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3rd XI - Match centre

Blackley
Lightcliffe
Sun 9 Sep 13:30 - League Start time 13:30

Classical Combo key to cure 'Cliffe's Curse

Lightcliffe 3rd XI 177-5 beat Blackley 3rdXI 120-7 by 57 runs Halifax Sunday League Division One - Sunday 9th September 2018

Lightcliffe’s Sunday season remains alive thanks to a great Father and Son effort against fellow relegation candidates Blackley.

With a mixed weather forecast the home side opted to field first on a damp bowler friendly pitch.

Lightcliffe were soon 2 wickets down and despite attempts to consolidate with over a third of the innings gone found themselves 46-4, as Blackley’s pack of promising youth cut through the top order.

It took a vintage knock from Captain Bruce Lunn to turn around the fortunes. In a fallow season for runs for the veteran, his innings reflected the changing conditions.

Initially mixed – especially with light rain creating challenging decision making for the Umpires – a crucial regulation catch was dropped in the 30’s and proved pivotal. The sun flickered into life, Blackley’s change bowlers were unable to maintain the accuracy of their colleagues and Lunn cut loose with classical drives and characteristic flicks to leg.

Josh Stringer’s 20 was valuable support and with Lunn’s 100 run enforced retirement, a defendable total of sorts, in a rain reduced innings was achieved, thanks to some late runs from Colin Saunders (13no) (too long AWOL this summer) and the in-form Josh Booth (16no).

Nevertheless Lightcliffe’s day took a major knock as the “Curse of the Park Run” claimed another victim.

The local Brighouse Saturday morning 5k run needs to come with a Health Warning for Lightcliffe’s over 50’s.

Lunn missed half of 2017 with leg muscle injury picked up on a “light jog” around Welhome Park. This time key opening bowling Mark Whiley (“fresh” from a first-ever Park Run the day before) giving his usual 100% fielding on the boundary, collapsed in agony.

A 10 minute delay and a season-ending torn hamstring for the side’s leading bowler left the captain – already short on bowling resource - looking for an extra 8 overs stint from another source.

Step up James Lunn. Having not bowled since June (due to injury - but not Run related as far as we know) “Mini-Classical” was pressed into emergency service with instant impact. A drying pitch provided grip and inconsistent bounce. 4 wickets in 3 overs resulted, as Blackley’s middle order succumbed to spin, via a selection of catches, stumpings and cleaned bowled wickets.

37-1 became 51-6 as the broad shoulders of Lightcliffe’s latest Sunday recruit Neil Harvey struck timber. The pair worked in combination mid-innings to stifle the home side with Lunn’s 5-17 return (by some way a career best) a game changer.

The skipper was forced to look to the very occasional arms of young “Bradders” Atkinson and Jack Booth to fill a couple of overs to get through the latter parts of the innings, prior to Junior mainstream bowlers Josh Booth and Dylan Hill returning for maximum allocations.

Frustratingly for Lightcliffe, acknowledging the game lost, Blackley’s captain Clarke held on stoically, unbeaten on 44, ensuring that only a winning draw outcome was possible

The sad news of the imminent resignation of Norden CC from the Sunday League ironically means, that instead of both sides condemned to Second Division cricket, next week’s match becomes a straight shoot-out with the losing team relegated.

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