As the sun sets on another season at Haslingden the resumption of Lancashire League cricket in April seems a long while ago. Having been advised that our signed South African professional would not be coming to England for a combination of Covid and injury reasons we were left in the position of having to find sub-professionals for the duration of the season which is certainly not an ideal situation. The Covid 19 regulations in place at the time were also not the easiest with only suitably socially distanced outdoor hospitality being available and spectators not allowed at games unless they were partaking in said hospitality. Players were changing outside, if they were lucky under a gazebo if not so lucky then just outside in full view and there were no teas. It was certainly not the most auspicious return to cricket and thanks go to Steve Hunsley and Andrew Lord for ensuring that the club met the requirements to allow us to play.
The Third XI captained by Jeff Stanton, were the first Haslingden team in action on 17th April away at Clitheroe which finished in a seven wicket defeat. The First XI captained by Jordan Shannon, started their season the following day at Littleborough, unfortunately the game ended with a four wicket defeat. The Second XI captained by Tom Richards, started at Bentgate against Todmorden and some big hitting set up a 171 run victory. The First XI achieved their first win the following week over Accrington, followed by victories over Greenmount, Great Harwood and East Lancs. The Second XI continued on their way with victories over Lowerhouse, Norden, Ramsbottom and Walsden and also started a cup run which would eventually take them to the final at Bentgate against Rishton. The Third XI had their first win in Group C of the Third XI League against Great Harwood. Covid restrictions were gradually lifted and with the exception of those players who actually had the virus or had to self isolate everyone coped extremely well.
The Third XI had a decent season and finished fifth in Group C winning six of their 14 games. They then won one and lost one of their play off games and ended the season in overall 14th place out of the 25 teams. They played with a young team throughout the year under the guidance of Jeff and the players have developed well, the future at HCC looks rosy.
A huge positive this season has been the vastly improved state of the ground courtesy of our groundsman Ian Cameron, who is ably supported by his team of volunteers. We have received many positive comments from visitors and umpires during the season which is fantastic and many players have said that the pitches have been excellent which is reflected in several innings of 200 plus. A massive thanks to Ian and his team for their efforts.