Without a cloud in the sky the annual Boxing Day game was played at the picturesque Summerseat home ground of Brooksbottoms cricket club.

Over 100 spectators came and were both entertained by the cricket and the great hospitality. The game was played in a great spirit and a reflection of the top relationship between these two local clubs.

Winning the toss, Brooksbottom’s wily old captain, Brown, did not hesitate in batting first - a decision soon to backfire as early wickets put them under pressure. Opening the bowling for Tottington St. John’s, Eve Whaling (a first for the Boxing Day game - doubled by Daniella Collins also turning out for Totty!) took a brace of early wickets in her two overs - once she had landed a couple!

Wickets continued to fall at the wrong time for Brox and only Ian Collier with 29 put up much resistance. Pick of the bowlers were the Marsh brothers and Captain Watts and Brox were kept to 87 in their 20 overs. Low to medium scores, though, have a tendency to be difficult targets and this proved the case with runs difficult to engineer on a heavy outfield. History was again made by Brett and Daniella Collins (father and daughter) opening the batting for Tottington. The game to’d and fro’d and eventually (despite some spirited fielding from Ryan MacDonald!) Totty needed 10 from the last over with Brooks and Marsh being the last two batters. Ian Collier was again the pick of the Brox bowlers with 3 wickets in his two overs.

With one ball remaining from Brown’s last over and Totty on 82 the game hinged on Marsh being able to hit it for 6. Attempting to hit over point towards the shorter boundary, Marsh held his nerve - but so it seemed had the fielder who plucked the ball from the air, only to step backwards in front of the crowd and put his foot over the boundary. There was more relief than celebration from the Tottington team who now only trail in the series by 4 to 7.

Man of the Match should have gone to Collier - but Chairman Ernill generously gave it to the winning side’s Nick Marsh - much to the amusement of everyone (at the expense of his brother Simon who hit the winning runs).

A great game and day had by all!

Boxing Day cricket history and reports

I Will if You Will Biffaward

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