After a week of rain, some of it torrential, the volunteers from Dukinfield did well to produce a playable pitch for some cricket to eventually take place. With the fixture down the road at Flowery Field, who were entertaining top of the table Prestwich, being called off at 10.30am on Saturday morning, it was a great opportunity for the Kenyons men to return to the summit.
The umpires decided at 12.45pm that they would allow the sun and wind to dry the wicket out a little more and the match would commence at 1.35pm with each side having 45 over innings.
With a very green wicket, the obvious call for the Dukinfield captain when he won the toss, was to ask Woodbank to bat first.
Harry Dearden and Mo Hanif opened the innings and from the opening overs it was clear that this was a difficult wicket to play on with the ball stopping in the wicket and others keeping very low. The call was for a hard working innings from the Woodbank openers but when Hanif went early doors, Woodbank suffered something of an early collapse with Bret Collins
then returning a catch to the bowler after the ball stopped on him as he was playing forward to a tame pitched up delivery. Soon to follow were Harry Dearden and Nick Haynes
, both playing poor shots. At this point Woodbank Professional Steve Dearden
set about repairing some of the damage and when the young 15 year old Ryan Barker
was given LBW, Woodbank stood at 67-5. In came Mark Stringer playing against one of his former clubs. Both players with their vast experience of league cricket worked hard and brought the score to a more respectable 127-5 before Stringer was adjudged LBW. Dearden passed his half century shortly afterwards and started playing some of the free powerful shots he is more well known for. With the support of the various Woodbank batsmen who were coming and going, Dearden made his way to 72 before being bowled. A fabulous grafting innings when Woodbank were under the cosh was just what was required of the Woodbank Pro and when it mattered, he certainly delivered.
After a couple of cameo innings, Woodbank finished on 191 all out after 44.2 overs. The score was always going to be an uphill climb for Dukinfield even with Simon Read
being absent from the Woodbank side, his replacement in 15 year old Ryean Barker made sure the Dukinfield run chase was not going to be an easy one. With Saj Nawaz
opening at the other end, both bowlers were keeping the opening batsmen very quiet until Ryan Barker
made a breakthrough by getting a faint edge to one of his nice outswingers into John Chapmans ever reliable gloves. Saj Nawaz
soon joined in the party by taking 2 quick wickets. At regular intervals wickets were falling, not helped by poor running decisions, resulting in 2 run outs after excellent bullet throws from Mo Hanif and Bret Collins
, who also took two excellent boundary catches off the bowling of left arm spin bowler, Nick Kennedy
who took 4 wickets with his teasing loop and length. Eventually Dukinfield were dismissed for 136. Special mentions in the bowling ranks have to go to Saj Nawaz
, who bowled a superb 16 over spell returning with 3 wickets, Nick Kennedy
who finished with 4 wickets, and in particular young all rounder, Ryan Barker
who returned figures of 1 for 18 of 6 overs with 2 maidens in there. Young Ryan is certainly an excellent prospect with both bat and ball, with a fantastic attitude to boot and is his future football career does not come to fruition, I am sure this young man can make a living out of the game of Cricket. His recent bowling performance against a strong Stand CC U15’s side was a phenomenal achievement for any young cricketer when he took 8 for 3 with all with all batsmen being clean bowled and included 2 hat tricks. Truly amazing.
again proved his mettle with a matchwinning innings and again showed his reputation of being a born winner by delivering when it really counts. He may not have delivered the most runs or wickets, but when it really counts everyone knows that he will create an innings of note or take important wickets to win a game.
Next week brings up the challenge of Cheetham Hill, who are visitiors to the fortress which is “The Kenyons” Woodbank have not been beaten at home yet this season, but as Cheetham Hill always do, Im sure they will challenge to the very end.