Saturday's cricket was completely washed out - not because of the weather but almost certainly because Doc P was available ... that's now 6 weeks the poor Dr hasn't picked up bat or ball in any sane cause! However Sunday dawned fairer, and the 2nds were involved in a thrilling cup match at Ashton. Skipper Watty provides the report ...

After the total washout of Saturday’s home fixture to Walshaw, the 2nd XI travelled around the M60 to Ashton Ladysmith for the 2nd round of their Hunter Cup campaign. The weather looked surprisingly pleasant and the square in fairly good condition, top marks to the Ashton lads for the effort they put in to get a result, as opposed to a bowl out or coin toss.

Skipper Watty won the toss and decide to bat first, and the Totts innings got off to a slow but steady start with Mick Durrans and the returning George Green cautiously knocking the ball around; Ladysmiths' captain Tony Spafford was bowling on the spot and was ably supported throughout the innings by his other bowlers.

With the score in the late teens, the first wicket fell as Mick was given out LBW to one that kept low, and he was followed fairly quickly by Mark and then George. Sail and Adrian stuck around a little while before three quick wickets fell, Sail, debutant Kelvin second ball and the skipper were all back in the shed, Watty finding the fielders in the covers four times with drives before chipping the simplest of catches back to the bowler. The Totty innings closed shortly after, with rash shots from young Marshy, Craig Parky and Bean leaving Berto Holt with his traditional red-inker from the number 10 spot. A score of 60 wasn’t what was hoped for, or expected – but, as Sail said, "It’s never over til it's over".

As Ashton came out to chase the paltry score down, Watty opened the bowling with Ryan Marsh and Kelvin - Ashton were ticking along at two runs an over and when Marshy struck in the 9th over to make the score 18-1, the task at hand was nothing short of mammoth.

However, a double bowling change saw the skipper replace Ryan and Berto replace Kelvin after an economical start to his TSJ career, the game soon started to swing ever so slightly in our favour. Appeals were coming in thick and fast from the skippers end as pressure started to mount on Ashton’s batting line up. The run rate dried up, Watty had removed the number 3 along with his leg stump, and as the teams disappeared for rain, the game was still very much anyone’s to win or lose.

A turning point could have been when Bean dropped a catch off Rob at cow corner, at 34-4 Ashton were tottering on the edge and this may have been their break… unfortunately, Rob bowled the batsman two balls later and with the score at 36-5, Totty were firmly in the driving seat. A few balls after, Bean made amends for his drop with a sensational reflex catch at square leg off Watty, an effort which left everyone in shock and there may have been a hint of belief that the game was almost won at 37-6. And, in typical Rob style, he took another two wickets in quick succession to leave Ashton on the brink at 42-8 – as the skipper replaced himself with Sail at the School End, just a single wide was added to the score as Sail took two in two balls to wrap the game up and start mass celebrations on the field.

Marathon effort all round in the field, excellent bowling from all but especially a superb return for Berto (5 wickets for just 8 runs off 7 overs!!!), a match-changing catch from Bean and some solid work from young Josh keeping the byes down to a minimum, another semi final appearance and in the box seat to make a push on the Division 4 title. Well done lads!

I Will if You Will Biffaward

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