Oakworth Cricket Club 2019 Third Xl

Captain Keith Gilert will no doubt look back on the 2019 season and wonder how only 7 matches were actually played. The continuing leakage of senior players ultimately comes home to roost at the the Third Xl who struggled to find a team most weeks. The use of the CDCL loan scheme was a help but obviously not a long-term solution. Most of the talented juniors had been promoted to the Second Xl to severely test the remaining resources to fill the gaps they have left. The 15-team fourth Division as a whole suffered from a similar disease and astonishingly even Champions Cowling lls won the title with only 7 on-field victories in a 20-match programme!

The matches completed at our West End Home were against Bingley Congs, Denholme and Sutton. On our travels we got onto the greensward 4 times, at Bradley, Gargrave, Sutton and Wilsden.

Versus Bingley Congs llls on 4th May we fielded 11 players including 3 loan players. Openers Nick Staton and Iestyn Jones each bowled 10 overs picking up 1 wicket each whilst loanee Simon Bullock grabbed 3-38 in his five. The Congs innings came to a conclusion with 237 on the board [40 overs] with 69 from James Dennison and 52 from Simon Webster their principal contributors. Early losses of Steve Cox and Keith Gilert had our reply immediately on the defensive but father-son duo Khaliq and Subhaan Ahmed brought them 15 and 16 respectively. Paul Carter added another 20 to the cause but from 53-5 our knock petered out to 69 all out. Congs bowlers Dennison 3-0 and Max Pearson 3-23 enjoyed their day.  A fortnight later we batted first at Bradley, again with 11 men including Second Xl skipper Michael Scarborough. He made 14 but no-one else reached double figures including the 3 loanees. This time our total was just 53 with Andy Holmes taking 3-17. Opener David Ryan smashed 47 no drom their team response of 57-1 in 12.2 overs, the single wicket falling to the left--arm spin of Uwais Khan.

On 1st June the fruitful hunting ground of Gargrave was on the agenda and the team looked forward to continuing its excellent long-term record at the vast acres in the Dales. This week 10 players made the journey and as usual the wicket proved difficult on which to accumulate but the skipper Keith Gilert dug in for 22 and with 19 and 16 from loanees Michael Clayton and Tariq Ghani the team took our total to 106-8. The innings provided opportunity for junior Elis Jones to make his debut in which he scored a fine 10, 2 more than his dad Iestyn. Tim Warner did his best for Gargrave to halt our progress past the three-figure mark with 3-36  in his allotted 10 overs. But Elis hadn't finished his input to the contest. He bowled 10 unbelievably accurate overs of flighty off-spin giving away only 12 runs whilst taking 4 wickets. Two were bowled, one a caught & bowled and the other  catch by his dad! What a debut and what a result as the Gargrave team subsided to 72-9 in their 40 overs. John Stuttard 2-7 [loanee] also helped Oakworth's effort, as did a smart run out from Keith Gilert to dismiss top scorer Maurice Oldfield [25]. A win was soooo welcome.

The next time Oaks got on the field was 6th July at West End versus Denholme lls. It proved a great day for Denholme opener Chris Dennison who pulverised our 6-man attack to rack up a terrific 139. He was aided and abetted by no 4 Josh Wheatley [56].  Sajjad Razak made his return from a knee operation and was called on to bowl 9.1 overs and he took 4-51 trying to stem the tide.  The Denholme score reached 239-8 before a declaration after 39.1 overs. Dave Picton 2-80 [ouch] and Lucas Clayton 2-6 [2 overs] grabbed scalps but the task looked daunting. So it proved with 83-9 our reply in 28.5 overs. Sajjad top-scored with 23 and Michael Clayton pitched in 20 and Steve Cox 11.

One week later we tripped over the Ellers to Sutton and batted first with 6 loanees in the line-up and there was a debut for 1st year junior Waleed Raja. Waleed struck two 4s in a pleasing debut knock of 13 and Stuart Hayward-Smith did likewise. Sadly their combined 26 was supplemented by just 14 motre from the bat with 8 extras. 48 all out was the desperate outcome. Sutton junior Nathan Coventry was delighted with his 3-18 as all five Sutton bowlers contributed to 34.4 overs of our steady innings. To rub the disappointment in, the Sutton openers Tillotson and Franklin needed just 10.5 overs to reach 49-0. 

On 3rd August we travelled to Wilsden, never a happy hunting ground. Our first 4 batters contribute just 13 runs and but for a sterling 32 from under 12 year-old county player, Mohammed Abbas [loanee from Keighley llls] a similar outcome as at Sutton might have ensued. As it was our 64-9 in 40 overs was once again depressing. There were 6 loanees in the line up and 3 Oakworth juniors [Waleed, Elis and Jacob Davies]. Wilsden took 13.2 overs to knock off the runs with 2 wickets down. Our best return was 1-2 from the 3 overs from Waleed Raja. The return match with Sutton at Wide Lane came along on 31st August and this time Sutton batted first. Their openers Andrew Fountain and taverner Jack Whitaker posted an excellent partnership of 131 runs before Whitaker was out for 51. Fountain went on to score 79 which was further backed by 30no from Robert Tedder. Sutton totalled 197-5 in 35.5 overs. Paul Carter dismissed both openers but also shipped 48 runs in his 4 overs. Juniors Jacob Davies 6-1`-20-1 and Elis Jones 8-0-36-1 bowled well as both continue their development in difficult circumstances. Paul opened and led the batting with 31 and 2nd teamer Jake Keslinke notched 23 but it was Mr Extras with 30 that enabled us to reach 98-8 in 37.5 overs with our 9-man team.

And that was it for the year.... 1 win, 1 award [Cononley] 6 heavy defeats, 5 draws and 7 concessions.

Team outcomes

The team results again don't make good reading and statistical analysis would serve no purpose. Run-scoring and wicket-taking have both taken a nose-dive as the number of players available continues to tax the selection committee. Without the loan scheme, the picture would be completely dire. The real sadness here is for Captain Keith Gilert who has come into the club with enthusiasm and determined intent to keep a positive face despite the difficulties. Our junior section has performed miracles over the last few years and this year there have been debuts for Waleed Raja and Elis Jones. But Stan Lloyd has not yet been tempted to try his hand at senior cricket and Jacob Davies has turned out only spasmodically. Henry Booth, Josh Toner and Ellis Brown all seem to have disappeared. It will probably be a year or two yet before the next batch become eligible to play so recruitment elsewhere seems the only option for 2020, unless of course, more of our 'retired' players return to the fold.