 2nds and Milnrow, who had been reinstated into the competition after their opponents had fielded an ineligible player in the previous round. Having lost the toss on another baking hot afternoon, Totts got off to a really positive start in the field, with Faisal and Jack taking three early wickets to put us in firm control. The fourth wicket partnership began to rebuild, although with a really good pitch and quick outfield, the 2nds were doing really well to restrict the scoring rate. With Doc and Marshy each going for under four an over, the innings score had only reached 130 by the second drinks break at 31 overs ... and that's when the game turned completely.

When skipper Nick picked up the seventh wicket, Ali entered at number 9 and proceeded to play one of the most remarkable innings I can remember. He only faced 25 balls and somehow hit 11 towering sixes, including all six in one over from a suffering Faisal, one of which was beautifully dropped about 40 yards into the top field by watching first XI skipper Phil. The score advanced by 75 runs in four overs leaving the Totts fielders somewhat shellshocked. A familiar face also got in on the runs - keeper John Williamson, who many older players will remember from his days at NMCL side Fothergill and Harvey. Jack Schoey kept his nerve to dismiss Ali at the death, but with the score suddenly catapulted to 276 it looked to be a formidable chase.

However, don't ever count out any run rate when Bret is in the mood. The Collins father and son got us off to the best possible start, adding 80 in under 12 overs before Sam got out. Bret piled on to 80 from 55 balls before getting frustrated and holing out. Nathan, clearly still massively hungover (and fantastically sunburnt), came in and - despite some taunting from the fielders about his state - started hitting boundaries from ball one. Watty departed after a struggle and the out of sorts Doc P played on for a duck before Mooro and Nathan got us back on top for a while with an excellent partnership including several huge sixes. At 196-4 with plenty of overs left, the game looked to be back in our control but then a flurry of wickets occurred, leaving us some 60 short at the end. It was a valiant effort but really frustrating as we had the game in our hands three times (once after 30 overs with the ball and twice during the run chase).

Over at Deane and Derby, the 3rds had a right old time of it. Despite only mustering 95, with Donny's 19 the top score, the Totts bowlers blew away the home side for just 72, with James KB and Tatts each picking up a trio of victims. What an absolute result for a relatively inexperienced side. Great effort guys.

Three wins out of four and a remarkable set of batting performances across two days, with some 900 runs scored on the same wicket. I think we'd take that most weeks.

Thanks as always to everyone who played, spectated, supported, worked on the ground and bar, and scored. Onwards and upwards!

I Will if You Will Biffaward

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