Sands are blasted in de­feat

Southport Visiter - - Past Times - BY PAUL ED­WARDS BY TOM FAR­LEY

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.

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