Salford U11s triumph in Rosebowl Final thriller
Salford Schools Under 11s district cricket team rounded off a perfect season this week winning the Lancashire Schools Cricket Association Bob Hurst Rosebowl for the first time in their history, in a match that can only be described as an absolute thriller.
Salford came up against a strong Chorley district side in the final, the venue for which was hastily rearranged to Clifton CC due to the Greenmount CC ground being unfit. At midday, with the work of an army of groundstaff and volunteers complete, the two captains and umpires stepped out in glorious sunshine to toss the coin, Chorley winning and inviting Salford to bat in the 40 overs per side match.
Salford got off to a steady start with opening batsmen Bowers and Sykes looking comfortable against some useful seam bowling from Hoyle and Ragsdale. Bowers survived a couple of early scares and took control in the 11th over hitting a huge six and following this with a beautifully controlled pull shot for four more. Shortly after though Chorley struck, when Sykes was clean bowled by Boyden for 15. Chugtai came to the crease and played cautiously helping Salford reach a score of 75 for 1 after 16 overs, however the following over brought the crucial wicket of Bowers, caught out for 31 off the bowling of Hemmady. When Salford captain Dorsey was dismissed two overs later the runs started to dry up. Lord and Chugtai consolidated and with the score at 97 for 3 after 25 overs Salford looked set to post a match winning total. However the 26th over was crucial, with both established batsmen dismissed by Barber on a pitch that was really starting to favour Chorley’s spin bowlers. Jones, Pearson, Deshparde and Ainscough all batted sensibly and spent time at the crease but runs were really hard to come by, leading to wickets falling at regular intervals. Salford were eventually bowled out for 116 off 39 overs, Bone Barber and Hemmady all picking up three wickets each.
The thoughts at the interval were that a challenging total had been posted and the wicket might suit the Salford attack, particularly spinners Dorsey and Parikh. Well, they were the thoughts of the managers, coaches and parents; the thoughts of the children turned more towards the pizza, chips and other delights that the volunteers had rustled up for tea!
With suitable refreshments on board Chorley began their quest to chase down the 117 runs they needed to win the trophy. Bowers got Salford off to the perfect start when he caught and bowled Chorley’s opening batsman Higginson without scoring. This brought Chorley’s captain Bone to the crease and along with other opener Hemmady they began to steadily rebuild the innings. The two batted really well together, running very positively between the wickets and bringing up the fifty partnership in the 18th over. With the score at 61 for 1 after 21 overs Chorley looked in full control of the game, but Salford seamer Ainscough had other ideas, claiming the prize wicket of Bone clean bowled by a jaffa in his first over. Ainscough also removed Chorley’s next batsman Gibson cheaply and Salford were right back in the game. Chorley dug in though, and a useful partnership developed between Hemmady and Barclay advancing Chorley to sight of victory on 94 for 3 when the game took another turn …. Salford skipper Dorsey bowling his trademark legspin clean bowled Hemmady for 33 with the first ball of his fourth over, then had Eastham caught and bowled with his second, and produced the perfect third ball to dismiss Barber, in the process claiming a unique cup final hat-trick. Suddenly Chorley were 94 for 6, which became 97 for 7 in the next over when Bowers, returning for his second spell, had Barclay caught behind by Pearson.
This left Chorley needing 18 runs to win off 6 overs with just three wickets remaining, but with Dorsey now bowling with pinpoint accuracy, and Bowers in full flight, the next three overs yielded just three runs, meaning the run rate was now up to five an over. Panic appeared to set in to the Chorley batsmen and the inevitable run out ensued, meaning the final over was reached with seven runs needed and two wickets left. The unenviable task of bowling this fell to Chugtai who put Salford firmly in control with two dot balls. However the game took yet another turn when the third ball was hit to the boundary and with a further run coming from the next ball the equation was simple – two balls to go, Chorley needed two runs to win.
With many of the crowd quite literally unable to watch, the tension was unbelievable and it is testament to Chugtai that the next two balls were probably the best of the game, both beating the batsman outside off stump, passing safely through to the gloves of Pearson and securing an historic victory for Salford.
A huge thank you must go to everybody who contributed to making the day so memorable for all involved, the officials of Clifton Cricket Club, the Salford and Chorley team managers, officials, parents and supporters. But a very special note of thanks to all of the U11 players from both teams who played the match hard but in the true spirit of cricket – it was a pleasure to witness the sportsmanship, camaraderie and graciousness of every member of the teams both in defeat and victory.
Salford U11s 116 all out (39 overs) beat Chorley U11s 114 for 8 (40 overs)
Match Report & Scorecard (204 Kb)
Report written by Jim Ainscough.