Classy knock puts paid to Rochdale bid

Middleton Guardian - - LEISURE - ALIS­TAIR BOLINGBROKE

AKBAR Rehman, Cromp­ton’s Pak­istani pro­fes­sional, made a sump­tu­ous and en­thralling un­de­feated cen­tury at Glebe Street on Satur­day and led his team to a four-wicket vic­tory over Rochdale.

His was in­nings played in clas­si­cal fash­ion. No ugly slogs nor in­dis­crim­i­nate re­verse sweeps.

Just au­then­tic bat­ting, find­ing gaps and only hit­ting the ball as hard as it was nec­es­sary.

And he kept it on ground. Apart from once when he was dropped at gully as the game en­tered its fi­nal and cru­cial stage.

Dale had been ex­pected to win this one, par­tic­u­lar as Cromp­ton were with­out four key play­ers.

And for nearly three quar­ters of the game, noth­ing hap­pened to al­ter this pre­dic­tion. Bat­ting first they trav­elled along at al­most 6 runs per over, and al­though the in­tro­duc­tion of Rehman and Andrew Yates into the at­tack slowed things down a lit­tle thay were still hand­ily placed at 110 for 1 at the half way stage of their in­nings.

Jack Avery and pro­fes­sional Henry Cooper had put on 77 for the sec­ond wicket, but on the re­sump­tion Avery edged Yates to the wick­et­keeper, and a fur­ther drop in mo­men­tum fol­lowed.

How­ever, Cooper found a will­ing ally in Kelton Aughey and these two pushed the score past the 200 mark. Cooper fell in the last over just seven short of a maiden cen­tury.

Still, 222 seemed de­fend­able, de­spite the favourable bat­ting con­di­tions, and when Michael Har­ling ac­counted for Yates and Stephen Wright Cromp­ton were wob­bling.

Si­mon Wright helped Rehman to shore things up, but wick­ets con­tin­ues to fall reg­u­larly and at 120 for 6, and Cromp­ton need­ing more than six an over the game ap­peared to be done and dusted.

But Rehman had been calmly and un­spec­tac­u­larly ac­cru­ing runs and in Alan Good he found a more durable part­ner. Nor was Good con­tent to play merely a pas­sive role, as he de­nied Dale’s at­tempts to keep him on strike.

Dale were un­able to con­tain ei­ther bats­man and Rehman led his team home with a com­fort­able two overs to spare.

A sur­prise de­feat for Rochdale then, but on this ev­i­dence, and when they re­turn to full strength, Cromp­ton are likely to rain on other pa­rades.

Rochdale pro­fes­sional Henry Cooper

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