2ndXI Report

From Peter Jones

I would first like to thank those who stood in to take on the captaining role during the season. Ian Squires, Phil Calrow, Paul Squires, Ted Williams and Ian Seabury all worked very hard to ensure everything ran smoothly during the season.

The season started with a great deal of optimism. We had a strong batting line up (on paper) and a new fast bowler to add to our attack. Unsurprisingly the first weekend was almost a washout. While every other game was rained off, Ted led the team to Northern where we fell to our first defeat of the season. The only positive note came from Johnny Woodsmith who scored a swashbuckling 51 to mark his 2nd XI debut and a fine start to his season.

A home game against Ormskirk should have given us our first victory but we could not claim the 2 wickets required for the win. Shah bowled well with figures of 4-32. We did not have to wait long for the win as it came a week later against Lytham. Ian Squires was majestic and Woodsmith belligerent scoring 81* and 54* respectively. After being acquainted with Frank’s good friend Ernie on the journey up the M6, Seabs scored his first 50 of what would prove to be a successful season for him. We set Lytham a target of 207 and had to be patient to bowl them out for 175. Johnny proved he was handy with the ball as well as the bat in claiming figures of 4-2.

After a disappointing defeat to Wallasey, we bounced back to win against a strong Northop Hall team which sparked a run of 6 games undefeated. Our batting was proving to be our strong point. We consistently scored over 180 in our 45 overs which was giving the bowlers plenty of time to get the 10 wickets. When the bowlers were called upon they were proving to be an accomplished unit. The pinnacle came against HQ where we bowled them out for 125 on their ‘county wicket’. Seabs continued his consistent form to knock off the runs with a classy 65*. We again chased to win the week after but had to work a lot harder to claim victory. Wigan must  have been gutted to lose after scoring 223-3 but a destructive innings of 61 by Matt Phythian and a steady 81* by the skipper saw us claim a great win.

After a good start to the season I was called up to the 1st XI and did not lead the team again until the last game of the season. Phil Calrow took over the reins with a trip to the seaside to visit Colwyn Bay. This game showed the spirit in the team with a magnificent batting chase and we were unlucky to only draw the game coming up 20 runs short of the massive 250 target. Phil showed great leadership scoring 57.

Ted Williams showed his class in the eagerly awaited trip up North to face Bootle. After a fine maiden half century by Scott Issac we set Bootle 202 for victory. With a weakened bowling attack, Ted opened the bowling and ended with figures of 6-40. Unfortunately we were unable to take the last 2 Bootle wickets, and the game ended in a draw.

Paul Squires came down from the first eleven to captain the side for 2 games and had an instant impact. He scored a fine 94 in his first game and then led the side to a comprehensive victory over Wallasey. Dave Kirby was superb with a devastating opening burst and took 6-15 as the home side were bowled out for only 77. The run chase was easy and the skipper ended unbeaten on 42.

 

After a positive start to the season we were starting to struggle and slip down the table. There were numerous good individual performances but we did not produce the goods as a team.. Selection was getting more and more difficult with poor availability and the team was chopped and changed each week. This did not help matters but the team definitely under performed in the second half of the season.

 

Iain Squires took over after Phil’s call up to the first eleven and led the team well and was unlucky not to win any games. We came perilously close to relegation and only a last day performance against Fleetwood Hesketh meant we stayed up. Iain Squires put in a fine bowling performance which saw him top the league bowling stats!! Amazing. He took 2-2 in devastating burst.

Shah ended up as the leading wicket taker on his debut season and was a great addition to the team, Seabs was consistent throughout and didn’t drop a catch all year and Iain Squires ended the year as the leading run scorer. The second half of the season saw the emergence of some talented youngsters. Johnny Sproson showed maturity and promise. At the back end of the season Dan Kelly and James Baird both put in some excellent performances. Dan had a 3-40 and James Baird made a confident 37. Nick Blackburn, Mike Christopher, Jordan Kavan and Rob Kelly all made their second team debuts and showed that the club has a good future.

We do have a strong 2nd XI and should aim to greatly improve next year. I cannot fault anyone for a lack of effort and the team contains a great group of lads with whom it was a pleasure to play with. Players should see the second team as an opportunity to progress to the first team but this can only be done by putting in performances week in week out and working hard to improve their game.

I would also like to thank Briggsy and his ground staff for all their hard work and efforts, Frank Thompson for his dedication and top class umpiring, Joe and Marilyn for the great teas and Dave Cunningham for keeping everything ticking over. I will not be carrying on with my captaining duties but have enjoyed working with everyone at the club and wish whoever takes over the best of luck next year.