Quite rightly, much of the club has been strongly focused on preparation for and helping to run Tottington's Big Day Out over the past few weeks, efforts which culminated in a quite spectacular day down at the Meadows on Sunday July 6th. However, the league season is very much hitting a crucial phase and both sides had important games to play this week - and we're delighted to report yet more success, and two cracking games.

On Saturday the firsts hosted Springhead on a scorching day; having lost the toss, Totts took to the field hoping to repeat the early season success and run through the visitors. However, despite a couple of early wickets for Doc and Asif, the visitors made steady progress, the Totts cause not helped by 3 dropped catches in quick succession. Shaw rode his luck and opened up to compile a decent 57 as Springhead got themselves into a strong position of 135-3, but a great last 10 overs of bowling and fielding restricted the visitors to 168-8 when 200+ had appeared likely. Ian Hayes bowled a lovely little spell, and Nick and Doc kept things very tight at the death.

Totts innings got off to a slow but very safe start, with Kieran and Nick Marsh taking us past 50 for the opening wicket. However just when things were looking rosy, three wickets fell. KC had made a very patient 43, but with 100 still needed from the last 20 overs, it was a bit tighter than we'd have liked. Doc and Nelly never looked in much trouble, despite some really good bowling from Springhead's young leg spinner, and put on 60 in pretty quick time. However, both fell to the left armer when the game was racing away from Springhead; Neil was adjudged LBW before Doc departed for 31, bowled by a pearler. With 40 still needed from 10 overs, the game remained in the balance, but this Totts side has plenty of depth. Ian Hayes and Rick Carr, both of whom are in great touch, then came together, with Marshy still to bat. The skipper wasn't needed, as the pair scampered and nudged their way to within 15 before Rick opened up and blasted a 4 and 6 in successive balls to put the game beyond doubt and seal victory with 10 balls to spare.

This was a really good win, and much credit must go to both sides for playing a strongly competitive game in very warm conditions with not a cross word! Springhead have improved immeasurably since we first played them and will only improve further. For Totts there was encouragement in the absence of the Brooks boys, with Mark Kobryn doing a really good job behind the stumps and a really solid batting performance all down the order.

With the 1sts on duty at TBDO on Sunday, Watty's boys travelled to Milnrow to face the league leaders in a top vs 2nd battle. Watty's report follows ...

As the 2’s headed over to Rochdale to clear skies on a day forecast for weather Armageddon, a 1st v 2nd clash was in store with Milnrow. On a batting track which strongly resembled the M62 just a few yards away, it was definitely a bat first day. Unfortunately, Watty lost the toss and quite possibly the will to live when Milnrow’s skipper asked us to field first.

Opening the bowling with Stoney and young Marshy, it was apparent that the wicket was a batsman’s heaven as Milnrow set off like a train, hitting four an over as they really punished the bad ball. The score started to rattle along and was boosted by some generosity from our bowlers, with several no-balls being given as they struggled to get into their bowling stride. As the score progressed into the 30’s, young Marshy struck first as Rob Holt held an effort above his head in the covers; a few overs later he struck again with a real jaffa that jagged back in from well outside off stump to hit middle and off.

A double bowling change followed with the skipper and vice coming on; Rob was quickly into his groove and started rattling the overs off for very few runs, whereas Milnrow took a liking to the skipper; his two chances came when young Nathan almost held a fantastic effort at midwicket which was drilled at him hard and high, and when a huge edge went looping through the slips. After a six over spell, Sail came on and the games complexion began to change – the run rate dropped below 4 an over from both ends, Rob was already well into his collection of wickets for the day as he kept weaving his magic, and Sail had the batsman in knots. After looking set for well over 200 at one point, the innings began to stutter and was wrapped up in 39 overs for 160 runs; Rob finishing on fantastic figures of 6-40 and Sail taking 2 wickets at key times to break partnerships. There was also some excellent work in the field, Danny Ash, Stoney and Nathan particularly shining with sharp ground work and excellent return arms to keep the score low.

After tea, Mick Jones and Stoney came out to open the innings and set about knocking the runs off; Jonesy started cautiously and calmly whereas Stoney put the bad ball away from early on, shot of the day so far was a flick off his legs for four. Progressing at 4 an over, we had made a good start and got into the 20’s before Stoney fell for 14. As Mark Kobe’s arrived at the crease, he was greeted by tight bowling lines from the left arm opener and the run rate began to dry up, in fact, the scoreboard didn’t move for four overs bar the odd single. With ten overs gone and the score just into the 30’s, there was a mini collapse of some descript with Kobes, Mick Durrans and Sail all back in the pavilion in fairly quick succession; Kobe’s with an LB decision, Mick got a real gem of an inswinger which would have removed most facing it, and Sail caught behind trying to score through the point area.

Panic may have inset with the score on 40-4 as Watty got to the crease, but, helped somewhat by the loud cheering from the Totty lads on the side, he quickly settled in and began to score freely, driving well against both openers including an over of 12 which resulted in two bowling changes. As the score passed through the 60’s and 70’s, the game swung back into our favour and Mick Jones began to score more freely, passing into the 20’s without incident. Another bowling change followed, the batsmen were giving no chances as all their shots were on the floor and anything aerial was hit straight back over the bowler’s head. With the score passing 100 and the run rate being above the required, confidence was with Totty – Milnrow could have got back into the game when Watty fell for 38 after a mistimed pull ended up at cover. In his new number 7 spot, Farhan arrived at the crease and looked to settle in well, one of his first scoring shots was a six over midwicket.

As the score passed through 110, 120, and 130, Farhan was pulling the bowling apart and Mickey Jones, who had battled from ball one, was unfortunate not to see the innings through as he fell for 36. Shortly after, Farhan was back in the shed after a hard-hitting, quickfire 26 and two of our juniors, Danny and young Marshy were at the crease. Both played carefully and calmly to settle in, the score kept ticking over as young Marshy played second fiddle to Danny, giving the strike up and shouldering arms when he didn’t need to play. When young Danny smashed a six over cow corner, hysteria almost set in amongst his supporting teammates until disaster struck; he was adjudged LBW and was reluctantly on his way off in shock as he got a huge edge – and, in a real show of sportsmanship, Milnrow’s skipper indicated to the umpire there was an edge and the decision was overturned. The remaining runs were knocked off without incident; Danny finishing with 20odd not out for his highest score for the 2’s and young Marshy with a red inker. Five points in the bag and 1st place regained. Well done fellas!

I Will if You Will Biffaward

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