1sts complete Calverley Cup hat-trick

The 1st XI completed a hat-trick of Calverley Cup final wins with a thrilling three run win over arch-rivals Rochdale Catholic Club on a nail-biting afternoon at Thornham. After relatively straightforward victories against Westleigh and Littleborough in the last two seasons, this was just about as close as it gets.

Having won the toss, Nelly elected to bat on a damp wicket. Doc P went early, mistiming a drive, but then Russ and the CDO built a solid partnership to take us into the thirties. When both fell, key batsmen Ash and Carl rebuilt the innings, before Ash fell just as we were looking to accelerate. This year's forgotten man Scunners then played a terrific knock of 32, with two hefty sixes included in his vital innings. With good late order support, we eventually totalled 150 all out, a score we thought was defendable but which would require some good effort to do so!

The Catholic Club innings began at a rush, with Jamie Dell smashing a couple of huge sixes over midwicket to get the scoreboard moving. At 36-0 off 8, we looked right up against it, but then a terrific 10 over burst from Doc P and Ash stopped the innings in its tracks. Doc P removed dangerman Dell, who had a very good game with both bat and behind the stumps, and then Shahid and Mulkeen Snr were contained superbly as Saints put some real pressure on the Catholics.

The introduction of Russ Brooks then proved to be the key moment. Would he produce the sort of form we know he's capable of? The answer was an emphatic yes as "Birdie" continued the stranglehold of the batsmen whilst also nibbling a couple out quickly. As the score reached 101 with 10 overs left the momentum was firmly back with Totts. A couple of big overs then put the game right on a knife-edge and then the skipper introduced Nick Marsh with the Catholics down to a run a ball. Nick held his nerve, Russ ended his spell in style by claiming the vital wicket of big-hitting Mo and when Doc P reentered the fray, the target was 15 off 3. A fantastic run out from Asif then took out dangerman Subby, and with 6 needed off the last 3 balls, Doc kept his nerve to restrict Catholics to just three runs and ensure a hat-trick of cup victories.

After a run of poor defeats to our rivals, this was a fantastic time to break the hoodoo, and surely the Calverley Cup can't have seen many better finishes than that. A marvellous result, and Big Bird was justifiably named man of the match for his 4-16 to accompany his 21 useful runs.

TSJCC would like to thank all the spectators for coming along and giving their support, Thornham for the hospitality, and everyone involved on the day for ensuring that the game went ahead as scheduled in excellent conditions.

I Will if You Will Biffaward

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