Ribble Valley Take Ainsworth Trophy
The District Under 15 sides from Ribble Valley & West Lancashire faced each other in the Ainsworth Trophy Final at the Northern Club in Crosby on Saturday 21 September.
The game should have been played at Emirates Old Trafford the preceding Monday but that fell foul of the monsoon like weather in Manchester at the beginning of the week.
Having had 5 days to get over the disappointment, the teams arrived at the Northern Club, in Crosby hoping to finish the season in style. Given the weather leading up to the game, the wicket looked well prepared by the Northern ground staff, fitting for this prestigious final.
Having lost the toss, Ribble Valley were invited to bat, their game plan was to accumulate runs minimising risks early on. Openers Kieran Grimshaw, who’d, carried his bat for 98 in the semi-final against Wigan and Alex Mason did exactly that, until Mason nicked one through to the keeper Lavelle for 2. This brought Sam Jackson to the crease, he too had scored well in the semi against Wigan, to join Grimshaw. The approach remained watchful and the partnership had reached 21 when Lyth bowled one back through Jackson’s defences to bowl him for 3. Top scorer for the season in the District team Mack Spencer came in at number 4, no doubt with hopes of repeating his feat of scoring a century early in the competition.
Progress remained steady, then the curse of the drinks break struck when Grimshaw played around a full toss from Hartley for a workman like 34, with Oliver Lewis falling caught off a top edged pull in the next over for a duck. Ribble Valley were in a bit of danger at 72 for 4 with another 27 overs still to go in the innings. However, Lewis’s club colleague Rhys Morgan developed a good stand with Spencer as both batters attacked with both striking a six over wide long on off the bowling of Hughes. With the score having moved on the 114, Spencer fell 4 short of a deserved half century, caught by Houghton off the bowling of Hartley. Morgan was soon out off the bowling of Rankin and the pendulum swung back the West Lancs way, having Ribble Valley 122 for 6.
What followed was another example of the depth of the Ribble Valley batting with county duo Josh Bristol & Dominic Stuart putting together the largest partnership of the game worth 61 to take the score to 183. Stuart was the next wicket to fall bowled by Lyth having scored 20. Bristol was also bowled, this time by Houghton, shortly after for 27. Mitchell Riding and Tom Stones were dismissed cheaply with the Ribble Valley innings closing 186 all out from 48.3 overs with Omar Hussain the not out batsman. The best bowling figures of the innings belonged to County U15s opening bowler Danny Houghton who took 3 for 20.
After tea, the West Lancs innings began and it appeared that Ribble Valley’s Dominic Stuart was able to get the ball swinging quite noticeably and with left arm spinner Omar Hussain bowling a tight spell at the other end, runs were not easy to come by. It was Stuart who made the break through bowling Hughes for 17. Captain Bristol then changed both bowlers with Mitchell Riding replacing Stuart and the skipper himself coming on in place of Hussain. The move paid off straight away with Bristol claiming the wicket of Lavelle caught by his opposite number Tom Stones for 8.
A stand of 32 was put together by West Lancs pair Jones & Rankin before the latter was bowled by Grimshaw in his first over with the score having moved on to 62 for 3. Three overs later Sam Jackson bowled Hartley for 2. The next over saw another change of bowler and another immediate reward when Oliver Lewis entered the attack and trapped Houghton LBW for 4 runs, the score now stood at 77 for 6. Connolly & Lyth put on another 12 runs before yet again a wicket fell in the first over of a spell when Stones caught Lyth off Hussain for 4.
Having put a catch down off Riding’s bowling, Stones then combined with Hussain again to dismiss Kyle for 5 stumped. Things were moving quickly now and Ribble Valley could sense victory.
In his final over Hussain claimed his third wicket, another stumping by the very impressive Stones in dismissing Roach for 2 and from the final ball of Hussain’s 10th over it looked like an opportunity to finish the game had been missed when an edge went wide off Grimshaw at slip. But it was not long in coming while attempting a 3rd run Connolly was the last man out for 18, run out by a throw from the deep by Lewis. This left Huyton not out 4 with West Lancs finishing on 116 all out.
Congratulations to Ribble Valley 186 all out defeated West Lancashire 116 all out to take the Ainsworth Under 15 District Competition 2013. The LCB would like to thank everyone involved on the day and particular mention to Northern Club for hosting the fixture.
Shaun Anders (Competitions Officer)