Saturday, 31 July 2021

Double header at Scarborough

 Posted by Tony Hutton

Luxton and Pillans rescue Yorkshire.

John Winn has already reported on Yorkshire's rain curtailed match with Northants at Scarborough on Wednesday but I can probably add a little background to Will Luxton's memorable debut innings. We first came across him two years ago when he scored an admirable century for Yorkshire Under 17s against Durham at Sheriff Hutton Bridge in front of very few spectators. One of those was his proud father who was able to tell us that his son, a Bradford Grammar School boy, played for Steeton cricket club in the Airedale and Wharfedale league. He did play a few games for the Yorkshire Academy that season, but with little success. The Academy did not play during the 2020 season, but this season he has been captain of the side and well amongst the runs.

The shot that took Luxton to his 50 at Scarborough.

We have seen him make several scores of over fifty, but his most memorable innings was against Sheriff Hutton Bridge in early June when he and Matt Weston both scored centuries in a partnership of 207. His innings on Wednesday came at a time when Yorkshire were in trouble after the loss of early wickets and he got his head down to play himself in before unleashing two memorable straight sixes to accelerate the scoring rate towards the end of the innings. The ovation from the crowd after his dismissal was outstanding and made this yet another 'I was there' moment.

Luxton celebrates his fifty.

Unfortunately the rain prevented Northants from chasing the Yorkshire total of 222 which might have been an interesting contest on what had been a green looking wicket. However no such problems the following day when Durham hosted another Royal London Cup game with Gloucestershire. A great occasion for lots of Durham supporters to have a day at the seaside and two coachloads from Chester le Street were already unloading at 10 o'clock in the morning outside the ground.

Graham Clark, who has been in outstanding form in this competition, together with Alex Lees, repeated their recent big partnership against Kent at Beckenham, this time putting on 230 for the first wicket before Clark, always the dominant partner, was out for 140. Lees went for 85 and Durham put together what looked like a winning score of 336-4. The Australian Dan Worrall took all four wickets for Gloucester, who included two former Yorkshire players in Josh Shaw and Jared Warner.

The Gloucestershire reply was led by young left hander Ben Charlesworth, who lost his opening partner skipper Chris Dent on 46, but played the sheet anchor role first in partnership with Tom Lace and then a stand of 118 with recent England performer James Bracey. This pair seemed to have turned the game Gloucester's way but when Borthwick's leg spin dismissed them both Durham were back in it. Charlesworth, yet another youngster to take advantage of the current situation, made a fine 87 and both he and Bracey, who made 90, were unlucky not to reach a century.

Ben Charlesworth of Gloucestershire.

The other spinner, Trevaskis, also took two wickets, but the return to action of recent import Van Meekeren with an untidy over, turned the tide back Gloucester's way. Scott hit a couple of sixes before skying the ball to the keeper Bancroft, but then that very experienced, if under rated, cricketer Jack Taylor took control of the situation. The daunting target of sixteen runs from the last over did not phase him one little bit and after hitting the first ball along the ground to long on, he calmly refused the single to keep the strike.

What an outstanding decision that was, as he promptly hit Chris Rushworth for six, four and six again off the next three balls to win the match with two balls to spare. What an amazing finish and even the Durham faithful had to applaud Taylor's remarkable effort. Full marks to Gloucester who have already shown us their ability to chase down targets in championship games on the live streaming.

Jack Taylor of Gloucestershire.

So one and a half days of remarkable cricket at Scarborough with more to come when Somerset visit for four days of a championship game on 5th September followed by Worcestershire seconds for another four days starting on 13th September.

Friday, 30 July 2021

Where there's a Will

 posted by John Winn

My friend Arthur Bartle and I made an early start from The Lower Ure Valley on Wednesday, so early in fact that we formed part of a queue waiting for the gates to open at the Trafalgar Square end of Scarborough Cricket Club. Arthur was clearly expecting an exciting day's cricket for he had packed a copy of My Grammar and I (or should that be me?), essential reading for those attending matches in the devalued Royal London Cup. 

After cursory bag searches we pitched camp behind the boundary close to the players' bubble aka the pavilion only to be told a few minutes later by a steward that we were in forbidden territory and must move. Protestations that Arthur had sat in that very spot for the Surrey match last week were in vain and so we moved our chairs to a position close to the West Stand and more importantly the purveyors of coffee and ice cream, the services of both of which were to come in handy later in the day. A brief shower forced us to seek shelter but play started on time on what had turned into sunny morning. 

Northamptonshire having won the toss elected to field and on a pitch that had been under wraps until very shortly before play began soon had Yorkshire in trouble with Cumbrian Jack White the main threat. Duke, Ballance and Hill all went cheaply to leave Yorkshire on 33 for 3 which by the twentieth over had become 69 for 6. This brought Will Luxton and Matthew Waite together and with Northants' back up bowling being less effective fifty two were added before another wicket fell at which point Pillans, who just two weeks ago I saw playing for Harrogate, joined Academy skipper Luxton. The pair added nearly a hundred before the latter went for 68 including two sixes hit very straight in the direction of Peasholm Park. A decent size crowd gave the youngster generous applause and a final score of 222 all out gave us hope that we might see a contest after lunch. 

Alas this was not to be, for during the interval clouds over Bill's mother's spread to the location of more of his relatives and after only five balls of the Northants' reply from which two singles were squeezed the rain arrived with a force that sent us scurrying for cover. The intensity and duration of the rain convinced us that at best we would have to wait a long time to see more play and at worst that that there might not be any more cricket and so we opted for what proved to be a tortuous journey home with many others of the same mind. By the time we reached the outskirts of York social media had confirmed we had made the right decision for play had been abandoned leaving the sides with a point each. It later transpired that a restart had been planned for 5:50 with DLS setting the visitors 71 more to win off 9.1 overs but that this was prevented by a wet outfield. 

Via twitter Will reflected on his first team debut which had been watched by family members and confirmed our view that batting had not been easy but that 222 was defendable. Whether 71 off 55 balls was defendable will remain an unknown. 

Scarborough CC pavilion July 2017

Sunday, 25 July 2021

An update to the update

Alvanley CC
posted by John Winn

Further to my Village Cup update posted on Saturday and thanks to Tony's eagle eye I am pleased to say that after discussions with 'The Cricketer' Houghton Main will now play their semi final with Alvanley CC. The match will be played on Sunday August 1st with the winners visiting Welsh outfit Neyland the following Sunday. With the 'spirit of cricket' seemingly having triumphed over 'rules are rules' let's hope for two fine Sundays.  

Golden Oldies out in force at Cawthorne.

 Posted by Tony Hutton

On Wednesday last 21st July, in perfect summer weather, it was a joy to re-visit the picturesque ground of Cawthorne cricket club which is situated in an attractive village not far from Barnsley. As so often with the more obscure fixtures on the cricketing calendar it was difficult initially to find out the venue for the Over fifties championship game between Yorkshire and Cheshire. For some reason Yorkshire over 50s tend not to publish the venues for their home games and their activities seem unknown in advance to the Yorkshire cricket board, who do however publish full scores of all their matches.

It was left to me to contact the Cheshire cricket board who proved to be much more efficient and responded almost immediately, also very kindly inserted the venue of Cawthorne onto the play-cricket website which is normally done by the home club. This may have helped produce a larger than average attendance, although the fact that a majority of the Yorkshire side were from South Yorkshire clubs may also have had something to do with it. The ground is at the end of Dark Lane, which is very narrow and takes a bit of negotiating but when you get there it is well worth the effort. An absolute delight.

The Cawthorne pavilion.

The Yorkshire over 50s have been the leading lights in this county championship for many years now to such an extent that some of the players have graduated to the over 60s with equal success. There is now even a Yorkshire over 70s team who actually lost a game to Cheshire at Grappenhall the day after this encounter at Cawthorne. Personally I am still waiting for them to start an over 80s team!

Cricket on a perfect summer's day.

However the Yorkshire team at Cawthorne certainly contained some familiar faces to followers of league cricket over the years. Outstanding among them was Steve Foster, the skipper, who is still scoring runs and taking wickets for Treeton in the Yorkshire Premier League South. Steve is a regular in the England over 50s side and played in the aborted World Cup in South Africa in 2020 which was eventually cancelled due to the Covid outbreak. Another Treeton player, wicket keeper  Paul Fenn, who is a mere youngster has just made his way into the England set up and looks a very capable performer.

Wicket keeper Paul Fenn waits for the back foot to raise.

Other well known names were Nicholas Gaywood of Sheffield Collegiate, Kevin Bradley a prodigious run scorer for Clifton Alliance and Barbar Butt an absolute legend at Pudsey Congs. The side contained no less than three left arm spinners in Jason Meadows (Elsecar), Leigh Beaumont (Stockton) and the evergreen Luke Jarvis (New Farnley). Haider Jahangir is a noted all rounder who has played for several South Yorkshire sides over the years and the side was completed by late arrival Adrian Meadows from Sheffield Collegiate and Mark 'Jocky' Wilson who seems to have been bowling for Wath on Dearne for ever.

Mark Wilson bowls the first over.

Cheshire won the toss and elected to bat, but progress was initially slow particularly against 'Jocky' Wilson who bowled his spell of nine overs unchanged. Five of them were maidens and he finished with remarkable figures of 1-7. He then retired to the shady side of the ground to give loud vocal encouragement to his team mates. All the spinners bowled well with the best figures going to Leigh Beaumont with 3-18 from his nine overs.

A seat in the shade was a wise move.

Chris Beckley from Cheadle Hulme anchored the Cheshire innings but with a middle order collapse had to take his time over an innings of 44 which took up 104 balls. Some welcome acceleration came at the end with Tim Jackson from Alderley Edge making 31 not out, but a final total of 131-6 at the end of the 45 overs was well below par. The strength of the Yorkshire batting line up can be judged by the fact that skipper Steve Foster only came in towards the end of the innings at number six.

A rare boundary for Cheshire.

Gaywood and Bradley put on 70 runs for the first wicket and the game was effectively over at that point.  However Nigel Muirhead, from Toft cricket club, chipped in with three wickets but the game was won in the thirty first over when Foster and Fenn saw them home comfortably with a partnership of 31. Yorkshire winning by five wickets with fourteen overs to spare. What an enjoyable day it had been to be able to watch cricket in whites, with I think only one or two helmets on show all day, in such pleasant surroundings

Saturday, 24 July 2021

The Village Cup

 posted by John Winn

Since I last reported on the Voneus Village Cup the national competition has progressed to the semi finals  which are due to be played on August 1st but events have been tinged with controversy.

Calmore Sports (Hampshire)  who had a comfortable win over Rockhampton in the quarter finals will host Stoke Green from Buckinghamshire, the latter progressing to within one game at Lord's by virtue of a five wicket win over Foxton. It is the other semi final that has aroused passions for Houghton Main (Yorks) have made it to the last four via a walk over which arose when quarter final opponents Alvanley could not play on the original date due to covid. Houghton refused to play on an alternative date, a decision that is within the rules but which has provoked caustic comments on social media. The Yorkshire Southern Premier team will travel to Neyland (Dyfed) who are trying to become the first Welsh winners since 2004. In their quarter final match, a low scoring encounter, Neyland defeated South Wingfield by five wickets.

I have pieced together the events surrounding Houghton's walkover from social media for the official website still shows 'Houghton Main v Alvanley' as tbc but comments on the Alvanley twitter feed leave little doubt that the Cheshire club have had to forfeit the tie while Houghton may have forfeited some friends. 


Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Yorkshire return to Scarborough.

 Posted by Tony Hutton

Strange times indeed for cricket followers and none stranger than yesterday when originally a full programme of games between National Counties (formerly Minor Counties) and all the first class counties had been due to take place. Sadly, mainly due to covid related problems, more than half the games had been cancelled and the remainder switched to the first class county grounds. Such was the case at North Marine Road, Scarborough where Yorkshire made a welcome return to oppose Northumberland in a game originally scheduled for Jesmond in Newcastle.

These games were regarded as warm up fixtures for the Royal London Cup, the first class counties' 50 over competition which springs into action tomorrow. Partly due to the uncertainty of whether this competition would actually take place and the fact that it has been downgraded to a virtual second eleven contest, due to the absence of many players into something known as 'The Hundred', yesterday's game only attracted a somewhat sparse attendance.

Scarborough pavilion.

However those who did attend, on a perfect summer's day, were able to adequately socially distance themselves and to enjoy an excellent day's cricket thanks to the facilities laid on by the Scarborough club. The Northumberland side, the majority of which had links with Durham County cricket club, produced an excellent batting performance and the top three in the order certainly caused Yorkshire some early problems. Openers Alistair Appleby and Sol Bell put on 99 for the first wicket in fine style with the aggressive left hander Appleby leading the way with a hard hitting sixty before being caught behind.

Alistair Appleby hits one into the popular side.

Sol Bell will no doubt remember scoring a hundred on this ground for Durham seconds in a friendly game late in the 2019 season which earned him a call up for Durham's championship match with Glamorgan. which was badly effected by the weather. This proved to be his only first class appearance, as he was later released by Durham. However today brought back memories of the good times with a well composed fifty, including four fours and a six. 

Sol Bell tucks one away on the leg side.

Bell was out with the score on 130-2 caught by Waite off the new fifty over skipper, Dominic Bess. By this time the most experienced member of the Northumberland side, Michael Richardson, had played himself in and although wickets fell at the other end, he anchored the innings almost to the end with a determined top score of 65, which including only five fours. Richardson, the son of the former South African wicket keeper David Richardson, of course played for Durham from 2010 to 2019 as a batsman/wicket keeper. He was eventually out caught by Fraine on the boundary edge going for a big hit.

Northumberland had confounded most people, myself included, in posting an excellent total of 254-8 in their fifty overs. While Yorkshire's bowling was not really at it's best, Matt Pillans who worked up a good speed had the best figures of 3-23. There were some good catches, notably three behind the wicket by Harry Duke and a nice one from Will Luxton making his first senior appearance. The interval between innings gave us the chance to see the wonderful cliff top view of the castle and the north bay with the high tide lapping up to the promenade from a perfectly calm sea.

Unfortunately Northumberland's bowling was not quite up to the standard of the batting. Josh Coughlin, another former Durham man, opened the bowling with a tidy spell but the others had little to show for their efforts. Yorkshire, under the guidance of their new fifty over coach Richard Pyrah, tried another new idea by opening the batting with young Harry Duke. He made a slow start and looked as if is he would be overshadowed by partner Will Fraine, who went for the runs from the start. However Duke played sensibly and showed a full array of shots in an excellent fifty which included nine fours.

Duke was out when the pair had put on 144 for the first wicket and the game as a contest seemed almost already over. By this time Fraine was in full flow, always prepared to hit the bad ball, and sometimes the good ball, into the air. One of his sixes landed on the roof of the long bar on the popular side and the poor bowlers could not restrain his power hitting. When the game reached it's predictable conclusion, with ten overs to spare, Fraine had made a very impressive 146 not out, with fifteen fours and five sixes. Yorkshire winning by nine wickets.

Will Fraine celebrates his century.

Matthew Revis meanwhile had taken a back seat, picking up ones and twos here and there, but blossomed somewhat later on to hit five fours. He ended the innings with a very competent forty not out from forty balls and hopefully will be one of several younger players to take full advantage of the forthcoming Royal London trophy to enhance his reputation. Luxton, who did not have a chance to bat today, will be another, together with some of the younger bowlers, who will be out to show the Yorkshire hierarchy that they can follow the likes of Thompson, Hill and Duke to greater things.

Sunday, 18 July 2021

Yorkshire Academy bounce back at Stamford Bridge

 Posted by Tony Hutton

After two weeks of inactivity due to covid concerns the Yorkshire Academy side bounced back into action with a convincing victory at Stamford Bridge yesterday to confirm their second place position in the Yorkshire Premier League North. Due to the recent disruption the league have decided that average points per game will be the benchmark for teams, some of whom will not be able to play every fixture.

On the hottest day of the year umbrellas were out in force to shield the spectators from the fierce sunshine. We were led to believe that the home side were struggling to raise a side and might be some way off full strength, although all four of their Leeds/Bradford University players were listed to play. Still missing a couple of their senior batsman, the Academy lost Yash Vagadia very quickly but came back strongly with Harry Allison, who appeared for his home club Harrogate last week, and Matthew Weston building a useful partnership. 

Having taking the score to 86-1 Weston on 34 gave a simple caught and bowled chance to left arm spinner Liam Burgess. He was replaced by debutant Harry Finch, like Weston also from Barkisland in the Huddersfield League, who has impressed recently in age group cricket not only for his batting but for his excellent out fielding. Allinson also soon departed, caught behind by Timby for a well made 46 so the Academy had to rebuild.

Hottest day of the year at Stamford Bridge.

Finch played himself in and stayed to make top score of he innings with a fine 59 before he was stumped trying to go for a big hit to accelerate the scoring rate. The score was then 182-6 and the tailenders managed to take the score well beyond the 200 mark, the innings ending on a very satisfactory 220-9. Liam Burgess was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 4-45 on a day when the spinners toiled away for most of the innings.

Stamford Bridge were never really in the game after that, with Jack Timby the Lincolnshire National County player making top score of 31 before being bowled by left arm spinner Harry Sullivan. Twenties from Keast and Burgess were the next highest contributions as the Yorkshire spinners Harry Sullivan (3-17), Sam Wisniewski, who captained the side (2-22) and Yash Vagadia (1-11) led the way. In the end a very comfortable victory for the young Academy side.

Meanwhile Castleford continued to top the table with victory over Woodhouse Grange, helped by a notable bowling display of 6-10 from skipper David Wainwright. Scarborough remain in third place after victory over Dunnington. At the bottom of the table another victory for Harrogate at Sheriff Hutton Bridge raised their hopes of escaping relegation, while Driffield, still bottom of the table, were unlucky not to pull off a remarkable victory over York, despite another century from young Noah Kelly.