Sands are blasted in defeat
WILL Affleck is aiming to bring the success he is currently enjoying in Australia over to Trafalgar Road when he arrives in the United Kingdom next spring.
The Parramatta batsman helped his club win its prestigious first-grade competition for the first time in 53 years in 2017-18 and he is now hoping to have a comparable impact on Southport and Birkdale’s fortunes in the ECB Premier League.
But 31-year-old Affleck knows it will not be easy.
His brother played in the Liverpool Competition two decades ago and he is under no illusions about the size of the task facing him.
The encouraging thing for S&B supporters, however, is that the chance to help Chris Firth’s team prosper in a tough division has only sharpened the Australian’s appetite.
“Everything I have been told by cricketers who play or have played in the Liverpool Competition strengthens my impression it is a strong league with some high quality grounds,” he said. “I’ve only heard great things about S&B; that it’s a club with quality people who ensure your time is memorable.
“The opportunity as an experienced player to assist some of their younger batsmen and the opportunity to learn from a few of the experienced cricketers in the side was a big driver in my decision to come over.
The team is coming off a positive season in 2018 and I am sure there is a great feeling there at the moment. It will be encouraging to be a part of that next season.”
Affleck’s enthusiasm and his readiness to help younger players were no doubt important influences on S&B’s decision to recruit a cricketer who has played over a hundred first-grade matches.
Firth’s team has needed an older head to organise the middle-order batting for a few years now and if Affleck can fill that role, his influence will be felt long after next season.
His zest for the game has clearly overwhelmed the cynicism which occasionally characterizes the outlook of experienced players.
“Simply put, I love playing cricket and while I am still young and fit enough I want to play as much as I can,” he said. “My father, who played first-grade for Parramatta, and my three brothers are cricketers. It’s a big part of our lives and it’s in our blood.
“I have had a great time playing in North Wales and Sussex on previous trips to the UK and I wanted another opportunity to play in England. It’s a great country, I get to meet wonderful people and enjoy a different experience of life among people who love cricket just like I do.
“My ambitions are obviously to do well myself by scoring a lot of runs but I also enjoy sharing my knowledge with the younger players and take pride in helping my club prosper.”
On top of all that it has not escaped Affleck’s notice that there are five Ashes Tests taking place next summer and some of his new colleagues at S&B may be interested to note that their new team mate has played with or against many of the players likely to be featuring in that series.
“I’m definitely looking forward to the Ashes,” he said.
“It will be interesting to see how the Australian team get themselves ready for that after the disruptions and changes that have occurred over the recent year. I’ll certainly be looking to get to a Test or two and hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to do a little respectful bragging with some Aussie success and a series win.” IN Division One of the Southport and Formby Quiz League, congratulations to Dismounted who achieved their first victory since their promotion in beating Shifting Sands 39-27 with Frank Hansen 18 and Steve Watson 13 leading the way.
Casablanca returned to winning ways with a 46-40 defeat of Devonshire Club after a match of fluctuating fortunes.
Dave Dutton 19 and Chris Sumner 11 led for the Formby side and
Dave Leyland 18 and Brian Cummins 10 for the visitors.
Fishermen’s Rest again played very well at home to Formby Sports but the latter won the last round 9-5 to finish 53-48 ahead led by good scoring from Gary Buxton 18, Sheila Tickle 17 and Keith Gowans 14 with John Ashcroft 17, Steve Murphy 12 and Dave Tarr 10 leading for the “Fish”. Wings led from the third round and steadily drew away to finish 51-35 ahead at E Street Band with good scoring from Tom Farley 19, Dag Griffiths 15 and Maurice Wright 11 with Alan Wright leading the reply with a fine 20.
In Division Two, led by Claire Newbery 24 and Bill Morris 13, Mixed Blues had a comfortable 51-26 victory over MPs with Sara Gaskill 10 leading the reply to establish a two point lead over Exams who lost a close encounter with Formby Pavilion 33-31, Ged Gallagher 13 leading for the visitors and Brian Waggett and Steve James, both 11, for Exams.
Vikings moved level with Exams with their 37-28 defeat of ExPats led by Christine Vasey 14 and Leo Tobin 11 leading the reply.
Quads remain in touch with the leaders after their 45-40 victory at Southport FC led by
Steve Redfern 19 and Barbara Farbon 11 with Geoff Wilde 14 and Mick Hopkins and Paul Hill, both 10, for the football club.