Season 2021

Season 2021

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.

It is probably fair to say that the First XI lost a couple of games they should not have done (Enfield at home and Bacup away spring to mind) but they also had some famous victories one notably against Church when there was no available professional and they had a 12 point win by 98 runs. During the second half of the season they went on an excellent run of victories winning seven of the last eight games (the eighth being rained off) and finished as Champions of Division Two of the Lancashire League. Everyone in the team without exception made significant contributions throughout the season and played some of the best cricket seen at Haslingden for years. Congratulations to Jordan and all the players now looking forward to Division One cricket next season.
The Second XI had an extremely positive and successful season, won 15 of their 22 games and finished as runners up to Clitheroe in Division One of the Junior League. Again, every player contributed and some excellent cricket was played. They also were runners up in the cup, losing to Rishton in a low scoring game played at Bentgate at the third time of asking on 11th September.

 

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.

Finally, this report cannot be complete without a mention of Graham Knowles. Graham has decided that it is time to hang up his boots after 33 years of playing senior cricket.
Graham has scored an amateur record 15 Lancashire League centuries and he also holds the record for the highest score by an amateur. His total of 13902 Lancashire League runs puts him in fifth place in the all time list of top run scorers and he has taken 172 wickets and 156 catches along with 1287 Worsley Cup runs.
He is a true competitor, an HCC legend and will be sorely missed on the field at HCC. We can only send our grateful thanks and congratulations to him.