Oakworth Cricket Club

The 2018 season 

The 2017 club review outlined our First XI survival, just, and alluded that our youngsters in the club pipe-line were maybe not quite ready for the challenge. The club had the option of seeking recruits from elsewhere or providing those younger players with opportunity to show they could hack it at senior level. The club chose the latter option... so how did it fare? The 2017 battle to find 33 players each week continued through-out the year but that challenge was met with solid determination from the Chairman and his committee. Positive pre-season news hinted that Lewis Wrathall, Jack Ellis and Sam Nettleton would all return to the club after time out, whilst there were no reports of players leaving the club. The First XI would use 25 players during 2018, one more than in the close encounter of 2017. As forecast Michael Scarborough took the Second XI captaincy and stalwart Joel Gallagher again took the reins of a suddenly younger-looking First XI squad. [Only joking Mick]. The Craven & District League had the appearance of a collective that most teams appeared of similar quality and that the Champions might not be so easily identified. The promoted teams were Ingrow and Wilsden. Pre-season favourite tags were suggested by many for Bingley Congs and Haworth Road, whilst strong teams at Crossflatts and Denholme might be hindered by punitive points deductions following rules transgressions during 2017.

Week 1 was a complete wash-out with the Wide Lane local derby against Ingrow allocated as with others a 1-point aside draw. A week later a trip to Haworth Road would perhaps show their pedigree and also reveal whether our boys had further turned the corner from 2017's near disaster. Batting first ever-reliable Joel [31] and Drew [16] got us a decent start with 45 for the 1st wicket. Showing his undoubted quality Ben Howell entered the fray and a 73-ball 51 set us on the way towards a respectable score. the loss of 3 quick wickets spoiled that immediate prospect and it was returnee Sam Nettleton who from no 8 carried us on to 175-9 with a startling 43no which included 3 sixes! All this despite 5-35 from Mansha Khan's 12 overs for the 'Road. Could our bowlers follow this up and we didn't have long to wait as Ben ripped out the top order with 3-40 before Rick, Jack Davison and another back in Oaks colours, Jack Ellis each picked up a pair of opposition scalps. Our victory would have been clear cut and dominant without a late 48 from their no 10 Kristian Hargreaves, who was last man out at 147 after 42 overs. Four points from 2 matches, we'll take that!

Back at a drier Wide Lane, Wilsden made their first league visit to Oakworth, with Matty Lee coming in for Jack Ellis' holiday, as we again won the toss and opted to bat. The opening dynamic duo did it again with a 69-run start, the pair sharing 13 boundaries between them, Joel [41], Drew [39]. Ben again followed up with 36 and our top order was providing the solidity shown in other seasons. This time it was Jack Davison with the bat that added 43 and with Matty's 18 we reached exactly 200 in our 43.2 overs. former Eldwick batsman Glen Stableford [33] and new-to-CDCL Chris Longley [35] held us up early doors , but despite a few scores in the teens, Wilsden could reach only 146 all out [37.4 overs]. Our attack had again followed the great start by the batsmen and 'done the biz', this week led by leggie Jack Davison with 3-44 to cap a great day at the office. 7 points out of 9 and it was no wonder Oaks went into the 1st round of the Wynn Cup full of confidence vs Eldwick & Gilstead. It was to be our first chase of the season and the Bingley side performed beyond the expectations of many. Number 3 Jacob Roach was their star man with 76 from 99 balls before Sam took the catch off Rick. Opener Tom Coneely [39] also batted well to help the 10-man Eldwick tally on to 168-9. Rick took the bowling plaudits this week with 3-32 in attack which included 15-year-old debutant Ellis Marshall with 1-44 [10 overs]. Run outs by Joe and Ben also helped. Skipper Joel was in a hurry with 39 from 36 balls in a 55-run opening salvo. Ben picked up a second half-century [58] in just 44 balls and with run-a-ball contributions from Joe and Robert, we romped home at 172-3 in only 25 overs.

Back in league action, in increasingly warm weather, we travelled to Hepworth & Idle in the hope of more success. Home bowler Jonathan Thompson chipped in 4 wickets but conceded 81 runs as our batsman ran riot. Joel [46] and Drew posted a 116 partnership first up with Drew going on to 75 [61 balls]. back from Uni, Lewis Wrathall made his 2018 bow and what a bow, his 79 coming of just 61 balls also. Jordan Powell smashed 31 from 17 and Jack Davison continued his fine form with 52 from 44. The net result was a titanic 321-7 to deflate the then bottom side. Hepworth number 5 Jake Sunderland was the home side's top scorer with 52 in a game but forlorn riposte which ended at 169 all out [41.5 overs]. Rick was line & Length perfection with 4-24 whilst fresh from holiday Jack Ellis added 3-43. 10 points from 12 and we were right up there with the best, and that position was to be tested to the full the next day with the Congs at Beckfoot. At 32-3 Oaks had the Congs reeling, but a 4th wicket stand of 92 from Chris Dibb [64] and Neil Copping proved a turning point. Copping strode on with only scant support but his 122 from only 66 balls fired the Congs to a really useful score of 262-9. The bowling honours went to Joe Copperwaite with 4-45, backed by Ben with 3-39. Jack Ellis, Lewis and Matty shipped the bulk of Copping's assault. Joe and Drew departed for ducks as we faced a much different trail in the chase. Lewis [28], Joe [27] and Rick [22] did their best but we could not match the scoring rate. Our innings ended on a disappointing 119 all out as Greenhalgh and Adil each captured 3 for our scalps. 10 from 15 point was still pretty good though.

The early season predictions had been somewhat supplemented by the startling form of Barrowford who had found a quality to lead their batsmen to give their bowlers enough to defend, and they now sat at the top of the table. They were welcomed to the Wide Lane track, on which they had no hesitation in batting first. An 85-run opening stand didn't augur well with the 'new star' Imdad making 42 from 43 balls before falling to on-song Jack Ellis. His opening partner and skipper Jonny Omerod went on to make 51 to demonstrate their position was no fluke. But they were contained well by Jack who went on to record 5-35 from his 12 overs and no-one else scored more than 20. Nevertheless their 211-9 was not to be sniffed at. Solidity had been our ace thus far and it surface again in our knock. Ben picked up a third fifty [53] for the year and with 44 from Lewis in a 74-run stand, it was game on! Joe was on fire with 33 from 17 balls and a controlled from Robert carried us to the brink and victory with 216-7 with over 5 overs in hand. 13 from 18 and the league leaders downed!

Saturday 2nd June will enter the Oakworth record books in the local derby disaster category, after the trip to West Lane, Haworth for the 145th league derby. Damien Rowell has celebrated many a classy performance against Oakworth over the years, the only person in the league with a 200 against Oaks. But this year his 4-20 helped skittle our boys for an incredible 36-9, the lowest derby-day score since 1957. But the damage was really done by Will Yildiz with 5-11 from 9 overs of torment. Our innings consumed just 18.3 overs to leave the cock-a-hoop rivals with an easy job to make 37-1 in 8.2 overs for a third consecutive derby win in a row. 13 from 21 with 4-1-2. Sunday's round 2 Wynn Cup-tie with Wilsden was sadly conceded by our home opponents. Our next league visitors were Crossflatts, who batted the full 45 overs. Jack Ellis, Joe and Lewis shared the 9 Crossflatts wickets and restricted their batsmen to scoring at just 3.2 per over. After a 31-run opening stand the 'Flatts fell apart reaching 104-7. But junior, Jodi Town-Jones at no 11 knuckled down and scored 25no and the Flatts made 143-9. Oakworth openers Joel and Drew again did their bit scoring 27 apiece and a 48-run opening stand. Jim O'Hara engineered a middle-order collapse and at 85-5 'Flatts were in the hunt. Thankfully Jack Davison and Matty [14] added 36 precious runs, but still 23 were needed to win. Jack Ellis fell for a duck and Jordan Powell added only 4, so Oakworth found themselves at 128-8. Rick [6] gritted it out with Jack D who ended 25no as a win came at 144-8 with 4 overs to spare. Oakworth now sit 2nd in the league. 5-1-2, 16 points.

Back on the road over the Ellers, Sutton were our next away opponents. On a day of toil for bowlers, Oakworth met stern resistance from Sutton's Sam Solley who pinged 7 fours and 2 sixes in his 61 before a run out by Ben. The Sutton total reached 188-5 with 2 wickets for Jack D. Our batting openers did us proud with a 94 run partnership before leader Drew fell for better than a run-a-ball 58. Sam went on to make 37 with our coup-de-grace coming from Jack D with 15 no but our chase used just 33.2 overs to overhaul the Sutton total in emphatic style. 6-1-2, 19 points. On Wednesday 20th June we trekked across to Oxenhope for a 1st round Keighley Cup 20-20 Cup-tie with some optimism. For the home side only Lewis Hopkinson made a great impression with 34 as the rest of his side failed to get to grips with our bowlers. Joe 3-11 and Jack E 3-26 proved a handful in restricting Oxenhope to 107-9. Our batsmen needed just 15.3 overs to overhaul the total. Lewis [28] and Ben [29] made the early inroads and Jordan in inimitable style finished the job with 26 from just 8 balls! at 113-4 for us to progress to Finals Day at Lawkholme. The First Xl made it a hat-trick of wins with a comfortable win at old rivals Embsay. Oakworth totalled 250-6 with Joe at the head of an impressive line up on 78, Drew also prominent with 44. It was also Joe who led the bowlers with 3-46 with 2 each for Ben, Lewis and Jack D, limiting the home side to 197 all out. 7-1-2, 22 points and just Denholme of this year's league opponents still to encounter. But first we had a 3rd round Cup-tie with Haworth Road to negotiate. At Wide Lane it was the turn of Muhammed Ayaz to stamp his mark with 4-34 to rip out our top and middle order to leave us at 52-6. But Oxenhope slayer Jordan teamed up with Matty to add on another 65, Jordan having 6 sixes in his 50. Jack E carried on the good work with help from Matty and Ellis Marshall and we reached an OK 169-9, Ellis not out on 14. But the Wynn Cup trail finally went cold for us as Robert Greenwood 37no sealed a 171-6 reply with over 6 overs left. Joe and Jack E each bagged 3 wickets but a 61 run 7th wicket partnership wouldn't be broken, so we exitted the Cup.

The final league match of the season's first half was against Denholme at Wide Lane. Our winning league streak came to an end at the hands of Denholme's bowlers and a bash from Ronnie Chuckununga. Rob Holly did his best to marshall the tail with 46 from 51 balls but Matty Wear's 4-37 kept Oaks to 177 all out after being 73-6. Our bowlers toiled in the baking sun on a bone-dry pitch but Ronnie's 67 no from 46 balls was decisive inside 37 overs So half-way and our standing was in the top four at 7-1-3 on 22 points. Beyond expectations? The second half of CDCL seasons are notoriously difficult as teams have gained an insight into your strengths and in some cases may have added to their resources.

We began with the reverse at Wide Lane with Bingley Congs, one of the 3 teams to take the points from us in the first half. But we would be doing so without Ben Howell, who had left for his coaching appointment in South Africa. Good luck Ben. The Congs took first dig and before too long found themselves at 42-5. The wickets were a family affair with Ellis Marshall taking 2 and Jack Ellis 3 in a stunningly impressive assault from the boys. This time there was no century for Neil Copping who made just 16. A late thrap from Matt Roberts [25] only enabled a final posting of 98 all out. Jack Ellis returned 3-60 but Ellis had 3-12 from his 6 overs. Matty finished the innings off with 2-0 with his leggies. But the match wasn't over and at 13-4 and 47-5 Oakworth too were on the back foot. Lewis was the saviour and his patient [55 balls] brought him 36 and with 29 from a yet again impressive Rob and 16 from Jordan, the total loomed nearer. At 92-8 we had a nail-biter. Lewis held steady and Ellis held out for a 6-ball 0 not out to carry us over the line to avenge the earlier defeat in May. 8-1-3, 25 points. At this stage we were deservedly amongst the contenders.

Next match was at Ingrow and a meeting with old pal Pricey and half-a-dozen or so ex-Oakworth juniors. Pricey wasn't playing but it was Wayne Exley who led their line up with 49 alongside opener Jake Hoyle 47. In fact all the Ingrow batsmen contributed well as our bowlers found the going hard. Only Tom Fothergill, promoted from the 2nd XI, coped well with 5-50 but Ingrow tallied 227 all out. Lewis was our top batter with 49 and no 8 Sam also made 40 and with 29 from opener Drew we were in the hunt. Finally the difference proved the solidity of the Ingrow innings as our reply included 8 single-figure scores in the final 184 all out. A disappointing result to an Ingrow side beginning their climb from the relegation slots and who played amazingly well. Mohammed Arshad led their bowlers with 4-47 but a telling input came from Will Rankin with 3-37. 8-1-4. The Division was turning out as expected., a close race as teams beat each other as soon as they reached the top. Barrowford were still at the head but Congs were faltering as our next opponents and Crossflatts were starting their climb. Haworth Road were grateful to no 7 Zahir Abbas who fired an 86-ball 104 not out to propel their innings from 79-5 to an ultimate 216-7. Mohammed Zahid had earlier scored 45. Now back-in-harness Harry Hollingsworth took some stick from Abbas, conceding 83 in his 11 overs and youngster Ellis also copped 65 from his 10 overs. Tom again shone with 3-28. The batting again looked brittle with Drew [65] a notable exception and who was supported by Jack D [45] and Lewis [31] in our reply of 171 all out. This was the first time this year we had lost 2 in a row but we still were in the upper half of the table with 8-1-5.

We next had a Sunday appointment at the Keighley Cup 20-20 Finals day at Lawkholme to negotiate! But our league disappointments were set aside as our semi-final opponents, Harden batted first posting 140-6 in their 20. Former Denholme and Keighley all-rounder Andy Wear led his team with 58no with attacking flair from Cummins and Roper. The fielding was sharp and we managed 3 run outs, 1 to Lewis and 2 to Sam. Lewis gave the innings a great start with 33 from 28 but the cheap losses of Drew, Joe and Sam made us second favourites at that point of 55-4 when Sam fell. Rob Holly stopped the rot with a 26 run blast from just 10 balls to get us back on track at 85-5. But it was finally the ace-finisher Jordan who smashed 39 from 23 balls to take us to the Final with 10 balls in hand. In the Final our opponents would be Bingley Congs, who had seen off Crossflatts. Congs won the toss and asked us to bat first. Lewis and Drew did us proud at the top of the order with 42 and 28 respectively after around 10 overs. Everyone chipped away and the 17 from Jack Ellis proved a late order boost to add to the 24 extras from the Congs. We tallied a stunning 156-7. Neil Copping's bowling brought him 3-28 from his allotted 4. He also opened the batting with 40 [22] and Andy Blackburn's 38 [32] threatened to take the trophy from our grasp. But the bowlers proved the heroes as Rick led the attack with 3-14 and together with 2-28 from a mature Ellis and 2-37 from Joe added to 2 run outs, they managed to curtail the scoring and the Congs fell 11 runs short. We had won the Cup for the first time since 2014, our 2nd 20-20 and our 7th Keighley Cup in all formats.

Flushed with success, could we get the league campaign back in the early season groove? Our next opponents offered us chance of a first 'double' of the season at Windy Hill, Wilsden. Their opener Chris Mitchell blasted 60 from just 36 balls to get their knock under way. Longley added 38, Wright 39 and a killer late blow from Liaqat Ali of 30 allowed a 206 all out posting. Our young bowlers did themselves proud, Tom with 4-62, Ellis with 3-44 and promoted Bradley Powell 2-34. Drew put in a sterling 49, also promoted Lucas Keslinke 28 and Jack D was on 37no when the heavens opened and the match was abandoned with Oakworth on 148-5 after only 28 overs. With 17 overs to get 59 runs, Oaks felt robbed by the weather. 8-2-5, 26 points. Surely the home match vs Hepworth and Idle, who looked odds on for relegation, would get us back to the 3-pointers? Tom was again in the wickets with 3-38 but the more experienced bowlers took centre stage with 4-18 from Jack Ellis and 3-22 from Rick as H & I subsided to just 80 all out. Joel and Drew lapped it up and reached 59 before Drew was bowled for 39. Joel [21] and Jordan [19] wrapped up the points at 81-1. 9-2-5, 29 points. Barrowford were just starting to edge ahead of the pack and it was our turn to try and peg them back. The Bullholme was to prove an unhappy hunting ground as our 112 all out was unlikely to be sufficient. Jordan [27] and Jack D [34] battled manfully in mid-innings on a difficult track but the 4-35 from Majid Iqbal anchored their attack well. Tom's off-spin again troubled the batters and he returned 3-47 and Jack D bowled tightly for 10 overs claiming 3-28, but 30no from Imran Akhtar enabled a 113-6 and a 4 wicket win for the 'Ford. 9-2-6.

If there was one result the team wanted to reverse, it was the derby debacle at Haworth. Haworth reached Oakworth with a makeshift side and that possibility was definitely on the cards. Only Stuart Jackson [18] reached double figures as the Bronte boys just eeked past our total at West Lane, but only reached 40 all out. Yet another 3 wickets from Tom [3-3], 3 for Jack Ellis [3-10], 2-13 for Ellis and 1-11 for Rick did the business in style, Haworth just glad they exceeded our earlier score! Drew and Harry knocked them off in 40 balls. 10-2-6 and just 4 matches left. Down in town at Crossflatts we batted first and it proved a fine stage for Robert Hollingsworth to put in arguably his finest performance. His 92 came off 88 balls and included 11 fours and 4 sixes and he held our innings together. Skipper Joel kicked off with 30 but in view of Rob's knock the 172 all out might have been seen as a little disappointing. Mayank Singh with 4-41 and Jim O'Hara 3-32 were the 'Flatts best bowlers. There was a captain's knock from Crossflatts captain, Dominic Bennett who scored 73 from 75 balls from the no 1 slot. Tom and Ellis grabbed a pair of wickets each but steady scoring backed up their skipper's innings and the Flatts reached 174-6 with almost 7 overs to spare. 10-2-7. Three to go - Sutton, Embsay and Denholme.

Sutton batted first at Wide Lane and posted 161-8, modest in view of the bone hard wicket in the hottest summer since 1976. Opener David Snowden, not for the first time, top scored with 68 and a resilient top 4 enabled the tally, kept in check by a cracking 5-32 from Joe Copperwaite. Ellis added another 2 scalps to his growing tally in his first season in the senior side. A 62 run opening stand signalled to Sutton their tally was below par as Lewis [36] and Drew [37] paved the way for a string of teen scores to see us home at 162-8 in a nervous last few overs. Nevertheless a win is a win and we now had 11-2-7 and 35 points. The Embsay match was unbelievably caught in the midst of the only rain for months and not played. 11-3-7.

Finally at Denholme their batters made a little hay with Callum Gerrard hitting 72 and Cameron Foster 41 in substantial 254-6 score-line. Rick and Lewis each picked off 3 wickets as Joel used 7 bowlers to stem the run flow. Another solid but not quite enough score of 167-9 after 29.2 overs was terminated by declaration. Jordan spanked 44 from 29 and Joel 34 from 31 but the Denholme bowlers had enough in hand to take the points. so we finished in positive territory with 11-3-8, having achieved 4-2-5 in the second half of the campaign.


The defeat in the final match allowed Denholme to leap-frog our side into fourth position, leaving us in a pleasing fifth place in a season designated as a re-build by many. We had most certainly stopped the rot, surprised quite a few and taken a win from the ultimate Champions, Barrowford. We had won the Keighley 20-20 Cup as our highpoint of the year. But perhaps more pleasing than any other factors was the gelling together of the returnees and the youngsters who forced their way into the XI. The bowling attack varied in personnel across the year, starting with Ben, Rick, Jack D, Lewis & Jack Ellis, and ended with youthful Ellis and Tom as regulars. The batting was more settled and generally featured Joel, Drew, Joe, Rob & Lewis with Ben included in the first 8 matches. Jack Cawood as ever was super-reliable behind the timbers picking up 22 victims [17 caught and 5 stumped].

At Home our form bounced back from 2017 in style with 7-2-2, with the away form 4-1-6 perhaps showing where we need to improve. The batsmen tallied 1,294 at hard fast Wide Lane in 9 knocks, the only defeats being by Denholme and Haworth Road, both of which finished above us. Our team batting average was 20.86, consistent at Home and Away. On our travels we won our first two [Haworth Road and Hepworth & Idle] then were hammered at Congs and Haworth. The next two were won [Sutton and Embsay] before we lost the last four in a row. Overall we scored 3,170 runs at average 20.86, up 3.78 [22%] on 2017. The bowling average out-turn based on 3,247 runs conceded for 163 wickets, was 19.92 almost identical to that of 2017.

In 2017 our propensity for losing wickets was a major factor in the poor overall outcome. This year overall wicket loss was 152 in 19 matches compared to 157 also in 19, an improvement of 0.3 per match or just under 4%. But run-scoring showed a different picture with 3,170 in 2018 compared to 2,682 last year, a massive 488 increase or a whopping 18%. The table below breaks these stats down into H & A.

 

HOME

AWAY

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HOME AWAY
  Runs wkts lost Runs Wkts lost Runs conceded wkts taken Runs conceded wkts taken Av bat Av bowl Av bat Av bowl
2017 1401 77 1281 82 1407 77 1315 77 18.43 23.45 15.81 17.08
2018 1294 62 1876 90 1273 60 1974 86 20.87 16.53 20.84 22.95
Change -107 -15 +595 +8 -134 -17 +659 +9 +2.44 -6.96 +5.03 +5.87

At home our run-scoring actually fell 7% from 1,401 in 9 innings to 1,294 also in 9. This was somewhat puzzling in view of the long, hot dry summer normally associated with high-scoring. Perhaps the pre-season wet weather changed that equation. But when we include bowling in the analysis it becomes clear that losing 15 fewer wickets [almost 20%] really reflected our batting improvement which shows up in an average of 20.87 compared to 18.43, the batting improvement is now truly 13% [2.44 runs per wicket lost].

On away strips our batsmen had a field day in their 10 matches with 1,876 runs, our second highest ever, behind only 2010 [1953 also in 10]. Compared to 2017 the batters improved their scoring by an incredible 45%. But this improvement was gained with a loss of 8 more wickets than in 2017 [up 9%] so the batting average increase was a more modest 15%, but still in line with Home form. Bowling in away fixtures seems to have been our 2018 Achilles heel as the pleasing increase in wickets taken [77 to 86] of 11% was wiped out by our opponents run-scoring on their middens. They racked up 1,974 runs for the 86 wickets we took to give our bowling attack an average of 22.95 in away matches. The deterioration, again perhaps due to the hot weather, was really 5.87 or 34%.

So overall run-scoring in the 9 matches at Oakworth was 2,567 for the combined loss of 139 wickets or 18.47 per wicket taken. Elsewhere the 10 matches involving Oakworth, the figures were a combined 3,850 runs for 176 wickets or 21.88 per wicket. Another indicator that run-scoring at Wide Lane was significantly [100 runs per match] lower than elsewhere.

Oakworth batted first 8 times, winning only 4. Batting second produced 7 wins from 11 matches. Our highest score was 321 vs strugglers Hepworth & Idle. Our lowest total was the abysmal 39 at Haworth.


This year's leading run-scorer was the indomitable off-side specialist Drew Duffy with a terrific 531 [up 119] from 19 innings at 29.50, giving our totals a great start at the top of the order. Next came returnee and none the worse for Uni-life with Lewis Wrathall on 358 runs in 13 innings at 29.83. He supplied top order runs at a brisk pace but also shepherded lower order players when required. The skipper Joel Gallagher continued his fine form of 2017 with 338 runs [down 103] from 17 innings at 24.14. His partnership with Drew is invaluable. Also over the 300 mark is Jack Davison with 306 [up 77] from his 15 knocks at 27.82 in a season when his batting seemed more in demand than his bowling. With only 7 innings to his record Ben Howell still racked up a cracking 272 runs [up 8] at 38.86, comfortably our best batsman. Robert Hollingsworth easily had his best season ever in the First XI with 268 runs [up 105] from his 13 innings at a best yet 24.36, headed superbly by the year's top individual score of 92 at Crossflatts. Joe Copperwaite was a seventh batsman over the 200 mark with 227 [down 18] from 15 innings at 16.21, his all-round contribution was far more significant than his average though. Enigmatic Jordan Powell played half his cricket with the second XI but his 11 knocks for the first XI bagged him 149 runs [down 79] at 14.90 with a best of 44, consistency though is not yet his middle name! Back in harness after a year out Sam Nettleton eased himself into the First XI with 140 runs at 17.50, his best of 43 coming in his first match. He batted just 9 times and it is not yet clear where his best batting position lies. Regular bowlers Rick Cavender and Jack Ellis scored 76 and 60 respectively and when required. Keeper Jack Cawood wasn't called on to bat too many times [9] and picked up 11 runs. but played 19 matches. Late season inclusions Ellis Marshall and Tom Fothergill were used primarily as bowlers with Ellis adding 45 runs and Tom 16 to their efforts with the ball. 

Altogether 25 players turned out in 2018 with 11 fillers-in: Matty Lee [5], Harry Hollingsworth [3], Steve Powell [3], Robert Hopkinson [2], Paul Carter [2] with 1 each for Lucas Keslinke, Bilaal Khan, Bradley Powell, Niall Saynor, Chris Mooney and Connor Gallagher.


The bowling attack was very capably led by back in the fold with 153 overs, Jack Ellis whose 30 wickets brought him league qualification at 18.70 average. His best was a terrific 5-35 vs Champions Barrowford. Late season promotion provided Tom Fothergill with 84 overs of off-spin and he capitalised on the opportunity with 23 wickets at a club prize-winning 15.52 with his best return 5-50. All-rounder Joe Copperwaite picked off 22 wickets [up 12] from his 81 overs as a vital strike bowler in many matches and a best of 5-32. Ever reliable Rick Cavender topped the century of overs with 113 at 18.00 [2nd best] with 20 wickets [down 7] and a best of 4-24. Surprise packet [to some] left-armer Ellis Marshall belied his tender years and retuned 17 wickets at 18.88 from his 77 impressive overs. Leggie Jack Davison continued to provide the leg-spin option when needed but bowled only 77 overs for 14 wickets with a falling strike-rate. Before his departure to sunny climes Ben Howell took 12 scalps from 68 overs and returnee Lewis Wrathall another 9 in 36 fairly expensive overs. Matty Lee with 5 and Bradley Powell with 2 completed the line up of mostly new wicket-taking bowlers. Our fielders effected 9 run outs. Top man in the outfield was the skipper Joel Gallagher whose sure hands snaffled 17 victims to claim a new club record in a league season! Robert, Joe and Jack D each grabbed 10 in good season in the long grass.


After the trauma of the relegation fight in 2017, the 2018 season proved really refreshing. It was a first season for many years that didn't feature Michael Scarborough who stuck to his decision to help bring on the emerging young players in the Second XI. But in truth the team jelled very well indeed under the laid-back leadership of Joel Gallagher who has to take a lot of the plaudits for the return towards the top of the league. Rebuild is not an understatement as the team included debutants Tom and Ellis as well as returnees Jack E, Sam and Lewis. Joe was in only his second season since returning to the game on a regular basis. The option to go elsewhere to sign new players was spurned and proved absolutely correct, the stats don't lie!

So what can we expect from 2019? The batting looks fairly settled and productive if the 2018 level of performance can be repeated. There is some pressure from Bradley Powell, Bilaal Khan and Lucas Keslinke in the Second XI but at only 15 years old, these lads have plenty of time to build a reputation in Division Three. The bowling variety is terrific although the away form, as above, needs to improve. Charlie Raby and Subhaan Ahmed are others just making their way in the Second XI but the bets are that they too will start to pitch for a place before too long. Yorkshire prospect Lewis Brown seems headed for the Bradford League. The most likely to force his way into the First XI is of course Jordan Powell, a regular starter in 20-20 competitions, which will include the Wynn Cup in 2019. One seemingly lost in the short term is James Lee, who on his day can be amongst the best.