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1STS WIN THRILLER AT ELTON VALE TO CAP BUSY WEEKEND

A scorching weekend saw the firsts win an absolute corker at Elton Vale, the 2s remain top despite a narrow defeat to Greenfield, and a fantastic Friday night 20/20 against Greenmount.

Proudly bedecked in brand new snazzy 20/20 kits thanks to Ian Senior, the boys - boosted with a few "big name" recruits for the evening - took on a mix of Greenmount 1sts and 2nds in a 20/20 challenge. The visitors were inserted and were quickly put under pressure as the returning Doc P claimed three wickets in his four overs to get the innings off to a shaky start. Nick Marsh and Nelly kept up the pressure with some tight bowling, and Marshy snaffled a trio of wickets too to keep Greenmount well under par. At 70-7 they were reeling, and despite a few lusty blows towards the end, a score of 109 looked well short.

Watty marched out to open the innings with young Harry Dearden under a little pressure, thanks to some Facebook mischief from Marcus McCheyne during the day - the removal of his stumps first ball just added to the mirth for everyone else. Doc and Harry put on a quick 40 before Dearders was forced to retire! Nelly B then showed flashes of his old self, and with the score at 75, Doc and Nelly were also asked to step down! The innings stuttered briefly before Nick Haynes hit some lusty blows and the mixed Totts side was victorious by 5 wickets with around 6 overs to spare. Celebrations were enhanced by Si's fantastic chilli, and some good company was enjoyed late into the night.

With no game for the 1sts on Saturday, the 2s took centre stage hoping to maintain their impressive start to the season. Greenfield batted first on a lovely track, and marched to 191 in their allotted overs. Totts started promisingly with young Stephen Brooks hitting several boundaries before falling for a rapid 20odd. The top order progressed carefully, and with 12 overs left, the score had reached around 115-3. Unfortunately a collapse hit and with one over to go some 22 runs were still required. Despite launching the first ball for 6, Watty's cheeky late flurry wasn't quite enough - the skipper was left stranded on 30 not out as the final wicket fell off the last ball. Milnrow didn't play so the 2nds retain top spot for now.

On a very hot Sunday the 1sts made a short trip down the road to neighbours Elton Vale, in a game which always proves to be a close contest. Both sides were desperate for the points, the 1sts of course not playing on Saturday while Vale had been hammered at Ashton. Marshy (still apparently feeling the effects of Friday's chilli) won the toss and with a fairly strong batting line up to play with, it looked to be a decisive call. Half an hour later and the innings was in tatters at 24-4, with Kieran, Doc, Nick Marsh and Russ all back in the shed. Rick Carr then stepped up to make a really good 47 before falling to a waist high full toss he could have put anywhere in Bury. With good support from Nelly, Ian Senior and the league's best number 7/8/9 Marshy, the innings looked much more promising until a late flurry of wickets from the ever-reliable Ikram saw us falter to 149 all out.

Would it be enough? With the heat ever more oppressive, Totts took to the field and were very quickly rewarded as Doc bowled Vale skipper Ben Baker who played a very rash shot in just the 2nd over. Despite building some pressure, Vale's number 3 started to smash the ball to all parts, clubbing Doc into the trees and hitting Asif over the pavilion roof! However, there was no panic in the field, and everyone maintained the pressure. Asif then took two quick wickets, including a massive edged catch to Clive that sparked some protests off the field. Everyone calmed down quickly and the game took on a whole new dimension as Big Bird entered the attack. With his usual mix of absolute filth and unplayable deliveries, Birdy claimed 5 wickets as Vale slipped from 90-3 to 113-8. Victory for Totts seemed certain, but with Ali bizarrely relegated to number 9, the home side still had depth in their batting. The score inched over 130 as the bowlers, particularly Asif, toiled manfully. Fielding stayed sharp. Doc came back into the attack and the despair of a boundary turned to joy as he had the number 10 trapped LBW next ball. With 12 still to win, Chris Keyworth entered and manfully resisted everything thrown at him for the next 20 minutes. Asif then finally got his reward with Vale just 5 short, as he bowled Ali to spark celebrations all round.

It was a tremendous performance from the team, with nobody giving an inch, and apart from 10 minutes of silliness the game was played in good spirit and very competitively. Some standout performances from Totts included Rick for his 47, Birdy for some cracking stuff, Ian and Rick in the field, and Asif who somehow bowled 20 overs straight in that heat! Played boys!

I Will if You Will Biffaward

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