History was made at Crompton Meadows on Saturday as Aussie star Meg Phillips became the first female cricketer to appear in the 1st Division of the North Manchester Cricket League. Not only did she add youth and fielding nous to the side, she also contributed with bat and ball as the 1sts completed a comprehensive victory over old rivals ELPM.

Games with the Millers are never easy, and despite the visitors missing one or two players, they made a solid start, keeping Totts down to 16-2 from 11 overs. Kieran got a somewhat iffy LBW call, appearing to hit the ball onto his pad, but that decision was probably balanced out later when Doc, who was in the midst of a game changing innings, looked to be trapped in front but survived!

After the loss of KC and Crabbers, it was up to Nick Marsh and the Doc to rebuild the innings. Nick struggled to get going all day, but Doc was already showing intent, hitting Gav Greaves for an early 6 over long off and putting bad balls away with some regularity. When Nick and Birdy fell in pretty quick succession we were struggling at 70-4, but then Rick Carr entered the fray and the game changed quickly.

With Doc well into his stride now, the score started to accelerate, so much so in fact that 150 runs came in the last 20 overs. Both batsmen were well on top of the bowling, and whichever combinations the visitors tried brought no luck. The batsmen rode their luck a little, with a half chance from Rick put down at midwicket and Doc fortunate to survive an LBW shout from spinner Simon Carr. However, the 4s and 6s were coming with regularity and it was somewhat of a shock when the Doc tamely chipped one to midwicket off Redmond to depart for a well made 98 with just 4 overs remaining.

Enter Meg. The young Aussie was only at the crease for a couple of overs but she showed some intent, all the while watching as Rick went berserk, smashing 4 or 5 sixes in quick succession. Meg became possibly the only Aussie in the history of the world to "walk" on getting out, but skipper Marshy saw the innings to its conclusion. Rick was left unbeaten on a lovely 89 not out as we posted a highly competitive 234-6, a total which appeared especially good since the wicket was showing variable bounce throughout.

A tight start was essential to put the Millers behind the run rate, but things didn't quite go to plan. Millers skipper Wadey is a class act when he's on song, and he despatched Doc into the nets twice and Asif for a huge blow into the lodge as the score raced to 60 inside the first 11 overs. However the introduction of veteran pair Nelly Butt and Russ Brooks spun the game round again. Bird has this quite ridiculous knack of bowling some completely unplayable deliveries mixed with absolute filth, and he followed a shocking full toss first ball with a total peach of a ball to bowl Wadey, the visiting skipper once again falling to the spin after clubbing 46 in very quick time.

Partington was the key wicket for us, and when Bird bowled him a waist high full toss he obligingly hit it way up into the air - Rick Carr managed to stumble 3 or 4 times as he ran in from deep square leg, but caught the ball to put us firmly into the driving seat. Bird repeated the "appalling ball takes wicket" trick a short time later to remove the ever-dangerous bearded wonder Gav Greaves courtesy of a good catch from KC, and when Nelly joined the action to take a couple of wickets, the game was up. 60-1 had become 75-7, and there was just time to give Meg a taste of bowling action before skipper Si Marsh wrapped up the tail. Birdy ended with 5-15 from 10 overs of quite indescribable bowling, with Nelly, Asif and Si chipping in with the rest.

Mention must be made of our catching, which was excellent for once - Rick, Crabbers and Kieran in particular all took good catches in the outfield while Meg and Crabbers added some vitality and drive to complement the usual mix of bad backs and heavy legs! This was a really good win against a perennially tough opponent, who took their defeat in good heart. The game was played in a competitive atmosphere throughout, but always on the friendly side. We wish the Millers well and look forward to resuming our rivalry with them later in the year.


I Will if You Will Biffaward

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