After back to back wins, hopes were high for a weekend double header, but the 1sts went down both days in near-identical fashion to Catholic Club and then ELPM.

Saturday's visitors Rochdale Catholic Club hadn't played a competitive game in 2012 and the ring rust showed early on as Asif and Marshy kept things tight on a tricky batting surface. With Big Bird also showing impressive control, most of the Catholics middle order fell away, with only veteran Mulkeen Snr sticking around for a long time to compile a handy innings. At 120-9, Totts were firmly in conrol but a catastrophic missed run out cost us dear, with the number 9 batter hitting 43 runs in quick order, having been missed on 0. A final score of 154 all out would prove a challenging target - plaudits on the bowling front went to Russ, with his first 5 wicket haul of the season.

After 11 overs of the reply, we were cruising at 36-1, with Duncan and KC looking in control, but a clatter of wickets followed, with the injured Doc and Big Marshy falling to very untypical dismisals. Kieran batted excellently for his 45, but with very little support from the top and middle order. Late hitting from Craig and Clive induced some alarm in the Catholics ranks, but a needless run out put paid to any slim victory hopes. The innings ended at 116, with Mo Tayab impressing as ever with 7 wickets.

Sunday's cup game with ELPM followed a very similar - if infinitely more jovial - pattern. Again, the visitors batted first and were put under the cosh with some very tight bowling. The Marsh brothers in particular were frugal, with just 31 runs coming from their 16 overs; Doc was forced to bowl spin and returned decent figures of 1-28, but from a relatively weak position of 88-5 with just 8 overs left, the younger Greaves and ELPM's keeper somehow bludgeoned 93 runs at the death to set a stiff target of 181. Once again some missed stumpings and dropped catches cost us dearly as the pressure went on.

With the wicket proving slightly easier to bat on, we still fancied our chances, but some very tight bowling from the ELPM attack kept us under wraps, and 3 quick wickets from Wadey put ELPM firmly in control at 44-5. With Doc and Marshy at the crease runs were tight but hope remained, but when both fell to identical dismissals, chopping wide balls from Matty Partington onto the stumps, the game was up. Young Ry Marsh bravely held out for a bit, but the innings was wrapped up for a very disappointing score of around 90.

With a weeks break head, injuries to heal and players to return, let's hope May picks up after this poor start!

I Will if You Will Biffaward

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