The firsts finally managed to get their league season off and running this weekend, following last Saturday's abandonment. A trip to Littleborough Lakeside is always a challenge, both geographically and cricketwise, and this week's journey was slightly hampered by the M62 being closed due to someone walking over Scammonden Bridge! Those who have played at Lakeside will recall that motorway bridges play an important role in matches there, with your report writer once stopping the bowler in his tracks as there was "movement behind the arm". The bowler and umpire turned to see what I was pointing at, prompting the follow up "if you can just get those cars to stop moving, that'll be great". A winner every time!

Rowdy Hill 5

The other dominant feature of Lakeside is of course Rowdy Hill. This has gone down in club lore not only as our favourite ever "Rowdy story" but possibly the greatest moment in club history. To keep it brief, poor Phil was so disgruntled one year by his batting and match circumstances that he stormed off and trekked all the way up the hill that runs next to the motorway. In the mid 2000s, Nick Fletcher finally commemorated the event by planting a sign up the hill - wonder if it's still there? The images below detail a little of the magnificent events ...

Rowdy Hill 1

Rowdy Hill 2

Rowdy Hill 3

Rowdy Hill 4

The 3rd thing to note is that winning the toss at Lakeside is also key - Which reminds me of the year I tossed up with a team that wasn't even Lakeside and had turned up at the ground by accident ... I lost the toss obviously, and after some general hilarity involving mistaken identity, then re-tossed with the actual Lakeside captain - and lost again. Thankfully in Big Si we have (predictable tosser gag deleted) ;)

The 1sts batted first and there was a solid start, with Kieran registering the first half century for the 1sts this year, making a composed 62. The top and middle order all chipped in, and thanks to some impetus from Ricky "Minaj" Carr, who smashed 55, the boys closed on "210ish for 6ish" (© Russ Brooks, ever the details man). Given the perennially difficult wicket, that looked to be a very good score indeed, though with several bowlers missing it would still need to be defended.

And defended it was! Si and Asif shared 8 wickets between them, while Birdy provided his usual cameo, taking a wicket with his first ball, which I have heard described in various places as "genius", "criminal" and "bloody awful". Whatever the description, it all counts in the book! Lakeside were restricted to "160ish" (Russ Brooks, again verifying his correct decision to go into the accountancy profession), and thus a great 5 points were secured on a ground where we've often been turned over.

Final words come from Minaj, who summed up his day in a fashion worthy of nomination for the Pulitzer Prize: Horrible wicket, outfield on par with a cow field, 6 drop catches, one of the worst missed runs outs ever seen live or on camera, cold, Sun was in eyes all the time but wouldn't have it any other way.

I Will if You Will Biffaward

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