Hoppers Cricket team travelled to Whittingham & Goosnargh CC on Wednesday night knowing that a win would seal a first `Boddingtons Village Cricket Leauge’ title since 2007. A loss would’ve meant that the league was in Whittingham’s hands going into the final round of fixtures.
As the away side, Micahel Lough’s men batted their 15 overs first in glorious sunshine. Openers Lough and Ally Murray got the team off to a great start and with batsmen having to retire at 20 both men were back in the pavillion after 4 overs. Lough smashed 3 sixes on his way to 20 retired with Murray achieving the same score that included a four and a six.
After Steve Kerry departed for a duck it was up to Tom Peterson and Glenn Steel to maintain the fast scoring rate. The pair obliged with some powerful hitting that saw both hit maximums down the ground. Peterson holed out on 16 but Steel made it to 20 to join Lough and Murray as retirees in the pavillion.
Cameron Berry and Joe Peterson were next at the crease and Berry didn’t hang about. Some power hitting saw Berry achieve the maximum score possible of 25 which included 2 fours and 2 sixes. Peterson was happy to rotate the strike, milking the bowling for ones and twos. Following Berry was Neil Thornton who made a quick 6 before being caught trying to clear the ropes. This left 5 balls of the innings as Craig Steel made his way to the crease with Hoppers score at 132.
Steel prodded tentatively at the first ball and was lucky to not edge behind. This seemed to spark Steel to life as the next three balls all disappeared to the boundary for maximums much to the delight of the travelling Hoppers supporters. Another miss from the last ball meant Hoppers had set an imposing score of 150 from 15 overs which Whittingham would have to chase down to be in with a chance of winning the league.
Captain Lough decided that Kerry was the man to open the bowling and what a decision it turned out to be. Kerry is a proud man and was keen to make amends for his duck in the first innings. Facing him at the top of the order for Whittingham was the league’s leading batsman Chris Flintoff (brother of Andrew) and after a couple of singles Kerry produced the moment that would set the tone for the Whittingham innings. An effort ball from Kerry beat Flintoff all ends up with the stumps sent crashing everywhere. His next over produced another wicket to leave Kerry with figures of 2-8 from his two overs.
After a wicket from Lough, Whittingham were nicely poised at 44-3 from 5 overs. Little did they know that the game was about to be taken away from them with the introduction of seamers Jim Moore and Cameron Berry.
Moore and Berry both took wickets in their first overs but the real magic came in Moore’s second. His unerring accuracy proved too much for the Whittingham batsmen and 3 wickets in 4 balls all but took the game away from the home side. Moore’s 4th wicket was the pick of the bunch with him flicking the ball up with his foot to complete a catch after it was hammered back at him. Moore and Berry had combined to produce figures of 6-15 in their 4 overs and effectively seal the victory.
Whittingham now needed over 20 per over which proved too much in the last 3 overs. The hosts finished on 103 meaning that Hoppers had won the title with a 47 run victory.
Captain Lough was delighted with the win and the title saying “It’s been a great effort from the lads to go all season and lose only one game. I’d like to thank not just the lads who performed so well tonight but all the lads who’ve represented the club this season. A special mention has to go to the volunteers who help the cricket team run so smoothly. Keith Battersby for umpiring, John Dewhurst for scoring and chairing the team and Ken Moore for filling in when Keith or John aren’t available. We couldn’t do it without them.”
Well done to all of the lads involved in the cricket team from everyone at the club!