Oakworth Cricket Club 2017 Third Xl
2017 once again was destined not only to be one in which under-13
players appeared frequently, but also when many dads would be turning out
to make up the numbers! The team too had a new Captain in Neil Bishop as
Tariq opted to concentrate on his driving business.
22nd April was start day at a cool Penistone Hill against Cononley. And what a start. After 12 overs, Cononley were 6 for 4 with the opening burst from Nick Staton featuring strongly. His 7 overs brought in 3-12 as one of his best ever displays. But it wasn't a one-man show with Ellis Marshall claiming 2-15 from 9 superb left-arm overs. Middle order stalwart Paul Hogg set about a rescue and he found some support from the lower order to drag the Cononley tally up to 121-9. But there our ascendancy ended. Only number-8 Iestyn Jones with 24 made a mark as the Cononley bowlers also came up with scalps. Subhaan Ahmed  dug in but when he departed we subsided to just 57 all out Harry Parker 3-5].
It was evident that the batting might struggle but the bowlers too took a battering from Sean McEvoy  and Neil Poustie  as Hepworth & Idle rattled up 241-6. Whilst shipping some punishment, Oliver Bishop stuck at it well for 12 overs and taking 4-76. The batting was improved on the previous week thanks to 31 from Khaliq Ahmed and 16 from Harry Rowe in a 95 all out response. At Glusburn the determination was there and A late order blast from Andy Keslinke who smashed 44 to build on earlier quality from Harry Rowe  and a sparkling 28 from county prospect Lewis Brown. The 161 all out tally was without doubt our best yet and was certainly competitive. Lewis and Harry each grabbed a pair of wickets but all found stager Alan Coney unmovable. That his 81 would carry Glusburn to a win seemed likely but they took over 39 overs to do it. It was then unlucky 13th May as we were unable to field a team to face league-leaders and league newcomers Silsden who were awarded the points.
Golden View was the next trip and our confidence was several notches higher. Batting first again, Andrew Stephens really bit the bullet and rattled off 10 fours and a six on his way to a titanic 75. Close mate Iestyn Jones combined well and his 35 was the difference in reaching our highest yet 166-8 with the home sides Simon Webster picking up 4-32. Surely? And a decent start with the ball in hand was also made. Unsung Henry Booth was the hero with 3-25 from 6 overs, but Nick, Ellis and Subhaan each also grabbed a brace. Former Oak, Frazer Atkinson smashed 30 and Webster added 29 but we looked well on the way to a first win of the year. But heartbreakingly the Long Lee number-10 Andrew Mears cracked a match-winning 40 in partnership with last man Neil Kennedy who made 7. Long Lee made 167-9 for a one wicket win. Yet another away match followed this time at Ingrow. Our 10 man team couldn't match the exploits of the last 2 weeks and a 72 all out was a step backwards. Ellis Marshall again looked good with 15 and Lewis Brown with 11 also showed promise. Former Oxenhope player Callum Holmes anchored a rapid response with 41 not out and the 73 was reached with just one wicket down in 79 balls. So we stood at 0-0-6 after 6 matches.
A Home match against Bradley was next up and another 10-man team took the field to bowl first. We chased leather, mainly from the bat of Danny Smith who whacked 96 [7 sixes], Chris Kimberley  and George Bell . Subhaan Ahmed's 3-39 from 10 overs was exemplary. 269-5 was a tough ask to overhaul. An excellent openers knock of 46 from Lucas Keslinke deserved a 50 but with 5 fours and 2 sixes he cold be proud of his contribution. Sadly there was little support and we subsided to 79-9 with Bell in fine nick with 3-8. Gargrave had been a happy hunting ground in recent years and a close match was anticipated. It was damp and miserable. Ellis Marshall showed true quality with a really solid innings of 36 whilst others struggled with the conditions and we ended on 77-8 after 40 steady overs. Early wickets helped our cause but the Gargrave strategy of just going for it eventually paid off. Tony Spensely hit 38 and they ran out winners on 78-6, 2 wickets each for Lewis and Subhaan. 0-0-8. Wilsden next found their way up to Penistone Hill and we were asked to bat. Iestyn Jones again showed good form with 25 but only opener [!] Jim Staton with 10 could match his endeavour. 84-9 for our 10 men was limited by terrific bowling from Harry Davis with 4-17. Ben Reynard with 55 and Nick Hahn with 26 wrapped the proceedings up in 73 balls at 86-0.
Over the years Thirds have had some fascinating out-turns with Foulridge. Maybe this week? Paul Carter boosted the resources but he was out for 9. Ellis Marshall yet again showed sheer class making 30 and the other Brown, Ellis Brown chipped in 26 not out to a slightly improved 108-8 [9 men this week]. Foulridge Mr reliable Irfan Khaliq took 3-20. In 16.2 overs the Red Rose were on their way home with the points on 109-3, 52 coming from Zaheer Abbass. Next up was the battle of the Thirds. Batting first Bingley Congs struggled to get on top of our eager young bowlers and Ellis Marshall 3-22 and Subhaan Ahmed 3-33 looked the massive prospects both really are. That the Congs reached 121 all out was mainly down to number 10 Michael Clayton scored 29 not out. Nevertheless this was a first opportunity since the Long Lee match. But yet again the script didn't include the win element for Oaks. We stayed at the crease for 109 balls but could tally only 59 run disappointment. Having performed well against Cononley back in April the trip to their midden was another possible fixture we might win. Once again Paul Hogg was a rock for the opposition with 40 and Harry Parker backed up with 19. But 109 all out was a testament to our bowlers continued to climb the rankings. Subhaan Ahmed just get better and better, this week with 4-25 and another 3-14 in 9.1 overs from Ellis Marshall was brilliant. If Subhaan was the bowling hero, his dad was the hero with the bat. Khaliq Ahmed just would not get out and his 70 not out [10 fours and a six] was hugely well supported by 12 year-old Lewis Brown with 33 not out and 110-0 wasn't just a win it was a demolition! Yahoo!!!
But after the Lord Mayor's show comes the..... A disastrous 33 all out against Skipton CI had no-one in double figures for an 11-man team too. Mo Hussain 4-10 and Will Shuttleworth 3-4 ripped us apart at HWE. A deflated young side trudged off after a 9-wicket drubbing with just 1 wicket for Subhaan. Best forgotten. At Home again, Glusburn were next to challenge and they made 155-6, once again indebted to Alan Coney  and Noman Hassan . 2 wickets each for Ellis, Lewis and Ollie Bishop was a great effort from the three juniors. But we had a go and the top 3 collectively tallied 73 and a second win wasn't out of the question. But the remaining 7 players tallied just 17 and we tumbled to 103-9. But the batting of Lewis Brown , Khaliq Ahmed  and Keith Gilert  showed that 2019 might just see better times. The beautiful clubhouse and ground at Silsden looked a picture and the home side batsmen took to it. Veteran Andy Pullen batting at 6 added 77 in no time to boost their tally to 233-6 which included 39 from Will Robinson. Subhaan Ahmed again looked the part with 2-44 whilst Ollie took a bit of stick with 2-83 in 12. This week it was the son who followed the dad with Will Pullen destroying any chance we had with 5 for 3 and a disastrous 15-7 score for a gallant 8 man team.
Long Lee batted first on the Hill and old stager Jan Haider showed all his old guile with 52 and paired amazingly with former Oaks junior Luis Spragg who ground out 31. Long Lee posted 133-9. This week Ollie Bishop had more fielders and more control and he returned 3-26 off 10. And with Ellis Marshall tying the batters in knots with 2-12 from his 10, again we set up a chance with our bowlers. Our chase faltered after the first wicket and it was Ollie who steadied the ship with 20 at number 7. The 19 from Khaliq Ahmed had set the tone but the 112-9 was another deflation. With some new names on their team sheet Ingrow came up the trek and posted a solid 224 all out. Tom Bradley  and Richard Hanson  proved a handful. But again Ollie, Lewis and Subhaan picked up their consistent 2 apiece. A great start from back-in-harness Michael Thompson  and Lewis Brown  was completely wasted as Ryan Higgs took 5-24 to leave us all out for 68 [9 men]. The away match at Bradley was conceded with no team. But the visit from Gargrave who had just edged us out in the Dales was another of those 'possibles'. We had a boost with inclusion of Mike Davison who pitched in 2-6 in 12 very frugal overs. 2 for 14 from Ellis Marshall was right on par and suddenly we had Gargrave at 95-7 after 45 fairly turgid overs of batting. We had no such trouble as Thommo turned back the clock with 6 fours and 4 sixes, and his 63 not out was a joy to behold. The principal support came from Iestyn Jones with 23 and we ran out winners at 98-2 after just 21.3 overs. A second win!!
Over at Wilsden we knew we faced a strong team and their 174-8 was a good piece of restriction from our lads. Opener Umar Malik scored a fine 68 and had solid back-up all down their line up. Oliver Bishop with 3-42 from 10 combined well with Bradley Powell 2-9 from 5 to give us half a chance. Tom Fothergill opened with 21 and then we lost consistent wickets until number 9 Steve Cox put bat to ball for 31 to take us to a reasonable 98 all out, but defeated of course. The penultimate home match vs Chatburn was another victim of the fickle summer weather so the last match was reached against Bingley Congs Thirds in what turned out to be their last home match at the ground. Our bowlers ere nothing less than magnificent. Ellis Marshall 4-10 off 103 overs was terrific; Ollie Bishop's 3-10 off 7 not far behind and everyone else's was in tune. The Congs tallied only 62-9 in 34.3 overs. 39 of those came from one man Tim Summers. Lewis Brown anchored the innings with 35 not out and we ran out winners on 64-2 in 15.3 overs. What a finish to the year!! Two wins in the last 4 matches.
At home Thirds picked up 1 win, 1 draw and 9 defeats [inc 1 conceded], and on our travels, 2 wins and 9 defeats [inc 1 conceded]. Our Home teams totalled 682 runs in its 9 knocks whilst losing 76 wickets and elsewhere the outcome was 967 runs for the loss of 75 wickets in the 10 trips to the crease.
The team batting was heavily held back by the poor outfield conditions and an average score at home of only 84 reflects that. The batsmen away from home pushed their average up to 97, 15% better. Wicket taking was the same Home or Away. However youngsters in the side are still very much on the development curve and preservation of wickets has not yet been fully inbred.
29 players turned out in 2017. Khaliq Ahmed and Lewis Brown were joint leading run-scorers with 189 apiece. For Lewis Brown it was a very consistent season with a best of 35 not out. Also over the 'ton' were Ellis Marshall , Iestyn Jones  and Andrew Stephens . Captain Neil played all 19 matches whilst Ellis Marshall missed just the one. Talisman Jim Staton turned out 15 times with 13 for Lewis, Iestyn and Ollie. There was 10 each for Andy Keslinke and Khaliq Ahmed.
That Ellis and Lewis have continued to show their quality was perhaps not unexpected but their maturity is also self-evident. It would not be a surprise if a bucket full of runs comes their way in 2018. The dads did their bit without doubt and in 2018 we will look for increased returns from Subhaan, Ellis Brown, Henry Booth, and Josh Toner to help ease in the new lads Jake Keslinke [green card hopefully], Charlie Raby, Ben Hawkes, Amrit Sharma, Danyal Hussain and Irtiza Zahid.
The bowling attack was once again almost entirely based on the younger players, some in their second season of senior cricket. Three players topped the 20-mark with Ollie Bishop and Subhaan Ahmed each on 23. Ellis Marshall chipped in 21. Lewis Brown added 13 and Henry Booth a startling 9. The best return was from Ellis with 4-10. In 2018 the team will be without Ollie who has moved over to Haworth.
Leggie Subhaan wheeled away for over 149 overs and Ellis tallied 147. Ollie chipped in 102 with 77 from Lewis.
Of the regular bowlers Ellis was the most economical at 2.7 runs per over, with Lewis on 3.2 and Subhaan on 3.9. Ollie out-turned 4.1. By contrast Ollie had the best strike rate at 26.8 balls per wicket, Lewis next on 35.6, Subhaan 39.0 and Ellis on 42.1
In 2018 Charlie Raby should drop into the slot well as his pedigree has risen enormously since making the Taverners team. And Jake Keslinke [if allowed] should impact both batting and bowling.
Ben H may take the wicket-keeping gloves in 2018 and hopefully develop more rapidly as the 'main man'. In 2017 Subhaan was top fielder with 5 catches and 2 run outs, but the abiding memory is of lots and lots of dropped chances. Something to work on!
The Captaincy issue urgently needs a permanent resolution, since Neil has moved on to pastures new. Without a 'regular' skipper the team will lose cohesion. The batting will again be vulnerable but if Khaliq, Iestyn, Keith and Andrew can be available a little more, we could climb that particular ladder as Ellis, Lewis and all other juniors should move their tallies skywards. The bowling has been our strongest suit but we will miss Ollie, no question. And Thommo too as he too is to help out at Haworth. We will look to the new boys to cover their workload alongside Lewis, Ellis, Subhaan and Henry and the 'motley crew' who make a few appearances.