Reuben's Reports (a precis of the Under 15s)


Defeat for U15s as QEGS Horncastle conclude tour with three wins from three (14/7/16)

A young U15 side welcomed QEGS Horncastle to New Horwich Park to conclude their Derbyshire tour. For the second time in two years, QEGS Horncastle were victors, winning by 53 runs after posting a commanding 110-7 in their 20 overs.

Despite the seven wickets, there was little cheer for the Whaley Bridge bowlers. Nevertheless, the side showed marked fight, and against strong opposition, did well to avoid embarrassment. David McCann was excellent with the bat, persevering for over 40 minutes to score a fluent and yet tenacious 22. McCann was orchestrator of the Whaley Bridge chatter – a particularly pleasing outcome of his 11 U15 caps. This will be valuable come next season.

There were more promising signs for next year. Zac Madden was impressive; bowling the ball in good areas, and finishing not out after a 20-ball vigil. Debutants Chris Dranfield and Nathan Hunter both performed well with the ball, and although Hunter was run-out without facing, should take heart from a solid first performance.

Our running was kamikaze, and both McCann and Heyes were culpable – running out Bushaway and Hunter respectively. Bushaway and Heyes had earlier formed a solid partnership. Both batted well, and faced strong U14 bowling with confidence. Heyes looked particularly assured. But it was with the keeping gloves that Heyes was most impressive, where – having taken over from David McCann at around the 10-over mark – he claimed three stumpings, and assisted in (I think) two run-outs. Heyes now has remarkable statistics in the field this season: three catches, three run-outs, and three stumpings.

Dranfield (2-1-3-3), now with 8 wickets for the U13s and U15s, and Mackie O’Boyle (2-0-7-1) were the beneficiaries of Heyes’ firm glove-work, each only having two overs as the bowling was split evenly. Ed Diamond also shone (pun intended and now never to be used again). His lustre came as little surprise, having taken 4 wickets at just 5.5 runs apiece before tonight’s game.

We were let down in the bowling department by the extras: 22, including 16 wides. This, along with running between the wickets, is an area which makes a big difference. Our fielding was reasonable, but the opposition were allowed too many singles. Still, two run outs does suggest that we hampered this well. McCann and Dranfield were again the suppliers – Dranfield in particular was magnificent in the field. Bushaway too took a good catch.

Despite the loss, this was a solid effort. Our opponents were noticeably far bigger – the school’s nutritionist should be proud (or sacked for malpractice). Almost certainly the former. QEGS played a very good game, and were deserving winners. Finally, special mention goes to Jim Hull, the Diamonds, and Zach Mason, all of whom made the effort to play when it could have been easier to not. Supporting your team in such a way is the essence of team sport, and when such dedication is present, any side can go a long way. There is a strong foundation for next year.


Ten-wicket massacre at New Horwich Park but no room for complacency (27/6/16)

As with any massacre, one side will be celebrating, the other reeling. Tonight is no exception. Hawk Green were bowled out for 56, before George Holden (31*) and Alex Dickman (20*) knocked off the runs in 9.2 overs to inflict a 10-wicket rout. Our boys deserve to celebrate. Few teams have ever boasted of beating Hawk Green by 10 wickets, and this U15 side boasts an extremely talented set of players. Great victories are not conducive to humility, but our lads were both professional and respectful throughout. This is pleasing, and going forward as a club, important.

According to many, the Aztecs viewed time as being cyclical. This is in contrast to the capitalist conception of time, whereby it is linear and progressive. Hawk Green – and Hayfield alike – will have inflicted many a massacre onto opposition teams, and yet in the space of seven days, each have been slain by our U15s. In some ways, this reflects a cycle. Whaley have not been strong for ever; this is our third generation of formidable talent. Hawk Green themselves have had innumerable generations of ability. For them, this is no doubt a rut: in several years’ time, theirs will probably be a dangerous U15s side.

During the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Imperial Japanese Army are said to have killed as many as 300,000 people in the Nanking Massacre. Seven years later, atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and around 185,000 people were killed. This time the Japanese were themselves on the end of a massacre (interestingly Wikipedia doesn't consider Hiroshima and Nagasaki massacres, but that’s a different story). What goes around, as they say, comes around.

It is the U11s who eventually become Compstall Cup-winning U17s; it is the U11s who eventually become Binns Trophy-winning U15s. In times of prosperity, this can be overlooked. Perhaps this is why the fortunes of junior teams come in such a cyclical way. At this point I think it prudent to thank all those who have been working at the base of the club for the last decade: Mike Madden, Andrew Gibson, Charlie Holden, Stuart Milner, and probably many more. It is their often thankless work that results in later years’ dividends, and it is not immediately apparent. Starting out five years ago, this side lost all but one of their matches (I think I heard – correct me if I’m wrong). Five years later, they have won six from six, the foundations for which were laid back then.

We should savour these sweet times, but be cautious of what lies ahead. This is no sleight towards our younger teams. In them are some fabulous players: the U13s contain several stalwarts of the U15s, and the U11s too have some fine players. Complacency, as may be seen in the wake of the referendum (another different story), will be our greatest enemy. We want to maintain a capitalist linear progression, not suffer an Aztecian rut. This is a challenge for all clubs, and is probably impossible.

There was no complacency tonight, though. Our bowling and fielding was ruthless. In fact, our fielding was near perfect. Ed Webster was impregnable at backward point. Where sometimes Ed has been found wanting, tonight he was faultless. Dan Bushaway took a good catch; Tom Heyes was unfortunate with what would have been the catch of the season. Our bowling was suffocating. Although L. Young retired, it took him 49 balls (the final two scoring him 8 runs). The Hawk Green batsmen were positive in looking to rotate the strike, but the Bridge fielders were simply too sharp.

Crick (4-1-8-1) was hostile; Holden (4-1-7-3) containing. The Hawk Green batsmen were brave. Year 5 J. Skelton, saw down 19 balls against the likes of Crick and Weston (the division’s best two pace bowlers), until he was uprooted by Dan Bushaway’s first delivery. Heyes and Wester were both economical, each picking up a wicket, and David McCann was again impressive.

There was no mistake with the bat. Dickman and Holden rotated the strike dominantly – a mark of this opening pair’s continued confidence. As shown by Hazel Grove’s openers of Wilkinson and Hall, mutual understanding and diligence brings about big results. Dickman and Holden – with the added gift of bags of natural ability – are finally developing this as a pair. Holden was initially shaky,  but finished with flamboyance, slaughtering L. Young out of the ground for a gigantic six, before reaching retirement with the final two balls of the game. But while Holden was struggling, Dickman took command, ensuring that the runs flowed and the pressure on his opening parter eased. Dickman has been exceptional with the bat this year. The match finished with aplomb, and we go into our final match on July 4 at Dove Holes with confidence.


Dominant Whaley record 78-run victory (21/6/16)

One hundred years ago next Friday, the Battle of the Somme began. The bloodiest battle of WW1, there were over one million casualties across both on sides. But at Hayfield, bloodshed was to occur only on one side, as, after declaring, the Whaley Bridge battalion ransacked the opposition for just 52, powering to a 78-run victory.

Holden and Dickman set the tone for what was to be a domineering display. After 2 overs, Whaley were 28-0, and the first of three Hayfield balls had already been lost. George made his third consecutive retirement, and so began his mission to parity with brother Henry, in his first U15 innings since the latter’s maiden 1XI century.

Elms replaced Holden after 6.4 overs, and after a very sensible start, bludgeoned his way to retirement, with two consecutive sixes to bring up the holy grail of 35. Notably, his and Alex Dickman’s running between the wickets was excellent, and nicely supplemented the powerful hitting. Dickman was yet again unfortunate, this time falling on 28, the first of T. Brook’s three pee-roll victims.

Crick, Heyes and Webster all fell to Brooks, as he finished with 4-6 off 2. Will Weston found some form, making 12 off 14 balls, before he chipped the ball in the air to give a simple catch. Mason and Bushaway were solid, but with the threat of rain, we declared after 18 overs, giving the bowlers optimal time to bowl out the opposition.

Alas, the benchmark for victory against Hayfield is now that of our U17s, when on June 9 2014, Goldfinch, McIlveen and Holden, G. bowled the opposition out for a mere 8 runs (we conceded almost double that today in extras). Holden, with I’m sure fond memories of this humiliation, set about annihilation, and the fine opening pair of Crick and Weston started aggressively. Weston in particular was magnificent. Bowling fast, full and straight, he removed both Hayfield openers. Especially pleasing was his dismissal of Noakes – Hayfield’s best batsman – for just 12. These are the types of player we need to be dismissing on a regular basis.

The game was always out of reach for Hayfield, and the wickets were shared. Debutant Jim Hull took his first wicket, ultimately well caught by a floundering Will Weston. Weston also claimed a fine run-out, shattering the stumps of Hayfield’s number 5. It was left to Ed Webster to complete a comprehensive victory, as within 4 balls, he had taken the remaining two wickets to seal a fifth straight win.

Comfortable though it was, the Whaley fielding did not slacken. David McCann, with the opposition 7 down and requiring over 80 to win, threw himself into a full length forward dive going for the catch. This is the kind of attitude that bodes well for Thursday’s visit of Hawk Green, and when games are tougher, will make the difference between defeat and victory. 


Whaley 2-run victors in nail-biter at Church Road (6/6/16)

Some victories are undeniably sweeter than others. This was one of the sweetest. With both teams having won three from three, one team would be leaving in misery. That team was New Mills. One ball remaining: two to tie, three to win. Tom Heyes the bowler. It was the perfect delivery. Full and straight; the batsman was helpless. In vain they tried to make a single. It was to no avail. Heyes collected the ball, and Lamakin-Roger’s stumps were in tatters. Our fourth run out of the evening sparked joyous scenes, and the U15s’ march continued.

Once more it was a fantastic team effort, led brilliantly by captain Alex Dickman. With the bat Dickman was scintillating, only to be run-out 4 shy of retirement. Dickman was impervious to the pressure of the situation as captain. The bowling changes made were excellent: in the first over of each of their spells, both Will Weston and David McCann took wickets.

McCann skittled the dangerous Oliver Kilner for 10 with just 11 runs required off 11 deliveries, but number 3 J. Gregory was still at the crease. New Mills tried to take singles, but Whaley were just too sharp in the field. First to fall was Gregory, run out by the outstanding Heyes. The two danger men gone. But only 9 runs were needed for victory. Ward and Kelly together. They took the score to 104. Two balls remaining. Ward sliced the ball to third man. He attempted a second run, but Mikey Gilmour raced around on the boundary and made a perfect throw in to Dickman, who gratefully removed the bails. The rest, as they say, is history.

Tom Heyes showed fantastic character to bowl the last two overs – as did David McCann to take the penultimate. McCann also contributed strongly in the field, running out number 5 J. Turner with a direct hit to wrestle back some of the ascendency. With three overs to go, the game could have gone either way. Four wickets fell in this time, three of them run out. This is testament to the excellent pressure exerted by the two bowlers. Heyes’ contribution with the bat was also valuable. His unbeaten 12 in partnership with the lower middle order added 40 runs to our total.

This came after Tom Crick produced the most magnificent display of belligerence, battering just 16 balls on his way to a match-winning 30. The context of his innings is most impressive. Arriving at the crease in the tenth over with the score on just 37, his knock changed the momentum of the match. This shift was palpable, as within just two to three overs of Crick’s dominance, there was silence around Church Road. Again this is where we were superior. Our heads remained high throughout the whole of the New Mills innings, confident in the quiet assurance of our own ability.

With the ball Crick also shone. Having not been at his best against Birch, this performance was manically good. His 4 overs went for just 12, and he also removed New Mills’ star performer, Sam Kilner, caught behind by Dickman for 9. This was his and Will’s challenge: to dislodge the very best batsman. On a slow pitch, Gilmour replaced Weston after two overs. His 3 overs were excellent, and deserving of a wicket. He varied his flight decidedly, with even retiree Owen Peatfield bamboozled. Meanwhile, Ed Webster was wreaking havoc. His first three overs went for just 4 runs. He was untouchable. After a promising start for New Mills, Webster’s spell harnessed control of the match back to us. Ed is a man for the big occasion. His two finest spells for the U15s have come in pressure situations: tonight and in last year’s league final.

This was an outstanding victory. Credit must also go to New Mills, who played their part in a fantastic game. Next Monday it is the turn of Hazel Grove, 1 or maybe 2 run victors in last year’s league final. We welcome back Derbyshire duo Harry Elms and George Holden to the side, and look forward to a competitive game.


Heyes outstanding as six-man Whaley put Birch Vale to the sword (2/6/16)

Tom Heyes played the leading role as the six men of Whaley Bridge defeated Birch Vale by 9 wickets. Birch Vale were bowled out for 53, before Dickman (29*) and Heyes (16*) put on 43 to spearhead an improbable victory.

No less than 20 players were unavailable during this half-term week, however confidence amongst the elder players was still high. It is becoming a repetitive theme of these match reports, but the attitude within this side is fantastic. The belief in each other carried the side through.

Birch Vale began strongly. Derbyshire Development player Kallis Hyde hit the ball very well behind square, and although captain-for-the-day Dickman spread the field, Hyde had retired in a matter of overs. Birch generously lent two fielders, and ensured that our fielding was not as farcical as it might have been. Nevertheless, two chances came our way and both were taken, each snaffled by Tom Heyes off debutant Ben McIlveen and captain Dickman. Heyes claimed the first three wickets himself, clean bowling numbers 2 to 4. A nonchalant one-handed catch followed, before Heyes finished his one-man show with a contemptuous run-out – beating the batsman in a race to the stumps. Whaley were left requiring 54 runs for victory.

Having only six batsman, 54 runs was no easy target. Dickman and Crick opened the batting, but Crick was bowled for 3, sending Tom Heyes to the crease. His first ball was hit straight back to the bowler. A difficult chance. Dropped. Heyes went on to torment the bowler – who he had already bowled for nought – dispatching him for 4 and then a big 6, finishing on 16*. At the other end, Dickman showed magnificent poise, calmly engineering the Whaley run-chase. Dickman ran excellently between the wickets – as did Heyes – and made the victory far more comfortable.

It is a sign of a brilliant team that players can still step up when needed. Eight regulars were missing, but the job was still completed ruthlessly. There is no reliance on anybody. It would be naïve of me to only pay praise Tom Heyes for this victory: without any one of Alex Dickman, Tom Crick, Zach Mason, Zac Madden or Ben McIlveen, this great triumph would not have been accomplished.


Whaley too strong for Chapel in 69-run victory (16/05/16)

As any avid reader of the DCCL match reports section will know, each week’s round up begins with homage to the day’s weather. With this in mind, I would like to give my thanks to Dan Crick, scorer on this deceptively cold night. Thanks also go to Keith Webster, and all those who often help out on match days.

Whaley Bridge travelled to Chapel, a fixture which in recent years has been a formality. After 6 overs of the Whaley innings, the score had passed 60 for no loss, and history – as I’m sure Dan Bushaway’s dad could testify – looked destined to repeat itself. Enter off-spinner J. Lomas. George Holden, who captained excellently on the day, had just retired with one of his streakier 30s, and Alex Dickman and Harry Elms were at the crease. Elms was first to fall, caught well on the long-on boundary by Lomas’s opening partner, J. Gyte. A crescendo followed, as first Weston, then Crick and Webster all fell to the mystery of Chapel-en-le-Frith’s Ravindra Jadeja (or Whaley Bridge’s Eddie Ford – you pick).

Stuart Milner, who due to his untimely departure (7 minutes later than planned I hasten to add) at 1907, unfortunately missed his old side crumble into the Chapel dirt. Number 4 Mikey Gilmour was the only middle order batsman to offer any resistance, battling 40 minutes for a dogged 16. The remaining 7 batsman could only muster 21 runs between them, and Whaley were bowled out for 117.

A response was required in the second innings, and to Whaley’s credit, this was forthcoming. Tom Crick, who had earlier been adjudged LBW first ball, began the Whaley Bridge show, dismissing both Lomas and H. Beale for 0 with devilish slower balls. Crick bowled with genuine pace, and combined with his tight lines, was too much for the Chapel top order. Unlike last year when Crick was ordered to maintain his ferocious speed at the Chapel tail, George Holden decided to rotate the bowling, and all 10 outfielders again had at least 1 over. The attitude in the field was excellent once more.

Despite resistance from captain Gyte (33*) – who had already taken 3 catches to cap off a fine personal performance – Chapel were bowled out for 48, as Ed Diamond took the final three wickets in the 20th over. Mikey Gilmour had himself dropped three catches, but again bowled well. Harry Elms regained the pace that makes him one of the DCCL’s most threatening bowlers (one second while I hide my laptop at Levensulme train station), and Tom Heyes again impressed – with ball and bat. It was fitting that it was Diamond who sealed the match, one in which all three U13s again did very well.

Whaley won the match by an impressive margin, and there are notable improvements on last week, but the middle order will have to show much greater resolve with the bat if we are to maintain a strong start to the season. The next match is on June 2, at home to Birch Vale.


Whaley break Buxworth resistance in season opener (9/05/16)

Whaley Bridge hammered their way to victory in the season opener at home to Buxworth. Batting first, Buxworth made a commendable 78-3, before Holden and Elms commanded the match to ensure victory with 11.2 overs to spare.

Debuts were given to Zac Mason and Ed Diamond, and both acquitted themselves very well. Diamond dismissed the impressive J. Winfield (24) thanks a questionable Alex Dickman catch, while Zac Mason guided Whaley to victory with the bat. David McCann, also U13, bowled a good over and was unlucky not to get a wicket.

Whaley appeared rusty after a long winter break, and struggled to break the 72-run Winfield brother partnership. The Buxworth batsmen rotated the strike well, combining good running with powerful stroke play. It wasn’t until the 18th over when Whaley claimed their second wicket, as Ed Webster got out J. Stewart to a Will Weston catch. Weston, opening the bowling with Tom Crick, had already taken the day’s first wicket, removing L. Barnett with the second ball of the evening.

There is certainly more to come from this Whaley bowling unit. Nevertheless, positives can be taken from the resolve shown today. The spirit in the field was encouraging; a facet which can easily be forgotten in a team containing strong individuals. Furthermore, there have been notable individual improvements: the spin of Gilmour has improved remarkably over the winter; Tom Heyes is becoming a strong U15 pace bowler; and Will Weston, fresh from his 1XI debut on Sunday, is excelling.

Whaley were ruthless with the bat, thwarting any early nerves after Dickman was skittled for 0 by Caleb Winfield. Following on from 114 runs across the weekend, Dickman failed to cash in, but the fitness levels he showed to keep wicket for the second time in three days were impressive. Elms showed very strong discipline with the bat, an area of his game which was perhaps lacking last season. Still, his outstanding capacity for destruction remains, and his 31* provided the crowd with good entertainment. Captain George Holden was equally measured, as he too retired on 32*, finishing with a fine 6. It was left to Gilmour and Mason to guide the run chase home. Mason was solid, while Gilmour timed the ball nicely. Victory was confirmed in 8.4 overs: an impressive effort and a good marker of intent for the season to come.

There will be sterner tests this season, but this side is still capable of playing at another level. Regardless, the thirst for victory in the team is palpable. This reflects a promising shift over the last year. When this hunger is combined with support for all your teammates – as it was today – then there is the potential for a very successful season.



Destructive Holden smashes Whaley into final (12/07/15)

So we met again, and for the third time this season, horns would be locked in a titanic South group contest. It was a wet morning, and winning the toss, captain George Holden elected to bowl first.

It proved to be a brilliant decision, and galácticos David Oldfield, Alex Hawley and Harry Griffin were each dismissed cheaply by some fantastically tight bowling from Will Weston (4-0-16-1) and Harry Elms (4-0-15-2); as well as some great field placings and catching from George. The Buxton Massive quietened down, and our tails were up. As a side note, it is pleasing to see David starring in the Buxton first team, and to see Alex knocking on the first-team door with 62 on Saturday for the seconds.

Harry missed out on 3-fer as Fran Slater was dropped at mid-off, just before we agreed to go off for rain. After the break, Manusha Wettasinghe was reintroduced to the attack, and immediately made the breakthrough by dislodging Slater for 10.

Much like ourselves, Buxton had batting to come, and were difficult to suppress. Tom Lisser batted with exceptional maturity for his 30, and along with C Smith (18), was able to guide Buxton to some respectability.

George Holden came on for the final four overs from the Levenshulme Road end, and after dislodging the effective C Smith, made light work of cleaning up the Buxton tail. Buxton finished on 94ao, a score which was never likely to be enough.

Alex Dickman and Sammy Chong opened the batting, and got us off to an exceptional start, each looking marvellously composed at the crease. The run rate started to slow, and attempting to force the initiative, Dickman was trapped LBW by the brilliant Slater for 23.

At the other end, Fred Smith was causing havoc. Sammy was first to fall, mistiming a slower ball to Griffin at mid-off, before Harry once again disregarded the opposition’s field placings, smashing the ball straight to Hawley at long-on.

Manu came and went, bowled by Slater attempting an audacious flick. This brought George to the crease, whose previous high-score against Buxton was 14. With Whaley’s hopes of reaching the final resting on his thirteen-year-old shoulders – and with the run rate climbing towards 8-an-over – he seized control. D Capell was unfortunately on the receiving end of George’s destruction, and I truly hope that he will recover quickly. He persisted with his aims which takes bottle, but bowling with the short boundary on George’s leg-side, he fed the carnage. George smashed 28 off the over – just falling short of a remarkable 30-run over with a one-bounce 4 – and retired, leaving us 2 runs to win. Tom Crick – who had already bowled well – guided the runs through the vacant slip region, and Whaley were into the final.

Buxton’s players were a fantastic credit to their club, and were kindly congratulatory of our success at the end. I’d be surprised if it were long before four of this team were in their firsts, as Fran Slater is as good as any left-arm off-spinner I have seen in the first division (with the notable exception of Eddie Ford, of course).

I hope that complacency wasn't the cause for their defeat, as even without new signings Manusha and Sammy, we have a team capable of pushing them a very long way.

Junior cricket is about the development of players, and this is sometimes forgotten. Hazel Grove is not Wembley, and Buxton are not Real Madrid. Although nice, the Binns Trophy needn’t be a mark of a team’s success.

Buxton have developed a fantastic squad, and although this sounds patronising, should consider themselves winners. In a few years’ time, their seniors – which may include five of this year’s team – will be winning trophies.

Before I finish, I’d also like to thank Tom Griffin and Buxton’s previous umpire for their impartial decision-making. Of the four wicket-initiating decisions Tom and I made, each was against our own team, and I think it marvellous that such an important match can be regulated so diligently.

Whaley humiliated as QEGS Horncastle inflict rout (11/07/15)

With the potential for some of our boys to be playing seven Whaley matches in five days – and safe in the knowledge that QEGS only had three or four good cricketers – I had no qualms about resting George Holden, Harry Elms, and Manusha Wettasinghe before their senior games, and would not permit Will Weston to bowl due to his heavy workload.

Captain for the day Alex Dickman won the toss, and elected to bat first. Mikey Gilmour and Will Weston opened the batting, and despite not rotating the strike as well as they can, got us off to a solid start. Oliver Bolland opened the bowling, and at the end of his run-up was practising his action. This suggested a lack of confidence, but he bowled 4 fantastic overs that only went for 9 runs. If this is somebody who is fresh to cricket, I would strongly suggest that a club in Lincolnshire signs him up. His bowling is accurate, sharp in pace, and angles it off the seam wonderfully.

Of course, Mikey made him look a little better than he may be, as he played many loose drives that he got nowhere near. This is something Mikey must work on, as is his shot selection when facing pace. A Lindsey replaced Bolland, and had Mikey jumping around and playing off his back foot to full-length balls. To be fair, Lindsey does play for Lincolnshire, along with two of his other QEGS teammates: keeper Haskins and bowler Caswell.

Debutant Sammy Chong came in at number 3, when the other opening bowler, S Sriraman, castled Will Weston. He looked very composed, but again did not accelerate the run rate. Mikey was eventually relieved from his duty when he chipped the ball to mid-off from the other change bowler, Tom Caswell.

Oli Prior, deprecating as to the standard of his DCCL opponents, got the opportunity to go in at 4, but was duly felled as A Lindsay got his first wicket of the game.

Dickman and Sam Johnson brought us toward a little respectability, but Dickman – along with Dan Bushaway and Tom Crick – got out sillily to Callum Robinson and A Read. Although slow, both were difficult bowlers to get away, and frustration seemingly got the better of us. Sam Johnson played really well. He batted with responsibility, and showed his ability to rotate the strike.

Lindsey, looking to increase his tour wickets tally, brought himself and Caswell back on, and they had no problems in obliterating our tail. Lindsey finished with 2-fer; Caswell 4-fer.

We only made 53, so all I was looking for was an improvement on Thursday’s attitude. We found that improvement, but O Haskins (23) and A Lindsey (17) eased their way toward the victory post. Both retired, and gave N Kacker and M Gowshall the opportunity to bat.

Oli Prior and Ed Webster, who had little success with the new ball, were replaced by Tom Heyes and Mikey Gilmour, and each claimed a wicket; dislodging Kacker and Gowshall respectively.

Caswell made his way to the middle, while Tom Crick replaced Tom Heyes. Tom bowled exceptionally well to Caswell, but he was able to hit the single off Tom's fifth ball which took QEGS to victory.

They have had a very successful tour, and Aaron Wilkinson has done a marvellous job in forging his school a keen cricket team. Both their ability and their attitude made the tourists a credit to their school. I look forward to making this a regular fixture in the U15s’ calendar.

Lackadaisical Whaley embarrassed at New Mills (9/07/15)

Conscription stopped in 1960 in this country, but had it not, the High Peak military wing would be in crisis in a few years’ time. Our attitude in the field was horrendous. We bowled very poorly, yes, but that cannot always be controlled. Our attitude can be.

It all started so well, and we batted dominantly. Our top 4 each passed the imposed threshold for retirement, 20, and as each was allowed the rest of the over to attempt the summit of 30, Alex Dickman’s 33 was highly commendable.

Amusingly, he probably increased his strike rate ten-fold with his retiring cameo. Although he never looked like getting out, he did not rotate the strike well. Alex shouldn't take the brunt of this strike-rotating wrath, but the way he bats early on, he must improve this element of his game.

A second paragraph of criticisms for Alex is very unfair, as he was one of our two best players. However, he must stick to his game. While it is a reasonable defence to say that friendlies are for trying new things, the hoik (not sure whether this is a real word, but read as ‘hoi-c’) over cow corner is not a shot to practise. Alex’s own game is very effective, and he needn't change anything but his rotation of the strike. Just because he is better (at batting) than most bowlers (are at bowling), doesn't mean that he needs to hit boundaries to show it.

Anyway, nobody wants to read my appraisal of Alex’s batting, so I’ll move on. George’s early retirement on 24 brought New Mills old boy and debutant Manusha Wettasinghe to the crease, amid a barrage of noise. Hawk Green’s parents would have been proud. Of course, having left and making his debut against his old club, New Mills were well within their rights to shout at him. By the time we were 90 for no loss though – and Manu had made 20 – the loudest shouts were probably canine.

New Mills put down numerous chances off Manu, and despite Kallis Hyde’s monotonous golf references, became paradoxically welcoming. He was eventually run out after passing the retirement threshold, when Harry Elms hit the ball back at the bowler. The ball deflected off Ferris Wild’s – their twelfth fielder’s – trainer, and onto the stumps. Harry stayed with Clem, and both accelerated the run rate nicely; Harry eventually finding his timing to hit two massive sixes. Ed was in at this point, and we reached 117-2.

We were confident at the interval, and we should never have lost; even with my aim to give everyone a bowl. We were like Bayern Munich in mid-April, early-May: ‘We’re already at finals day, so these games don't matter.’ Wrong. Bayern Munich have been defeated in the Champions League semi-finals twice in two years, and although I’m no sports psychologist, I would suggest that this is because they play with a s**t intensity – with the league already won – before they play their semi-final matches. If we don't play with a much higher intensity on Saturday, Buxton will ruin us on Sunday in our semi-final.

Sam Kilner got New Mills off to an outstanding start, and our heads dropped. Oli Prior was targeted particularly harshly, and he is a much better bowler than tonight’s performance suggested. He did get his man with his final ball, before being replaced by Manu.

Manu took two wickets in his opening spell, and with them 50-3, we should have cantered to victory. Harry and George replaced Manu and Tom, but were unable dislodge Hyde and his parter Joe Armstrong. Both reached thirty, and despite a very good over from Clem, we were in the mire.

We were in the mire, but we were not in the adjacent cemetery. However, credit to our lads for the respect we had for it. This is where our bigger (in terms of personality) players need to make their presence felt. Harry is particularly prone to failing to do just this. He didn't have his best game – he couldn't help that – but like everyone else, your performance should not affect a faculty (encouragement for your team) you can always control. Leadership in situations like this is vital – this is not the captain’s sole responsibility.

Nor are field placings, and while I hope there is a lot for George to take from tonight, I also hope there is a lot for the rest of us to take too. I’ve already scrutinised Dickman, so I won’t bore you with an evaluation of our fielding as well. However, I would like to give special credit to Clem for something here, and with respect to his fielding, is not something I would often do. We had no third man, and with just a few runs needed for their victory, Clem positioned himself more backward at point. The ball came straight to him, and it stopped a single. Initiative like that is priceless in a team. The captain has enough to think about.

At this point, Manu had returned, and another three wickets had fallen (Manu finishing with 4-fer; Ed claiming the other). We rallied, but it was too late. New Mills’ ninth wicket pairing bravely saw them home, and we lost.

We changed our bowling order around completely, and our batting order was also different. Our aim was for everyone to bowl, and so I feel very disappointed for Mikey and Tom Heyes who didn't get a game. They both will on Saturday.

If we site change as a reason for calamity (which I am), then the High Peak regiment should be extremely grateful conscription is no longer in force. That said, a little military training would do us no harm at Friday’s practice; annoyingly, I think it would be too late to enlist the Derbyshire Army Cadets to give us a working over (at least for tomorrow – don't think I won’t try for next week!).

Our attitude after the game was whimsical. If losing to an inferior team is amusing, then the whole concept of natural selection is defunct. There were exceptions, and I was very pleased with the attitudes of Alex (who took two two top catches off Manu) and Will Weston (who in my opinion opened the bowling very well against the destructive Kilner).

We’ve got another game on Saturday morning, and we must be a lot better. If ever I’m happy for us to lose, it would be after a performance like today's in an inconsequential match. I hope we have learnt a lot. We will play New Mills again soon.

Buxton rightful winners as Whaley consigned to second place (15/06/15)

We lost, but this is the most content I have felt beginning a match report. We batted finely, we bowled well, and our spirit was excellent. Our fielding, though, was shambolic.

Buxton were deserved winners, and go to finals day with our best wishes. Their elation at victory – still with a game to play – is testament to the game we gave them: it was tough.

They had lost 3 quick wickets, the excellent Harry Griffin had retired, and at 64-4 (effectively 5 down), we were in with a very good chance of victory. Numbers 6 and 7 – Tom Lister and Fred (possibly Fran but I think Fred) Smith batted marvellously, finishing 18* and 6* respectively in a very measured partnership of 33. They beat Hayfield – without Derbyshire’s Harry Griffin – in a 10-wicket rout; this was edgy, and I’m sure the toughest game they will play.

Oli Prior and Ed Webster took the 3 wickets, and bowled finely during the middle overs. Ed’s wicket was contentious, although I feel the only on-field doubt was whether it carried to wicket-keeper Alex, not whether he had nicked it (which I thought was the only doubtful bit from the sideline).

Harry Elms, having already dismissed the dangerous David Oldfield, was denied a very close LBW decision on Harry Griffin – 5* at the time. Harry felt it was out, but unlike Eddie Ford, stuck to just one phase of appeals. I on the other hand – fresh from receiving a Spirit of Cricket certificate this afternoon (off the Internet – no-one really gave me one) – slumped down in my chair, and questioned the decision (only really to myself).

In answering my question, it was very kind of a Buxton parent to explain to me that the decision was so due to the batsman, probably her son, being not out. While I appreciated her indisputable knowledge, it would be unwise to provide such clarity to the Hawk Green, Woodley or Hadfield managers at finals day. Add on to my competitiveness the Hawk Green and Hadfield constants, then their inherent hatred of disagreement, there is one result for the parent. It would be a shame for the final to be marred by such aggression – I say ‘aggression’ to avoid anything libellous.

Harry should be equally annoyed that he conceded boundaries in consecutive balls, both to fielding calamities and through no fault of his own. Clem, fielding at backward point, first allowed the ball through his legs, before Mikey, down at short fine-leg, followed suit. I think this was before the LBW shout, and I was lost in shame. Mikey let another through his legs later in the game, and as annoying as this was, his disappointment after the match was highly commendable. Pride in performance is vital, and it is a trait of winners.

Another trait of winners is a great spirit, and both teams showed that today. We kept fighting until the end, and I was very proud. Buxton’s fifth wicket pairing also showed wonderful character, and like our U15s of last year, they have the capacity to win their finals day without being brutish.

It sounds ridiculous that I say this, but we fought like winners today. No, we didn't win, but we did three of the four things that win you tough games splendidly.

The third thing was our character while batting, with Tom Crick making 26* at the end to ensure the game was competitive by taking us up to 95-4. Only Buxton have scored that against us all year, and on that day we bowled poorly. Harry Elms made another 30, and once again it was effortless.

We didn't give our wickets away, either. Alex Dickman got a very rough ball that grubbed through and bowled him, and with the exception of George, we got out to very good balls.

George’s dismissal was uncharacteristic, but Buxton got their field placings spot on. Their field placings were perfect for Harry, too, and he should have been caught several times. Better fielders will not allow such a disregard for their placements, and will take the first opportunity that comes their way. If Harry is to make it to the standard he is capable of reaching – in my opinion he outplayed Buxton’s supremo despite being a year younger – he will need to develop the capacity to rein in his stroke play when it plays into a trap. None the less, he batted with much restraint early on, which is highly commendable for a massacrer of bowling.

We bowled 13 wides, and we lost at least 10 runs through embarrassing misfields. You subtract them, and the game would have been impossible to call. It isn't fair for fingers to be pointed, as we win and lose as a team.

Despite blatantly contradicting what I have just said, I felt we refused a catch that should have been taken. Most cricketers have refused a catch at some point, and just last week, I consciously chose not to dive head first into Hawk Green’s ridiculous wooden boundary. That said, I would hope that if Tom H had the opportunity to take a catch again, that he would go for it, no matter what the consequence of dropping it might be.

Perhaps luckily, the game was already gone, but if not just for his team mates, I would have wanted to see an attempt to catch it. It was our fielding today that really hurt. Aside from that, we rightfully lost to better the team, and there can be no shame in that.

We were disappointed at the end, and providing a guard of honour would have done nothing to raise our mood (choreographing it certainly did nothing for mine). We needn’t be disappointed though: we fought well, and we have improved on last season by finishing above Hayfield. Our attitude was splendid, particularly at the end with our sporting and consoling nature. Special mention here to Alex Dickman. We may yet reach finals day, and if not, there will still be friendlies for us to better ourselves in.

A meeting of the division’s best two teams was a fitting end to the season for us, and we should be very pleased with the season we have had. There’s been no stand-out player, but somebody has always stood up whatever the situation. That is a wonderful trait for a team to have.

We will maintain this side next season, as we only lose Oli Prior to the U17s. I thank him for his excellent efforts, and I am glad that he can boast his winners’ medal from last term. Buxton will lose some players, but although they are our main rivals, I maintain that I would like them to stay in the division. We can only get better from playing teams of their calibre, and in my opinion, the argument that they would be using the league is ludicrous. We would get just as much out of their inclusion as they would, and competition is vital for any league to be successful. If they are omitted, I would be surprised if we did not obliterate all before us next season. That would be boring, and I hope is not the case.

Five games is pitiful for an U15 team, and I am looking forward to playing friendlies for the remainder of the season against Central Group opponents, and hopefully Buxton once more. We have done all I could ask in the league matches, and we should be justly proud. This is a team that can only get better, and boasts players that can achieve big things.

Four from four as Whaley breeze past Chapel (11/06/15)

Each of our players seemed to be accounted for (when we left the Jodrell I didn't really have a clue), and fresh with the inside-knowledge of Ian Durham, I arrived at Chapel’s ground confident of a formality. However, their warm-up was impressive. Their bowlers were good, and we felt that this would be a tough game.

Forty-five minutes later, Harry and George had each retired on 30 (strike rates of 187.5 and 142.86 respectively), and we were well on our way to making an enormous score. In the end, we only got 132-2, but Will batted very sensibly for his 26*, and Tom Crick got to smash the bowling around with 2 overs to go.

Mikey struggled to time the ball, and was unable add to his list of impressive under 15 innings this season. Alex was the only other batsman unable to cash in on the Chapel bowling, and was run-out attempting a kamikaze second run. He had looked in good form, fresh from 39 on Tuesday. If ever I will accept an excuse, it would be here: I shouted to him to alert him to the misfield when he was ambling to the other end, and I feel had I not done, he would have made 30. I won’t apologise though, as he should have run the first run harder.

I had prepared a half-time presentation, and although those who heard it may not believe it, it was actually quite toned down. As I have said before, we need to become winners – not just in our cricket, we are – but in our aura. Listening from the outside, you may have thought I was explaining the basics of armed robbery. On the inside, you probably questioned how I got my DBS certificate.

“We pummel them boys, we absolutely –” knock knock.

“Drinks downstairs for you lads,” the opposition manager interrupted. The trance was broken, but it was not lulled for long. 

To be fair, it probably just came across as manic ramblings from someone desperate to win the game, but the undertone was serious: the different ways in which we get our wickets, whatever the adversity we face.

It would have been a great opportunity for us to give everybody a bowl for the third time this season, but playing Buxton on Monday, we had to play this extremely hard. We were defending 70 in my eyes, and our best and quickest bowlers would stay on until the end.

Chapel started very well, and my iPad warned that they were up with the D/L par score with 8 overs gone. Thankfully, there was no danger of rain. The D/L par score actually means zilch, as they were always behind the run rate, but they did bat well. 

Will’s 4 overs were good, but again it was Harry and George who did the damage. Harry replaced Mikey after 2 overs, and although his first ball went for 7 – yes, 7 – he only went for that from the rest of his 4 legitimate overs, claiming 4 wickets.

Chapel were on about 60 after 12, and chasing 70, I made sure there was pressure on us to claim a moral victory. 

Alex replaced Tom as keeper – and did extremely well, despite conceding a bye and an extra wide in the final over. Tom Crick bowled the last 4 overs from one end, and his first ball claimed a wicket. I had suggested to George that Tom bowl, but there may have been confusion over which Tom I meant. Either way, it was an inspired (and enforced) change (Harry had bowled his overs), and I refused to look at George as he smirked at me.

We bowled 5 maidens on the bounce, and suddenly 70 looked defendable with them being 8 wickets down. 62-8, and maybe I should have let us ease off. Absolutely not. On Monday we may only get 70, and we will not ease off then.

There could be an argument that George and Tom were too quick (too Crick’s a good pun I might use next week – no not funny), but the Chapel tail batted manfully, and can be proud of how they faced off genuine under 15 pace.

George took the 9th wicket in the penultimate over, and at 64-9, we should should not have let them get 70. I’d like to think Chapel were playing our game too, and when their number 11 creamed George’s first ball to him for 4, the largest cheer of the night erupted. In all likelihood, the cheer was down to the first runs coming off George on his 22nd ball, and the fact that it was their number 11 who got them.

The boys knew the importance of 70, and Tom was not slowing down his pace. He ended up bowling a beamer, his justification for not easing off next ball being: “I’m sorry, Reuben’s told me to bowl as fast as I can.” This I did, and if the batsmen were uncomfortable, I do apologise. However, we won't be slowing down on Monday, and it was important that we be as ruthless tonight as we are going to be then.

In the end, Chapel stuttered to 71 – going at 1 an over for the last 10. We didn't get the moral victory, but winners know that it’s a garbage ‘victory’ anyway. We won the match, and we won it against a good Chapel side. George and Harry will share the man-of-the-match award.

In my opinion, Chapel are better than Hayfield, and on June 18, they will provide Buxton with a very good match too.

We have now done what we needed to. We will go to Buxton and fight a very good game, but if Buxton play as they can, they will win. Our determination and ability is unquestionable, but Buxton’s talent is close to insurmountable. For us to become division champions, everything must click (or Crick – I’m on fire!!).

Our improvement both mentally and playing-wise since our abandoned game against Buxton has been exponential (in a good way — maybe in a bad way would be 'logarithmic', I'm not sure). Tonight we took five catches. Against Buxton last time, we probably dropped five. We now rotate the strike with dominance, and we now believe we can beat anybody, no matter how well they play.

There is no pressure on us. Monday will be the highest quality of under 15 cricket you will ever see, and we are going to enjoy it. I would not want to be a Buxton player. They must win; they are expected to win; and even if they do win, they still have to beat an excellent Chapel side to avoid being consigned to cricketing history as nobodies. Our players have another year of under 15s, theirs don’t. Such pressure on boys is tough, and I hope that a failure would not stick with them for the remainder of their cricketing days.

To be a Whaley player on Monday should be one of the most enjoyable cricketing nights imaginable. We can show just how good we are, and we can do it in the most relaxing environment possible (Hadfield are in the north group). If we do, we are champions.

Efficient U15s canter past Birch Vale to maintain 100% start to season (8/06/15)

There’s not much to expand on from tonight’s game: Birch came, we saw, we conquered. Then we had cake and squash. However, much like the victory, the squash wasn't as sweet as last Thursday’s (so I’m told).

The bowling was shared in much the same way as the cake – evenly. Some would call it unconcentrated. Everybody, with the exception of second-ten keeper Alex Dickman, bowled, and we restricted Birch to a very getable 61. Alex kept well, as did Tom Crick, whose keeping was much improved from last week.

Harry Elms and Tom Heyes, whose birthday was celebrated after the match, were the pick of the bowlers. His (or Sarah’s or Tilly’s) pick of cake was also excellent. There was a reasonable portion of cake left, which was fitting, as we only took four of the eight wickets available.

Harry was victimless (despite having figures of 2 overs, 2 maidens), but did claim an outstanding run out. His impressively consistent leg-spin bowling and fantastic fielding display earned him tonight’s man-of-the-match award.

Will Weston and Ed Webster also claimed victims, both bowled, and Oli Prior’s fearsome body-line bowling claimed the other wicket, well caught by Mikey Gilmour. Oli’s victim, Finley McEver, should have dispatched the bouncer over Eccles Pike, and in doing so should have sent the match ball into time-travel, but it is rare at this age group that you face short, hostile bowling.

Birch Vale did not perform like a team yet to win a match. Ever. Their opener, George Barker, batted well for his 24, and their top 6 was certainly competent. Their side is predominantly under 13s – I believe – and I am sure that they are a reasonable side at their age group. They were resilient, and their attitude was admirable.

On the topic of competency, Ivan once again umpired, and looked much more assured than on last Thursday. He took time over making his decisions, and none of his judgements were dubious.

Chasing a low score, and with our opposition two men/women short in the field, Oli sportingly volunteered to field for them. I could arguably have forced another of our players to help, but I don’t think it fair that you play for the opposition if you do not wish to. I would not have liked to have fielded for them, so why should anybody else? However, I was a specialist in dropping catches, so it was more a choice for the opposition to make; we had no such ‘asset’.

At 11-2, Oli ran off to put on his pads, but we thankfully reached the target in 10 overs – George crafting 22*, and newly-promoted Tom C bludgeoning 20*.

Harry (now batting at 3) blasted his first ball past the bowler for 4, and I sprinted to the selection committee window to inform them that this was the guy I had mentioned. Next ball he was bowled, and I made some expletive remark about an arrogant (‘hubristic’ if we’re going Roman/Greek to compliment the start (cue chuckles about being Peter’s Apprentice)) shot selection. To the bowler Barker’s credit, he held his nerve keeping the ball full, and deservedly claimed his second wicket.

Just like Alex, Harry had an excuse for his dismissal. Personally, I thought we played on a wonderful wicket, and when Harry smashed his first ball for 4, there appeared to be no problems in picking the red ball from the green trees. Each got out to good balls.

Sat beside a couple of selection committee members, I shouted to George suggesting a field change. The view was that the 14-year-old George (who I can now confirm is 13), was too young to captain the side. However, on Saturday he made his first XI debut for King’s against MGS, and when he wakes up in the morning for school, he will still be the only Whaley Bridge captain with a 100% win record this season. He’s also the only Whaley player to have captained Derbyshire. Not bad for a 13-year-old in the under 15s.

We hope to continue our 100% record at Chapel on Thursday, before we travel to Buxton on Monday, hoping to cap off an excellent regular season.

Whaley victorious after thrilling Weston and Gilmour partnership (4/06/15)

Sorry not sorry, the report’s quite long. But it was a brilliant win.

There’s no theme for tonight’s match; there needn’t be. If you missed it, bad luck: no report can evoke the excitement of being there for Whaley’s innings.

When Gibbo invited me to manage the U15s, it was more that I didn't have a reason not to manage them that I accepted. For anyone considering it, a victory like today justifies managing a junior team a million times over, and whatever the outcome of this season, I will be pleased. However, a victory like today belongs to the team; the young men who defied expectation to inflict a crushing blow to Hayfield juniors.

Numbers 4 and 6 – Will Weston and Mikey Gilmour – had come together at 44 for 4. An Anthony Thorpe/Ivan entente had just dismissed George (I will discuss this later), and I was resigned to defeat. However, the same could not be said for Will and Mikey, who chased down 87 in the best junior partnership I have ever seen. That isn't the elation of victory speaking, that is the truth.

A partnership of 46 is no headline, but the situation in which it was amassed is. Chasing runs is significantly harder, in my opinion, at an amateur level. There is pressure.

Mikey demolished Hayfield’s bowling attack. I wouldn’t call Mikey an aggressive batter – or an athlete – but his hitting and running between the wickets was outstanding.

Will’s maturity was fantastic. He – along with the majority of the team – is 14. He held his head in an awful situation, rotating the strike when it was most crucial with ease, and punishing the dross delivered to him with fluency.

We needed 8 an over with 6/7 to go. We won with 6 balls remaining.

The balls with which we won by shows the importance of Alex Dickman’s innings. He only got 7, but he faced down Hayfield’s big hitters as though they were net bowlers, allowing later batsmen to feed on some of the poorer servings on offer.

George’s 28 was as I would expect. It was a fine innings, but his captaincy today was his best asset. He positioned his fielders with such accuracy, that he saved at least 20 runs.

We allowed them more runs than they should've had though. Our bowling changes could have been different, but that would have been no guarantee of a lower score. It sounds daft mentioning players’ ages in an U15 match, but George is only 13 (possibly 12, but it’s weird me texting either Henry or Charlie at 2330 to check).

Hayfield’s captaincy was entrusted mainly to a non-playing coach, and with some different bowling changes, I think they would have won.

They would also have won had Ivan given Mikey run out. In my opinion, he was out. In my opinion, George was not out, and in my opinion, Ivan umpired the second innings poorly. But, my opinion means diddly squat, and, at the end of the day, we won.

That said, my umpiring is no better (it is – but only marginally), and Ivan gives up much of his time for our club, which is of more value than any dodgy decision. I will certainly be asking him to umpire again.

It is unprecedented that it is our umpire who I feel aggrieved at in a junior game against Hayfield. That said, I was unhappy that Bill Higginbottom – their coach – was vocal with his derogatory views about my decisions. This, in his most vitriolic tirade, arose after I told Alex he couldn't bowl as he’d been off the field. We had 12 players in our squad, because, well, 12 players deserved to be in the squad, and it is perfectly legitimate.

Stuart Needham had approved my request to name a 12-man squad, with the condition that those substituted couldn't bowl. So, sticking to the rules, I didn't permit Alex to bowl. Having familiarised myself with our often contradictory handbook, I am also aware that teams are to adhere to the MCC Spirit of Cricket.

So, when I bellowed to our bowlers to warn their batsmen (and then ultimately ‘hutch’ them) for being out of their crease as we ran into bowl, some may say that this was in breach of such a rule. My case is a follows: they are gaining an unfair advantage, and I don't like it. They deserve a warning, yes, but they shouldn't be allowed to continue.

While I’m not familiar with the intricacies of the MCC Spirit of Cricket, I assume that it doesn't permit gratuitous offence to minorities within society, especially by implication to the opposition. I do know that making fun of those handicapped stopped a few generation ago, though.

The irony is, that to ‘retard’ is essentially to slow something down. Had Hayfield been a bit quicker in the field, they may have won.

Bravado is justifiable from a team while batting, although not right, if they go on to win. Hayfield’s juniors are not feared like they once were. Echoing Kevin Keegan’s famous words, I “loved it, absolutely loved it”, beating them after some of the things they said.

Back to Bill, and, with another football analogy, he could have been mistaken for Arsène Wenger. As I understand it, Bill has been custodian of Hayfield juniors for many years. This deserves tremendous respect, as so many coaches move on once their children retire to the seniors. Furthermore, his teams were apparently dominant for many years, which is no easy achievement. 

That said, Arsenal now finish third.

I’m sorry that the match reported has been tainted by mention of opposition speak, but I don’t think it fair that they talk that way about others. When I say ‘they’ – it was one player who particularly narked me, but the sentiment was endemic. I don’t know his name, nor do I care. Had a Whaley player spoken so offensively though, he would not be playing again this season.

Time for some more positive talk (although being reminded of the Hayfield attitude has soured my joy). Our fielding was much, much improved; as was our bowling. The returning Richard Woolley fielded brilliantly. I wish I could promise him that the next time he plays it will be as enjoyable as it was today.

Everybody bowled well (Sam Johnson bowled one poor over, but made up for it with a very good second). Oli Prior had his best bowling performance (despite having a shocker with the bat), but Mikey again stood out. He is very deserving of his man-of-the-match award.

I could eulogise further about tonight’s (now last night’s) victory, but there is a reality for us to face. Hayfield only scored 6 more runs away to Buxworth than they did tonight/last night.

We were the better team, and had Harry Elms played, we would have been even better. But Buxton – 10-wicket victors at Hayfield – are the best team in our league. We must find an extra level to beat them on June 15.

Tonight, we achieved what I had hoped to instil into a Whaley team: the character that wins you a match when you are down. The players developed this character themselves, but I am proud to have managed them.

We play Birch Vale at home on Monday, and bowling first, it will not be an easy match.

There’s a Taylor Swift theme lined up, on account of Clem Preece disclosing that he sang her to his music class. I cannot wait for his WBCC rendition!

Wildebeest 18/05/15

If last week we were sharks, this week we were the wildebeest of the Serengeti. We were hunted by rampant Buxton batsmen, and, much like the wildebeest, we were saved by the rains.

Buxton batted very well. David Oldfield would not have looked out of place in the Buxton first team, and neither would his opening partner, Alex Hawley. Oldfield retired after a domineering innings, but Hawley fell to a Harry Elms full toss, which was well caught by Alex Dickman.

Our catching was mediocre. Tom Crick and Mikey Gilmour each dropped catches that they would have expected to take, and we missed a simple run out opportunity. That said, Will Weston took a good catch off the dangerous Fran Slater, but the damage had been done. Good players take their second chances, and a team that pummelled a strong Hayfield outfit by 10 wickets could not be afforded such liberties.

Oli Prior took a reasonable catch off Will in the penultimate over, but Buxton were already on their way to a formidable 112. T Lister retired, after we were unable to adapt to his effective innings continuing to feed his excellent leg-side bludgeoning.

George Holden and Tom Heyes bowled well, and although Wills figures were good, his fatigue from two long shifts for the second team was apparent. Debutant David McCanns fielding was worthy of his place, and he was a welcome addition to the side.

The mood was low at the interval, but it needn't have been. Harry had scored a century the day before, and George had just missed out on 50. Along with Will, Alex and Mikey, the team was already full of runs.

Oli opened with Alex, and performed well against a confident Buxton attack. Alex was charitably given not out after a poor run, but he did not capitalise on his fortune. The light was poor, and Alex snicked off to Lister. Umpire Ivan Heathcote sensibly brought us off, and despite the Buxton eagerness to return to the field, it was in the best interests of all to abandon the match.

With only five fixtures in the U15s regular season, we will make every effort to ensure that the match is replayed competitively. Proper cricket comes before any finals day, and the South Group representative should be worthy of its place at the showpiece event.

We must play significantly better in the replay to be in with a chance of victory and automatic qualification. Harry Griffin may well be back from injury (we wish him a speedy recovery), but even without his presence, Buxton will go into the match as clear favourites.

There are lessons to be learnt; notably that intimidatory posters may well invigorate the opposition. Especially one of Buxtons class.

Perhaps Sergeant Bowe Berghdal should not have deserted his post in Afghanistan during 2009, but should the Taliban have held him captive?

Berghdal was exchanged for five Taliban members from Guantanamo Bay last year.

I will look after the EAT SLEEP DRINK t-shirt left behind from the away dressing room today, in the anticipation that there will be five posters ahead of the return fixture.

If this does prove to be the last competitive junior fixture we play against Buxton, it will be a big loss for the league. Today should have been an exhibition of junior cricket in the area. It would be a shame not to let their juniors continue in the DCCL next year. 

Do not expect an animal theme again. Our next scheduled fixture is next Thursday (May 28), away to Stuart Milners Chapel-en-le-Frith. I hope to see the sharks out in force. Blood is already in the water.

Sharks (11/05/15)

As many were watching the build up for Thursdays exit polls, I was watching BBC One. For 400 million years, sharks have dominated the oceans.

I inherited this years crop of U15s from Charlie Holden, and it was clear that this was a strong team. The team is well evolved: two Derbyshire players, numerous district representatives; but not the fear, not yet the domineering swagger that surrounds the greatest teams.

Blacktip sharks work together within a selfish species, they are the masters of teamwork. In the reefs of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, they feast on anchovies. Anchovies are agile; they would outmanoeuvre a lone shark.

It was a team performance that won the game for the U15s.

The great white, feared along the South African Cape, missed its prey the seal at its first attempt at attack, mid-way through Thursdays episode.

George Holden and Harry Elms were both dismissed cheaply. Each bludgeoned the bowlers, but offered little to trouble the scorers. The lure of the Buxworth short boundary proved too much for George, as it did too for Ollie Prior.

The shortfin mako shark swims faster than Usain Bolt runs (it also accelerates faster than Elliots former Saxo), and feeds on bony fish such as tuna.

Harry was run-out, when a not-out verdict would have been accepted. Our running between the wickets was, on the whole, excellent. Mikey Gilmour, man-of-the-match Alex Dickman, and Will Weston rotated the strike with confidence, and preyed upon the youth of the Buxworth side.

As our lone sharks failed (not a subtle reference to the fines team of Mikey and Tom), our blacktip teamwork came into its own.

We posted a competitive 119. Alex retired as all those about him failed; Mikey batted with maturity; and Will batted with notable finesse.

The blacktips took nothing for granted. To feast on the anchovies, they would have to hunt very well.

Our opposition fielded and bowled gallantly, and their opening batsmen had us worried.

The blacktips relied on each other to secure the kill, and each shark got its fair feed. Were there only four sharks, they would not eat.

Buxworths older players fought well: 15-year-old Rhuben Mellor took an outstanding one-handed catch; their opening bowler from the Colin Wild top end ravaged our top order; and Derbyshires Caleb Wingfield restricted our tail.

George and Will dislodged the Buxworth danger men, before umpire Reuben Cutts gave a run-out decision that, with the benefit of a third umpire, may well have been different.

The sharks prey lay stunned. Motionless. It was time for all the blacktips to feed, and all took advantage of the feast.

The bowling was dispersed, and the wickets were shared.

During the day, the sea lion will mock the whitetip reef shark. During the day, the whitetip reef shark is docile.

At 31-7, Ed Webster and Tom Heyes squandered the simplest of opportunities, much to the amusement of the onlooking Buxworth batsmen – and, to be fair, everybody but bowler and fielder.

The whitetip shark turns fearsome once the sun sets, and you would be unwise to be caught in the open.

The dark descended over Buxworth, and many of their players wisely sought the sanctuary of their homes. But as Ed Webster charged in, he meant business.

Those sea lions? Well, theyd gone home. 

Ed bowled the batsman, and that was that.

On Thursday, the exit polls stunned the UK. A hung parliament was anticipated, but Labour were dismembered.

We expected a tougher challenge, but our opening bowlers George and Will earned our victory.

Like the Tory campaign, you think? No, the metaphor ends there. 

It was a crushing victory in the U15s bid to be undisputed champions. Episode two of Sharks airs on Thursday at 21:00 on BBC One. Our second game is next Monday I believe at home to Buxton. The theme of the match report is yet to be decided.

Sunday 27th July - Finals Day at Dinting CC

Did we have expectations when we set off for Under 15s finals day at Dinting? Of course we did, though primarily the expectation of putting in a good performance and seeing what developed. We knew a little about Hawk Green and Hadfield who contested the second semi final, but our first opponents, Mottram, were virtually unknown. They looked confident, and had no hesitation in electing to bat when they won the toss. Fitton was caught behind by McIlveen off the bowling of Burt for 1, and we were on our way. Prior and McIlveen combined to run out Fazakerley for 2, then the dangerous looking Goodall was bowled by Glover for 11. Prior took a juggling catch off Burt to dismiss Mellor for 4, then Madden had O’Mara caught behind by McIlveen for 7. Alford was bowled by Kitchen for 2, whilst Cummins was bowled by Holden for 3 as Mottram crumbled. Madden took a catch off Holden to dismiss Goddard for 0, and Hodges and McIlveen manufactured the run out of Mottram’s last real threat, Peters, for 23. Priest was caught by Madden off Williams for 6, leaving Swann not out 0 and the total on just 59 all out.

Over confidence could have been the downfall for Whaley Bridge, and when Kitchen was caught behind by Goodall off Fitton for 1 a few doubts crept in. Glover suffered the same dismissal for 7, and when Madden was caught by Goodall off Goddard for 4 we were 16 for 3. However, this is a very strong team with no weak links, and McIlveen and Holden ensured that there was no panic. They raced along as McIlveen rotated the strike to give the big hitting Holden every opportunity. We reached our target with no further wickets down, and with more than five overs to spare. McIlveen and Holden were unbeaten on 11 and 29 respectively, and we eagerly awaited the winners of the Hawk Green and Hadfield game. It was a long wait, and as the drama of the second semi final unfolded we realised that we had nothing to worry about if we played to our full potential in the final.

Tea was far removed from the “Healthy Plate” advocated by the DCB, as attempts to introduce fruit were met with scorn. Burgers and KFC were the order of the day, perhaps in tribute to our absent assistant Gibbo. As it was, Callum McIlveen, Elliot Simmonds, Reuben Cutts and MMM provided the guidance on the day, but Ole Madden led the team by example. Hawk Green triumphed by just 4 runs over Hadfield, and to their credit, Hadfield stayed to watch the final. There was no doubt that they were on the side of Whaley Bridge as the players took to the field.

Hawk Green won the toss and invited Whaley Bridge to bat first, as the game commenced under the auspices of Smithy and Jonno, the genial Buxworth umpires. Glover and McIlveen got off to a steady start, but McIlveen was bowled by the impressive Hawk Green captain Needham for 2. Madden came in and kept the momentum of the innings going as he and Glover mixed quick singles with power hitting. With five overs to go Madden was caught by Lenfield off Ridings for 25, followed shortly afterwards by the departure of Glover who retired unbeaten on 30. Ole Madden may be the assured captain of the team, but there is no doubt that George Holden is pure Box Office, and our own version of Freddie Flintoff. Holden was the youngest Whaley Bridge player on show, but he played with great maturity as he continually smashed the ball to the boundary. Kitchen did not stay long, but he hit two huge sixes as the Hawk Green fielders struggled in the heat. Catches were dropped and extras were conceded as the Whaley Bridge score passed 100. Kitchen was bowled by Needham for 14, and with two balls left Williams sacrificed his wicket for 0 as he was run out to leave Holden on strike. He did not disappoint, dispatching the last delivery for four to take the total to 115 for 4, with Holden unbeaten on 26 and Prior on 0 at the other end.

It was a challenging total, but one which Hawk Green set about with confidence. Stringer and Needham found the boundaries regularly, and when Stringer retired on 30 the score was already on 48 with just 8 overs gone. Holden then made a crucial breakthrough as Madden took a fantastic running catch to dismiss Needham for 16, and there were two new batsmen at the crease. The youngest player in the match, Hawk Green’s Young, struggled against accurate bowling, and he was caught by Hodges off the bowling of Holden for a duck. Wild, Kitchin and Prior all patrolled the square, denying singles as Whaley’s attack strangled the Hawk Green reply. Madden bowled Ridings for 4, then Burt bowled Kingsman for 0, and when Burt and Hodges combined to run out Donaldson for 0 it was virtually all over. Madden bowled Jackson for 22 and Nield for 2 leaving Heaford unbeaten on 0 and Holmes on 1 as Hawk Green finished on 82 for 7. Whaley Bridge won by 33 runs in what was a fantastic team performance. Thanks throughout the season to Gibbo and Callum and more recently Reuben, and for his work over past seasons to Ed Kitchen who scored the games magnificently on the day. In addition, Elliot Simmonds should be applauded as many of this team are also a part of his Under 17s. This group of players are now starting to reach their full potential, and many of them will be seen again in the Under 17s final on 31st August at Mottram CC. It would be good to see as many people there as possible to support our boys.

Monday 14th July v Birch Vale (away)

It was a clearly weakened Birch Vale side that faced our rapidly improving squad on Monday evening, but fair play to Birch who actually gave us a game rather than giving up on it. Bruce Glover and Charlie Kitchen got off to a flying start, and Charlie was disappointed to be bowled for 22 as Bruce retired on 32. Ole Madden sustained an injury and was clearly hampered as he was caught for 22, then Will McIlveen retired for a belligerent 31. Alfie was rather harshly adjudged lbw for 1, then Ethan Williams and Oli Prior saw the innings out on 12 and 5 respectively. 144 for 3 was never going to be threatened, but just to be sure captain Ole Madden opened with his big guns. Will McIlveen took a catch behind off Bruce and Danny Burt got a wicket clean bowled to get us off to a good start. Nathan Wild then threw in quickly to force a run out, and Ole Madden took a catch off Charlie Kitchen. Ethan Williams confidently took a one handed catch with his wrong hand, something that is definitely not in the text books, off Alfie, then Will took a rather simple catch off Oli Prior. Ethan took 2 more catches off Oli Prior and Jack Kitchin, then Joel White finished the innings off with a wicket clean bowled. 29 all out may not sound like much, but it was a gutsy performance from Birch who were a very young side. For our boys it has been a rewarding season that has seen us get stronger week by week, and we look forward to the challenges ahead.

Monday 30th June v Buxton (home)

The under 15s season is starting to gain some momentum, and this was a titanic contest against a strong Buxton side. Buxton batted first and it was Danny Burt who removed the dangerous opener, bowling him through the gate. There then followed some loose deliveries and quite a few misfields until Ole Madden came into the attack. He took wickets in each of his first two overs, one clean bowled and the other after a regulation catch behind the stumps by Will McIlveen. Bruce Glover returned for a second spell and took a wicket with a catch by Charlie Kitchen, then Ole and Bruce combined for a run out. Ethan Williams took a very popular caught & bowled to leave Buxton on 99 for 6 after 20 overs. 100 is a tough target in 20 overs, but Bruce and Charlie set about the task with good aggression. Charlie was bowled for 25, shortly followed by Bruce who retired on 32. Will joined Ole and they got within striking distance when Will was caught for 11. We wanted 23 off the last  overs, 19 off 3 and 15 off 2. Ole hit boundaries, whilst Alex Dickman gave him the strike. With 5 needed off the last over it was tense. Ole played and missed a few, and Alex was on strike as we needed 2 off the last ball. As the delivery came in Alex gave it a cultured heave, and the ball raced away for a victorious 4. Both sides deserved great credit, but it was Whaley that came away with the spoils.

Monday 16th June v Dove Holes (away)

It is a full 4 weeks since the under 15s last played, highlighting the farcical nature of the league organisation this season. However, they were definitely up for the trip to Dove Holes, where the cold overcame any attempt by the sun to warm things up. George Holden and Bruce Glover opened the batting, and both retired on 30, George after a quickfire innings during which he was dropped twice, and Bruce with a more circumspect knock. This paved the way for other batsmen to express themselves, and Ole Madden was bowled for a stylish 12, whilst Will McIlveen was caught for a swashbuckling 21. Alex Dickman on 11 and Oli Prior on 0 were unbeaten at the end of our 20 overs, and we were confident that our total of 113 for 2 would be more than enough. Callum McIlveen took charge in the field, and did a very effective job. An array of bowlers were used with varying degrees of success, and it was Dan Burt who got the first wicket after a catch by Bruce Glover. Jack Kitchin got 2 wickets, one after a catch from Dan Burt and the other clean bowled, whilst the only other wicket to fall was a run out. Dove Holes closed their innings on 50 for 4, giving Whaley Bridge a 63 run victory, and setting them up for a late season charge that may yet seem them participate in finals day.

Monday 19th May v Chapel (home)

The local rivalry can often overshadow the cricket in these contests, but on this occasion Whaley Bridge under 15s dominated Chapel from the start. Bruce Glover took 2 wickets, Jack Kitchin 3 and Ethan Williams 2. Will McIlveen and Alfie Hodges each took a catch as Chapel were restricted to 74 for 7. In reply Alex Dickman was out for 2, but Bruce Glover (15no) and Ole Madden (30no) saw us home with plenty of overs and 9 wickets in hand. Unfortunately the scoring was very poor quality so further details are not available.

Thursday 1st May v Hayfield (home)

The under 15s finally got their season under way with a rearranged game at home against Hayfield. Our boys got off to a strong start when Ole Madden took a good catch off Bruce Glover, and when Danny Burt bowled the Hayfield dangerman we were well on top. George Holden bowled tidily enough without success, then Oli Prior took 2 wickets after catches by Nathan Wild and keeper Will McIlveen. Ole Madden contributed to a run out, and then a second run out saw the visitors on the ropes. Ethan Williams bowled a tidy spell of 4 overs for 4 runs as Hayfield finished on 82 for 6, and we were confident going out to bat. Charlie Kitchen and Bruce Glover played with freedom, but Charlie was bowled for 9. Ole Madden and Bruce saw off the opening pace bowler, and it seemed that we would be able to build our way to victory. Unfortunately, a remarkable spell of four wickets in four balls put paid to that. Ole was caught behind for a duck, then George Holden, Jack Kitchin and Joel White were all bowled first ball. Shortly afterwards Bruce was bowled for 12, and we were staring defeat in the face. Will McIlveen started to attack, eventually getting caught for 17, whilst Oli Prior batted sensibly finishing unbeaten on 12. Ethan Williams crafted his way to 11 before being bowled, leaving Nathan Wild unbeaten on 0. At the end we were 10 runs short, but it was a closely fought contest. It is just a shame that we dont get to redeem ourselves for another 3 weeks!

Under 15s Statistics

Batting          Inns    N.O.    Runs    HS      Avge
O. Madden          5      2       84     30*    28.00
B. Glover          5      4      119     32*   119.00
W. McIlveen        4      1       80     31*    26.67
E. Williams        2      1       23     12     23.00
C. Kitchen         3      0       56     25     18.67
A. Dickman         3      2       18     11*    18.00
J. White           1      0        0      0      0.00
J. Kitchin         1      0        0      0      0.00
G. Holden          2      1       30     30*    30.00
A. Hodges          1      0        1      1      1.00
O. Prior           3      3       17     12*    --.--
N. Wild            1      1        0      0*    --.--

Bowling        Overs    Mdns      Runs    Wckts       Avge    Economy
O. Prior         8        2        31        4        7.75     3.88
D. Burt         14        2        46        4       11.50     3.26
B. Glover       16        0        69        5       13.80     4.20
E. Williams     10        0        26        3        8.67     2.60
J. Kitchin       6        1        15        6        2.50     2.50
C. Kitchen       7        2        16        1       16.00     2.30
A. Hodges        8        2        34        1       34.00     4.25
J. White         1        1         0        1        0.00     0.00
G. Holden        5        1        12        0       --.--     2.40
O. Madden       11        2        33        2       16.50     3.00
N. Wild          7        0        34        0       --.--     4.88
M. Gilmour       3        0         4        0       --.--     1.33
A. Dickman       1        0         1        0       --.--     1.00

Under 15s Catches
W. McIlveen    5
A. Hodges      1
N. Wild        1
O. Madden      2
D. Burt        1
B. Glover      1
C. Kitchen     1
E. Williams    4

Monday 20th May 2013 v Chapel (away)

It is always a pleasure to visit Chapel for their hopitality and warm welcome and last night was no exception.  We were able to get away to a reasonably prompt start and our opening batsmen, Ole Madden and Ben Stones, got us off to a good start as the scoreboard ticked over, with some excellent running.  Ole, in particular, seems to be benefitting from his opportunity to play senior cricket and his judgement of a run was admirable.  Ole was yorked for 5, and then Will McIlveen continued the good work until a top edge saw him caught for 4.  Bruce came and went for 4, caught behind to a ball he claimed he wasn't ready for, but the scrupulously fair Chapel umpire saw nothing wrong with it. 
Meanwhile Ben Stones was batting beautifully, with some classic strokes off front and back foot.  He moved effortlessly to 32 before being retired.  It was another really quality innings, again showing confidence and improved technique.  Ben's departure saw Ivan Heathcote stride to the crease and he proceeded to play a quickfire destructive innings of 30, before retiring just before our inninngs closed.  Ethan Williams provided good support with 6, and Jacob Holland and Matt Bingle both ended up 2 not out as our innings closed on 101 for 4 (plus two retirements).
Legendary sports contests are often defined by the actions of one key protagonist.  We can think of "Botham's Ashes" in 1981, the "Gerrard FA Cup final" in 2006 and, more recently, the "Madden catch".  Last night, however, was very definitely the "Ivan Heathcote show".  Determined to prove to Chapel what a talent they have lost, he followed up his batting with a virtuoso display in the field.  He encouraged every ball, set the field, chased every ball (even when not going anywhere near him) and took a good catch, whilst sliding across the pitch.  His enthusiasm is a lesson to us all and it certainly seemed to undermine the confidence of the Chapel batsmen who never really got to grips with a controlled bowling display, excellent ground fielding, a near perfect catching display and, of course, Ivan. 
Wickets fell at regular intervals and all our outfield players got a bowl.   Special mention to Bruce Glover, who took 2 for 2 in 3 overs, and Danny Burt whose control and pace improves with every game.  Last year he bowled a ball at Chapel that Jimmmy Anderson would have been proud of, and his performance last night was every bit as good.  Matt and Ethan also took a wicket each, as the Chapel innings ended (in near darkness) on 67 for 6.  Given the damp conditions and a wet ball, our bowlers only bowled 4 wide balls which is a credit to the practice they have all put in on Friday nights.  Behind the stumps Kieran Connell is proving increasingly reliable and almost nothing gets past him.

A victory by 34 runs was well deserved in what was one of the best all round displays this group has ever put on.  We travel to Buxworth in two weeks time and we can go into the game with confidence.


U15 team for game at Chapel on Monday 20th May 2013.  Please make your own way to Chapel’s ground and be there no later than6pm ( I will do my best to be there by then but cannot guarantee)


Start 6.15 – we are batting first


Ben Stones

Ivan Heathcote

Jacob Holland

Matt Bingle

Ole Madden

Bruce Glover

Ethan Williams

Will McIlveen

Kieran Connell

Danny Burt

Jack Kitchen


Scorer Charlie Kitchen


All other squad members are very welcome to come along and support!

Monday 22nd April 2013 v Hayfield (home)

Yes thats right, Monday 22nd April! It was cold, it was wet, and after a couple of early run outs it wasn't long before Billy suggested we reconvene in more cricket friendly conditions. At this point we were on top, and when Ole Madden took a wicket clean bowled, and Matt Bingle claimed two victims, one clean bowled and one from an Ethan Williams catch, things were looking good. Jacob Holland took the final wicket to fall, clean bowled, and slowly but surely Hayfield recovered. They eventually closed their innings on 86 for 6, and it was going dark.

Ben Stones started well for Whaley, but Ed Kitchen took impartiality to a new level when he gave Ole Madden out lbw for 1. Bruce Glover was bowled for 8, and when Will McIlveen was caught for 12 the light beat us. We were on 44 for 3 with Ben Stones unbeaten on 16, and with seven overs still to bowl it was definitely the right decision.

Monday 6th May 2013 v High Lane (home)

In stark contrast to the Hayfield game, sun cream and shades was the order of the day when we hosted a very strong High Lane side. Will McIlveen starred in the field with a run out and a catch off Bruce Glover, then another run out came as a result of a direct hit by Jacob Holland aiming at just one stump. The outfielding was tremendous, exemplified by Will McIlveen who took his second catch, this time off Ivan Heathcote. High Lane finished on 89 for 4 off 20 overs, and we were in with a shout. Ben Stones was bowled for 11, but Ole Madden and Will McIlveen started to chip away at the total. Ole was caught for 6, whilst Will went on to retire on 32. Bruce was stumped for 8 and Ethan was bowled for 5, leaving Ivan Heathcote and Jacob Holland at the crease. Ivan hit a few lusty blows to be not out on 5, whilst Jacob was bowled off the last ball for 1. We were 87  for 5 at the close of our innings, falling just two runs short, but the performance shows great promise for the future.

Under 15s Statistics

Batting          Inns    N.O.    Runs    HS      Avge
W. McIlveen        6      2       76     32*    19.00
B. Stones          7      5      152     32*    76.00
B. Glover          7      1       53     14*     8.83
E. Williams        5      1       22      7      5.50
O. Madden          6      1       31     10*     6.20
J. Holland         3      1        3      2*     1.50
C. Kitchen         4      2       71     34*    35.50
M. Bingle          3      2        7      5      5.00
I. Heathcote       5      3       69     32*    34.50
D. Burt            1      1        2      2*    --.--
K. Connell         1      1        0      0*    --.--

Bowling        Overs    Mdns      Runs    Wckts       Avge    Economy
I. Heathcote     8        0        46        2       23.00     5.75
M. Bingle       13        1        60        3       20.00     4.60
B. Glover       21        3        70        7       10.00     3.45
E. Williams     19        1        87        2       43.50     4.47
D. Burt         15        1        43        3       14.33     2.92
O. Madden       14        1        63        5       12.60     4.50
J. Kitchin       5        0        25        0       --.--     5.00
J. Holland       4        1         9        1        9.00     2.25
N. Wild          1        0         3        0       --.--     3.00
J. White         4        0        20        1       20.00     5.00
W. McIlveen     12        3        43        5        8.60     3.55
B. Stones       11        0        61        0       --.--     5.60
C. Kitchen       8        2        36        2       18.00     4.50

Under 15s Catches
E. Williams    2
W. McIlveen    3
J. Holland     1
I. Heathcote   1
B. Glover      3
M. Bingle      1
B. Stones      1
C. Kitchen     1
O. Madden      1

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
In theory we should have a very strong under 15s side this year, and we started with a win when High Lane turned up with just 5 players. Future match reports will appear here.

Monday 21st May v Chapel (home)

What a delight to turn up at the ground not having to wear thermals, as sunshine blazed down on New Horwich Park for the U15s fixture against local rivals Chapel. Chapel took first knock and Ben Stones (0 for 15) and Jacob Holland opened the bowling, both bowling tight spells. Jacob took the 1st wicket when a leg side delivery was clipped away nicely behind square only for Charlie Kitchen to take a good catch above his head. Chapel  were 5 for 1 and that left  Jacob with figures of 1 for 5 runs. Chapel just ticked along with Matt Bingle (0 for 5) and Bruce Glover (0 for 9) bowling well, but the score could have been a lot less had it not been for some sloppy fielding. The next wicket fell with the score on 33, after a significant bowling change. Gareth Preece's first ball was a leg side delivery which was despatched with ease but yet again straight to Charlie Kitchen backward of square. Gareth also took the next wicket courtesy of a Harry Bold stumping to leave Chapel on 47 for 3. Gareth finished with figures of 2 for 14. Ole Madden took the next wicket after building pressure with tight bowling, when in his second over he clean bowled the batsman. This left the visitors on 56 for 4 and Ole finished with figures of 1 for 2 from 2 overs. Alex Cripps (0 for 5) and Stephen Weston (0 for 7) bowled tightly, but the final wicket to be taken was by JJ Goldfinch (1 for 3), clean bowling his opponent, and Chapel closed on 72 for 5 from their 20 overs.
After a short interval for refreshments, Ben Stones and Jacob Holland strode to the crease. Both batted straight with not much bad bowling to have a go at. The score had ambled along to 12 when Jacob was clean bowled for 2 at the end of the 5th over. This brought Alex Cripps to the crease to partner Ben, who was playing some delightful cuts to the point boundary to keep the score ticking along. Alex found his feet with some attacking shots that unfortunately found the fielders. This soon changed as he played a good array of shots along with Ben. When Alex retired at 30, Whaley had amassed 71 runs.  This brought Harry Bold to the crease, who promptly ran a single leaving Ben to hit the winning runs and end up on 25no, with 5 overs to spare. Chapel played out the remaining overs to give some of our lads a bit of time at the crease.
All in all a good performance but a bit of tuning up of the fielding basics wouldn’t go amiss.