Oakworth Cricket Club
The 2021 season
The 2021 season was more 'normal' than 2020. The
league committees for both Senior & Junior cricket had prepared their
fixture programmes as in previous years.
The winning of the Covid-B competition in 2020 signalled emergent possibilities but the rate of achievement has visibly accelerated. A fourth place finish with 13 wins was arguably a very decent outcome for our very young First Xl. But add in the unprecedented capture of three Cup competitions, the Wynn, Cowling and Manorlands Plate, it is evident that here is a team that may well begin to dominate the CDCL 'ere long. There were just 4 defeats, three on opposition ground at: Barrowford, Cowling and rivals Haworth. The solitary loss at Home came perhaps surprisingly to Wilsden.
So what had generated the improvement? The Table above clearly shows that the 2021 Bowling improvement was not only maintained but had rocketed yet further. 155 wickets taken in completed 17 matches [9.1 per match] ensure the 2-19 stats of 139 also in 17 matches [8.2 per match] were left far behind. Furthermore the impact of that wicket-taking prowess depressed the opposition run-scoring by an amazing 507 runs [16%] from 2019. Our 'Away' record of 5-3-3 was the best since 2015 and the overall bowling wicket-taking rate of 14.15 runs/wicket the best since 2014.
At Home the batting fortress was almost impregnable with an 8-2-1 out-turn. 1,725 runs with only 59 wickets lost produced a batting achievement of 29.24 runs per wicket, all three stats also the best since 2015. The bowling average of 14.00 was amazingly the best for 10 years.
Skipper Rob Hollingsworth claimed a Trophy in his first season at the helm and this year can look back with pride on 3 items of silverware. So who were the principal contributors? The leading wicket-taker was Tom Fothergill with 42 scalps at a great average of 12.07 in 126.5 overs of controlled off-spin. But bowling spearhead Harry Hollingsworth pipped Tom for the average prize with 40 wickets at 11.65 from 129 overs. Oakworth have not had two bowlers with over 40 wickets since 2011. But the attack was more than a 2-man entity, Yorkshire prospect James Powell chipped in 26 wickets at 15.35 [116.2 overs] with an accurate brand of quick bowling and great Economy of just 3.43 runs per over [57 per 100 balls]. Mr reliable leggie Jack Davison bowled only 54.1 overs but picked off 16 victims at 13.56 with Charlie Shimmin finding his form with 12 wickets at 11.17 from his 37.5 overs. Altogether 14 players turned their arms over, showing we had 9 others in support when front-liners were unavailable and together they captured 19 of the wickets gleaned. .
The batsmen were led by 18 years-old Bradley Powell who batted in all completed matches making 555 runs from his 17 innings at 34.69 to finish 13th in the First Division listing with a best of 97 vs Embsay. In second slot Joel Gallagher belied his 'old man' tag to rack up 437 runs at 33.62, his best ever tally which included a terrific century 109* vs Ingrow, although his 138* in the Wynn Cup semi-final versus Haworth will linger longest in the memory. Next in the list is Harry Hollingsworth amplifying belief about his 'all-rounder' status with 376 runs at 26.86 in 15 innings. In fourth place was another all-rounder in Jack Davison who this year allowed his batting to arguably outshine his bowling as his 367 runs produced an incredible average of 61.17 to walk away with the First Division batting prize. Incredibly there was more players all younger than 18 that grabbed over 200 runs with Jake Keslinke on 228, James Powell on 223 and Lucas Keslinke on 200. Ironically two big-hitters of previous years were denied some opportunity by the strength of the top order. Robert Hollingsworth making 126 and Jordan Powell 129. Finally Liam Humphreys season [121 runs] was plagued by injury and his fund-raising efforts by running a Marathon for a terminally-ill friend. Behind the timbers Lucas Keslinke gathered in 18 victims [2 stumped] to finish fifth best keeper in Division One.
In view of the above demonstrable excellent performances could the team have done better?
The defeat by Barrowford on 29th May was emphatic by 63 runs with our tally just 107. The batting order was bereft only of Jordan. Only Joel and Lucas topped 20 runs as Shuja Rashid took 4 wickets. The bowlers did take all 10 Barrowford wickets at 17 apiece. Two weeks later at Cowling we batted second again but were chasing 275 after Was Hussain had smashed 77 and our top bowlers Harry and Tom went at a run per ball, claiming just 1 wicket between them. We finished on a creditable 171 after a 55 from Jack but still well short by 104 runs. On 3rd July at Home to Wilsden the loss was by 1 solitary run! Having made a below par 138 curtailed by 4 wickets for Chris Langley when chasing 139 [Hasnat Bukhari 47]. James P and Thomas had 3-fers and batted well but were let down by the rest of the batting. This was a match which should have been won. Finally the loss to Haworth on 24th July was by 5 wickets having again posted a below-par 104 all out. Without the 40 runs from Jordan it would have been disastrous in the face of 4-17 from Damian Rowell. The Haworth batsmen knocked off the runs in just over 22 overs.
So only the Wilsden match could have been won and the extra 3 points would have won us the title. Ironically it was rivals Haworth who edged out Congs on 46 points, we would have had 47!! So the Wilsden one-run defeat was unbelievably costly!!
|2021 has also proved successful for the Second Xl which has seen similar progress by the younger brigade. The club is hugely proud to have captured the Cowling Cup with a bowling attack aged between 13 and 18. As always team success is as good as the teams it can put out and the depth of strength in the Club augurs well for the immediate future. Jake Keslinke made a sterling 97 at Cowling and in the later season showed excellent form for the First Xl. Liam Humphreys and Charlie Shimmin have begun to reclaim their rusty form and now both appear regularly for the First Xl. Akeel Umar, Elis Jones and Subhaan Ahmed are all now knocking on the door and just need consistency to really add to the competition for places. Sadly Waleed Raja seems set on a place at Scholes CC in the BMSSL. But the really astounding development this year has come from Tom Raby whose spells in the Second Xi have produced 9 wickets at 22.00 from 62 classy overs, limited to only 5per spell. Watch out next season for something spectacular.|