Mid­dle­ton boost after ri­vals suf­fer

Middleton Guardian - - SPORT - PHILIP HAMNETT

AT the end of a rain af­fected week­end, by a strange se­quence of events Pennine League Cham­pi­onship lead­ers Mid­dle­ton ended up two points bet­ter off with­out bowl­ing a ball.

With pud­dles on the square and a soggy out­field the de­ci­sion was taken at 12.30pm, Satur­day to aban­don the match at Old­ham and two points were awarded to each team.

Mid­dle­ton’s clos­est ri­vals Roy­ton de­cided to hang on un­til 3.30pm in the hope of get­ting a game in against Hollinwood, which they did.

How­ever the form book was ripped up as Hollinwood cruised to a sixwicket win, leav­ing the Moon­rak­ers ten clear with six games re­main­ing.

Coin­ci­den­tally their next fix­ture on Satur­day is against sec­ond-placed Roy­ton with a start time of 1pm.

Mid­dle­ton sec­onds fared no bet­ter with the weather as their fix­ture at Town­croft also fell vic­tim to the soggy con­di­tions, leav­ing the sec­ond team thir­teen points clear, again with six matches re­main­ing.

That just left the third team, cur­rently third in their di­vi­sion to squeeze a game in on the Sun­day.

Un­der the lead­er­ship of wily old skip­per Mark Tier­ney, the Moon­rak­ers won the toss and elected to field.

Mid­dle­ton opened the bowl­ing with two teenage six foot­ers in Aaron Eaves and James Tier­ney who caused the Roy­ton early or­der no end of prob­lems. Par­tic­u­larly the pace of Tier­ney fresh from rep­re­sent­ing Lan­cashire Un­der 17s, as he took three early wick­ets.

Aaron Eaves was also bowl­ing well, bring­ing the ball down from quite a height and was well re­warded with the wicket of Orme well caught by Collins.

At 25 for 4 wick­ets, skip­per Tier­ney changed his bowlers in­tro­duc­ing medium pacer Pete Wood­cock and the quick bowler Dan Stan­ley fresh from Cam­bridge Univer­sity.

Left armer Stan­ley was soon re­warded with the wicket of Thicket lbw.

Slowly, how­ever, the Roy­ton pair Matt Laskey and first teamer Joe Jack­son be­gan a part­ner­ship of sixty runs that took Roy­ton over three fig­ures.

Jack­son even­tu­ally was clean bowled by Stan­ley whilst Laskey at times led a charmed life re­main­ing 60 not out.

Skip­per Tier­ney rang the changes fur­ther and in­tro­duced young­sters Jack Nolan and 13-yearold Harry Aiken­head.

Both bowled very well with leg spin­ner Aiken­head be­ing re­warded with two wick­ets, one clean bowled whilst the other was a smart stump­ing from ag­ile wicket keeper Liam Jack­son.

Even­tu­ally Roy­ton made it to 156-9 off their 40 overs due largely to the in­nings of Laskey.

Mark Tier­ney de­cided to open the in­nings him­self to­gether with promis­ing young­ster Hus­sain Shahid.

Mark hit a quickfire 25 be­fore be­com­ing a vic­tim of 1st teamer Jack­son who was step­ping out for the third team on this oc­ca­sion.

This brought Zain Ul Ahedin to the wicket and he pro­vided a firm base of de­fence as he and Shahid ce­mented the Mid­dle­ton re­sponse and took the score to 74.

At this point Shahid was then bowled for 28 by Jack­son which in­cluded four ex­cel­lently stroked fours. Both Hus­sain and Ahedin look good prospects and will only get bet­ter un­der the ex­cel­lent Mid­dle­ton tu­tor­age.

Shahid was then re­placed by true club man Matt Collins who stroked three well placed fours in a quickfire 17 which pushed the score along nicely to 101 and this brought James “Chippy “Tier­ney to the wicket .

Not in the mood to hang around the 16-year-old Tier­ney pul­verised the Roy­ton bowl­ing to ev­ery an­gle of the ground, six fours and three sixes took him in no time to 42.

One six in par­tic­u­lar landed high on the pavil­ion steps, not quite clear­ing the pavil­ion a feat which has only been achieved once this year by Shaw’s , Jameel Stu­art.

A dev­as­tat­ing in­nings from Chippy meant that the match was won with 13 overs still re­main­ing. A man of the match per­for­mance from young James.

With the sea­son ap­proach­ing its cli­max Mid­dle­ton have plenty to play for on all three fronts, whilst plans are also in place for the Tom Hard­man me­mo­rial game on 8th Septem­ber.

Tom is a much missed Mid­dle­ton player sadly passed away in 2012 at the age of twenty one.

The cur­rent Mid­dle­ton first team will be play­ing a team of Old Mid­dle­ton le­gends in­clud­ing the record run holder Harry Ni­cholls.

Start­ing at 5pm it prom­ises to be a great match fol­lowed by an evenings en­ter­tain­ment from live band 10cclo. Please sup­port this worth­while event with all pro­ceeds to char­ity.

Harry Aiken­head, 13, took two wick­ets

Mid­dle­ton cel­e­brate a wicket

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