Oakworth Cricket Club

The 2023 season

Second XI

With 438 wins versus 319 defeats, Oakworth CC 2nd XI can look back on a successful career path with its check-out in a high-scoring win against long-term rivals Haworth and having reached the Cowling Cup Final. That path has now led it to the Halifax Cricket League in 2023.

Early season rain washed out the first two fixtures with Upper Hopton [H] and Stones [A] and so our debut came at Home versus Leymoor. Michael inserted the visitors and handed the ball to 15 years-old Tom Raby to open our HCL account. He was partnered by Jimmy Lee. Tom delivered top of off to claim his and the teams first scalp at 22-1. Run-scoring was dilatory but did add 26 before first change Joe had a second at 48-2, successfully claiming an lbw. Opener Brook remained solid if becalmed and at 69-3 saw no 4 McDermott also back in the hutch caught by Tom for 2nd change Charlie Shimmin. It was the start of a magic 8-over spell that brought Charlie 5 wickets for just 8 runs and Leymoor stalled at 96 all out with 43 of them to opener Brook, eventually stumped for Elis [2-19]. Paul Carter and Saad got our innings in motion but Saad [8] was a victim for Brook at 24-1. Steve came in at three and cracked 24 from 10 balls before retiring with a dodgy knee. Wajid added 17 in 11 balls as the third foil for a solid Paul [38no] and carried the total to 92-3 and the target was reached in the 22nd over. A seven-wicket win, and the full 12 points signalled our arrival on the Halifax stage.

Our fist sojourn into Calderdale took us to picturesque Southowram for a Priestley Shield match. A terrific start had the home team at 22-2 before Bellinger joined opener P Veal. They boosted their tally by 51 till Veal was bowled by Doc Sajjad. First team implant Reppion joined Bellinger and helped add 35 runs but fell at 108-4 to Saad off-spin. Then the breakthrough to remove Bellinger [43] came from Asim at 115-5. Michael brought Tom back into the attack, and he picked off another 3 wickets to finish with 4-27 [8.4 overs]. Some later resistance allowed Southowram to post 168 all out. A fine spell from Sajjad 2-13 from 9 overs and timely intervention from Asim 2-38 were all significant contributions. Our start wasnt good at 9-2 but Wajid and Michael reconstructed the chase. Waj was caught for 21 at 68-3 to trigger a collapse to 79-5. Tom farmed the strike with Michael but at 99 was caught for 48 [68 balls]. At 103 Tom was also gone but this opened the way for 13 years-old Joe Powell on debut to make a mark. In tandem with Sajjad, the 8th wicket partnership blossomed. The damage had come from Reppion whose 9 overs supplied 4-24. But he hadnt finished his grip on the game as first Joe was run out by him for 14 and then caught Sajjad for 19 at 149-9. Youngsters Asim and Logan applied themselves for 22 balls but our chase ended at 149 as did our involvement in the Shield.

Many had labelled Old Town as favourites for our Division, and we were next at their ground. At 95-8 they didnt seem contenders as Sajjad 4-52, Tom 2-55, Jimmy 1-56 and Joe 1-21 had them well shackled.  But then Irfan Khan & Chudry Ali combined to smash 67 runs and the scoreboard read 162-9 at the run out of Khan [43] by Noman. The blast didnt end there as Ali really opened up and with support from last man Juma Khan ensured Old Town batted the full overs when the scoreboard had advanced to 224-9 with Ali 58no and Khan 23 no.  Boom! The match featured a return to action by Sam Nettleton after a 4-year absence. There was little rust as he resisted some rapid bowling from Dilawer Khan, Ali & Wafa. Sam contributed 38 [6 fours] and no 9 Elis Jones matched him but our total limped only to 105 with 9 single-figure scores. The pundits were correct!

A third successive away match took us down the road to Cullingworth for a re-union with former Craven League rivals. Once again Elis chipped in 38 and Wajid 15 but amazingly for the second time we had 9 single-figure posts. Tweaker Ben Elphee mesmerised our line up and his 6-45 was the match-winning effort. We tumbled to 70 all out in 26.5 overs with 3 lbws from a new umpire the talking point. Cullingworth had no such difficulty and 41 from Adam Brooke-Smith at a run-a-ball ensured a cruise to the points at 71-2 from 83 balls, both wickets to Louis Stephens [2-13]. A third defeat in a row had many feeling we may not be contenders this year. The next week we hosted neighbours Oxenhope, who asked us to bat first. Elis again opened and made another 37, sharing an opening stand of 31 with Sajjad [15]. Disappointingly Subhaans 2023 start was a duck and Charlie made just 9 as we reached 65-3. Ere long we showed at 105-7 and seemingly struggling to exit the rut of recent weeks. But rear-guard defence from Joe and aggression from Louis began to change the picture. The two young batsmen added 81 runs from 21 overs. Louis remained unbowed on 57no with Joe also still there on 15no and the score a promising 186-7. Hamza [3-27] and Tanveer [3-41] had taken most of the spoils but without domination. The Oxenhope reply revolved around three batsmen, opener Alex Baker and juniors Lewis Verdeyen & Matthew Grace. Both youths supported Baker as they chased down our total with 7 balls to spare with just 5 wickets down. Baker made 106no [142 balls, 17 fours] with Verdeyen [40] and Grace a telling 17 no. Four of the five wickets came from Tom with 4-29. The match was deemed a Draw as Oxenhope hadnt bowled us out, but they took 11 points to our 3. Not a defeat but as good as one, but with promising outputs.

Perhaps a change of month might bring a change of fortune? The magnificent views from Luddendenfoot were on offer next and we enjoyed a Premier League strip. But again, a poor start at 29-3 was not really anything new. Charlie and Subhaan provided an antidote. Charlie battled to 22 before he was bowled at 67-4 whilst Subhaan was settling to his known capability.  He stayed to face 42 balls making 40 showing the wickets true colours. But the total was at 110-7 when he fell with more work to do. The work came from juniors Joe and Akeel. Joes 72 balls brought him 58 as the last man to fall, whilst Akeel remained not out on 62 from 34 balls. The board now registered our highest score in the HCL to date with 233-9. Denham and Brooke each took 4 wickets for the home side, but each conceded 55 runs. At last, the bowlers had something to defend and again it was Joe with 4-32 [10 overs] who grasped the nettle. The 10-man home team had opener Rawlinson with 29 and Cook 23 but no-one could make a telling innings. Their reply ended at 127 all out in 34.2 overs and now we had another win [and an away win] under our belts! Back at Wide Lane we faced up to Augustinians as we chose to bat first. Louis [30] and Wajid [42] enable us to get to 100-3 in a more confident phase with the bat. But it was Subhaan and Charlie that really capitalised on the start, each making half-centuries. Faisal Bhatti had done his best [4-49] to constrain our progress but we charged n to 234, matching last weeks effort, Subhaan had 53 and Charlie 59. Had we turned a corner? Sajjad 3-30 and Joe 5-32 said we had, as Augustinians crumpled to 134 all out, only Sadiq causing any concerns with 31. Joes 5-for was the youngest ever by an Oakworth 2nd XI player at 13.1 years of age. Two wins in a row and we entered the top half of the table.

June was turning into a warm and productive month and next we travelled to Clayton and inserted the opposition in a match reduced to 40 overs aside. An early wicket for Charlie was the catalyst which took Clayton to 88-5. Rayner then combined with Ambler to turn round their position. They added 77 before Charlie had his second. 165-6 was a different prospect and Ambler saw it through to the 40th over and the Clayton total was 208-7, Ambler on 61no. Sajjad returned 3-44 with Charlie and Tom each with a brace. So, we needed to score at 5.2 per over to make it three wins in a row. At 51-4 it would need something special. Charlie continued his good form with 34 and the captain had 33, but not enough for us to seriously challenge. We were all out in 36.1 overs for 176, 33 short of the target, thanks to 3rd change Ramsdens 4-30. But a defeat, Yes but still an improvement from early season. It was Low Moor HT that were our visitors and they elected to bat. Sajjad was again on top form with 4-17 in 10 overs and Michael too opted to bowl and backed with 3-25 before Jack Davison made his comeback from injury with 2-10 from 32 balls. No 9 Green added 24no but still only dragged his team score to 90 all out in 31.2 steady overs. A stuttering start had us at 21-3 before Subhaan 37no and Charlie 32no again showed as our best batsmen. 91-3 came up in 25 overs to get back on the winning trail. The halfway mark of the season came up with a return trip to Southowram. The home side batted first and produced a procession of failures in the face of top-notch quick bowling from Charlie, Tom and Sajjad. Their top scorer was Parry with 17 as each of our musketeers grabbed 3 wickets, the other falling to off-spin from Noman. 73 all out was the result in 30.3 overs of turgid batting. Dan Pummel joined the 2nd team after a poor run in the senior side and responded with 27 as opener. Wajid and Jordan, also dropping down, saw us to the spoils in 12.3 overs at 77-3. Four wins in five weeks had now catapulted us to fifth place and into the pack of chasers behind leaders Old Town and Upper Hopton.

We hadnt yet faced Upper Hopton, but we travelled the long journey with high confidence and hopes. After the match was reduced to 31 overs aside, Michaels decision to insert the home side was well rewarded with the scoreboard showing 54-6. Sajjad had set up the position with 3-44 and Michael too was into the action, ultimately ending with 3-48. The problem was no 7 Wood who stopped the rot with opener Martin who stayed put for 79 balls, making 59. He fell at 91-7. But Wood found another partner in Ruttle who chipped in 22 as Wood galloped to 52 from 44 balls before run-out by Subhaan at 166-9 in the 31st over. But 20-3 again showed how opening was not our strongest suit. Louis and Akeel rectified things taking us to 71-4 when Akeel was run out for a rapid 19. Louis settled with skipper Michael, but he too was out for 33 at 91-5. When the captain was caught for 21 at 103-7 the game was up as we tumbled to 114 all out with 13 balls of the match left. Haroon Hanif had been a tough opponent with 3-18 in a match that was though winnable. Upper Hopton consolidated their lead at the top. We hadnt faced the other long-distance travellers Stones CC and they arrived at Wide Lane with the weather again threatening. A young opening pair of Joe and Louis joined the long list of failures at 19-2. Subhaan [23] and Sam [34] steadied the ship but at 88-6 our innings was in the balance against the youngest side we had faced this season. Wajid [23 no] and Rob [13no] again resisted pushing our tally to 110-6 when the heavens opened. The match was abandoned. The following weeks scheduled visit to Leymoor was also a victim of summer rain to deny us a chance of a first double of the year.

The scene was set for the visit of leaders Old Town which was to be the most eventful game of the campaign. Khan won the toss and decided to bat. Opener Cordingly gobbled up 82 balls making 25 and when he departed the Old Town tally was 68-4 as our pace attack, now including returnee Ricky Linden, flexed their collective muscles. None of the Old Town high scorers from our first encounter could repeat that form as skipper Michael destroyed their innings, turning back the clock with a terrific 7-22 in 13 overs of challenging wicket-to-wicket bowling. Old Town all out 123 and the tea break was a buoyant affair, for Oakworth at least. At 23-3 at the loss of Subhaan [0] it seemed we too might struggle but Charlie again stood tall and found a partner with Steve. Steve [21] departed at 113-7, having earlier copped one in the chest. The Old Town captain brought himself on to bowl off-spin and caused a few issues, including a warning from the umpires about illegal bent-arm deliveries. Charlie was still at the crease with Michael now set to join him. Only 11 needed to win and 3 wickets remaining was the equation. But stretching for a 2nd run Michael was run out at 117-8, still 7 needed to win. Akeel went for the glory hit and was lbw to his third ball at 119-9. It was left to back-in-harness Ricky Linden to stay with Charlie to garner the 5 runs needed to win. The pair added 2 runs to lie just 2 runs away from a Tie and 3 from a win. The pair went for a quick single and Ricky was well short of his ground, or so most people thought. The Old Town celebrations started in earnest, but the panel umpire called them to heel giving a not out decision as his view of the line had been obscured by a moving fielder. Discussions took place with the umpire who warned their captain would be reported for intimidatory behaviour. A threat to leave the field by the captain was reversed as wiser counsel prevailed. The action resumed with Ricky on strike, having been given a single. Oakworth were just 1 run shy of a Tie. The next ball from a rapid Nasir Khan struck Ricky bang in front of middle & leg and he was out lbw and Old Town had prevailed by the narrowest of all margins.

The excitement of the previous week was further cooled by the August rain and the Cullingworth game was abandoned without a ball bowled. So, on the glorious 12th we drove across the burn to Oxenhope in search of a revenge win. Oxenhope inserted our boys and again Dan opened, this time with Sajjad. They added 23 until Sajjad was out for just 2. Four further wickets fell with our score still rooted in the mid-forties. Mohammed Hamza [4-43] again disrupted our progress. Dan had made 28 but at 47-5 a captains innings was badly needed as Michael strode to the wicket. Charlies 22-ball resistance for 3 runs was ended at 57-6 and ere long we were rocking at 74-8. First Rob [16] combined with Michael to add 36 runs and from 110-9 a further 16 from last man Tom took us to 139 all out, Michael unbeaten on 33. Robbie Carling 3-15 had joined Hamza as a torment but the 26 extras from Oxenhope were most welcome. We needed something special and sure enough it was delivered by an on-fire Sajjad who demolished the Oxenhope line up with 6-12 in 10 memorable overs. His mentee Tom also responded, cleaning up the tail with 3-28 from 68 balls. Oxenhope had collapsed to 116 all out in 37.2 overs of torture for their batters. Only a last wicket stand of 34 had got them to those lofty heights as Max Potts [35no] and Adam Horrocks [18] showed their team mates how to do it. The following Saturday the Luddendenfoot boys were our visitors who a found a dampish Wide Lane somewhat different to their manicured greensward. Our boys were seeking a first double and here was an excellent opportunity. The Luddendenfoot captain felt the wicket would favour bowlers and we were asked to bat. Once again our openers failed as we reached 47-3 with Dan, Wajid and Saad back at the pavilion. The fourth to fall was in-form Charlie for 32, ultimately one of four victims for Brooke. The score was 74-4 but there was to be a 1 in front of that tally before the next wicket fell as Michael and Steve [combined age 104] added exactly 100. Steve was out for 33 [51 balls] with Michael still there on 66. 33 runs later Michael was out lbw for a cracking 85 from just 80 balls with the electronics now showing 207-6 prior to our conclusion at 218-7. As the visitor captain had suspected the wicket had proved difficult but our boys had batted supremely well. Brooke returned 4-20 and Wade 2-15 but youngster Horsfield shipped 88 runs in 11 overs. It proved too many to chase as Sajjad, Joe & Charlie each too three wickets as their batters wilted in face of the scoreboard pressure. Luddendenfoot were all out for just 70, top scorer Hosker with 24 but from 72 balls.  We had our first double in the HCL at last.

The long and winding road to Augustinians was next and Michael asked them to bat first in a 37-over game. Our bowlers were now rampant and had five out for just 34 runs, 3 to Sajjad and 2 to Akeel. They needed a stand, and got one from Amjad & Liaquat. It was 66 runs with Amjad stumped for a wicket for Saad.  From 100-6 the home boys further crumbled to 119-9 as Ricky Linden got in on the act. Frustratingly no 10 Farooq and last man Hussain added another 14 to reach 133-9 as the 37th over concluded. Sajjad 3-40, Ricky 2-17, Akeel 2-24 and Saad 2-48. The last pair had ensured they couldnt lose the match outright. A welcome return to top form from Subhaan with 60 no was the centre-piece of our reply and with strong backing from Michael, Saad & Rob the winning line was crossed at 135-2 in just 28 overs. Not a win, but a winning draw with 11 points. At home to Clayton, we expected another tough test but their decision to bat really backfired big style. Our attack this week included Ellis Marshall who was struggling a little with a recurring foot injury. The 4-man pace attack completely blew the 10-man visitors away with Akeel 3-18, Ellis 3-28, Sajjad 2-13 and Tom 1-5. Their all out 67 was the lowest score we had engineered this season and owed much to a 32-run partnership from numbers 7 and 8. After a duck for Saad, Dan [33no] and Subhaan [22no] secured the full points win in 17.5 overs at 68-1. We were on a great roll, but skipper Michael had retired hurt with a bicep injury whilst hitting a six.

The penultimate match and last away from home was at Low Moor HT and again we sought a double with some justification after the form of the last few weeks. Two early wickets came our way but after a third [Lamb 43] at 69-3 we kept up the pressure to have the home batters at 111-5. Number 4 Jenkins was though in fine fettle, and he contributed 89 [68 balls] to his team cause. He had support all down the line. Tom 4-36 and Sajjad 4-39 had done their jobs well, but back-up proved comparatively fruitless. Low Moor reached 228 in the 44th over. With 46 from Rob and 31 each to Dan and Wajid we were never out of the hunt, but once Rob fell only Akeel [18] was able to add much. We subsided to 175 with 7 overs un-bowled. Whist bowler Smith had 5 wickets he did go for 62 runs so their attack was not that potent; our batters were strangely a tad off the boil.

Finally at home to Southowram we again would tilt at a ouble”. Steve opted to bat first, and Southowram Sundaramoorthy proved a difficult bowler to despatch. He took 3-20 in 14 very tight overs. Skipper Steve finished the innings with 37no after 34 from Subhaan and support from most others. We posted 161-7 as no other visiting bower could find the penetration to ruffle our concentration. An 88-run 2nd wicket partnership threatened to undermine our efforts and it was the intro of Joe that broke the stand with an lbw of Southowram captain Jakeman for an aggressive 44. His young compatriot Kissack went on to make 39 but the rest were falling rapidly to spin. The trump card had proved to be chip off the block Logan Scarborough whose off-spin found revolution after a couple of over to bring 5-34 in 12 delightful overs. Leggie Joe backed up well with 3-19. Southowram closed 137 all out, 25 short of the target with 2 overs left. We had a second double and we learned that we had also won the Ernest Clay Trophy for the most points in the last six matches!

The final outcome was a close fifth place, arising from 9 outright wins, 1 winning draw, 1 losing draw, 5 abandoned matches and 6 defeats. 2,511 runs scored and 149 opposition wickets taken. Of our 157 points gleaned, 89 came at Home with 68 on the road.

Overall, we undertook 18 innings scoring 2,511 runs or 140 per match, our opponents undertook 17 innings [Stones didn’t bat at Wide Lane] and scored 2,266 or 133 per match. Our bowlers tallied 149 runs whist our opponents were adrift by 21 at 128. Our positive dominance factor was 23% or 4.5 runs per wicket. We topped 200 three times, out best of 234 vs Augustinians. Our worst was the dismal 70 at Cullingworth. We batted first 9 times, winning 5, when chasing 8 times we gleaned 4 wins, all after bowling out opposition for less than 100.

In comparing our final season in CDCL with our first in HCL, there is very little overall difference in either batting or bowling rates. The differences come at Home [significantly better] and Away [worse] which is not surprising as the away matches were on wickets never seen before and against opponents about whom we knew little.

 

OAKWORTH

OPPONENTS

OAKWORTH

 

HOME

AWAY

HOME

AWAY

HOME

AWAY

 

Runs   

Wkts lost

Runs

Wkts lost

Conceded

Wkts taken

Conceded

Wkts taken

Av Bat

Av Bowl

Av Bat

Av Bowl

2023

1287

54

1224

74

904

74

1346

75

23.83

12.22

16.54

17.95

2022

968

55

1298

61

933

60

1113

72

17.60

15.55

21.28

15.46

Change

+319

-1

-74

+13

-29

+14

+233

+3

+6.23

-3.33

-4.74

+2.49

 

At home we got in 9 innings [Rain v Upper Hopton & Cullingworth] whist in 2022 it was 8 with concessions by Denholme & Wilsden. In 2022 away from Home there were 9 innings [Cowling conceded] whilst this year we also managed 9 [rain at Stones & Leymoor]. At Wide Lane, our run-scoring per match has rocketed from 121 to 147, up 22% whilst on our travels we fell 6% from 144 to 136. Our individual scoring per wicket lost has risen by 6.23 runs/wicket, a huge 35% whilst away we were down 21%. What about our opponents? At Wide lane their 904 runs from 8 innings produced 113 per match at just 12.22 for each of the 74 wickets we captured. But on their middens they averaged 17.95 per wicket lost for an average team score of 150.

That our stats at Home look so good is of no great surprise as we lost just one match [Old Town] and that by just 1 run. We did though have a losing draw with Oxenhope. It is clear that for our batters, its away from Home that we need to be looking for improvement of 10% in our 136 runs per match to nearer the 150 per match of our hosts.

The story for the bowling attack makes really good reading. At Wide Lane we increased our wicket taking from 60 [7.5 per match] to 74 [9.25 per match] conceding just 113 runs per innings. On our travels we took 75 wickets [8.33 per match], up from 8.00 in 2022. The opposition did though score 150 runs per innings. So whilst the wicket-taking was better, our economy needs to improve if our batsmen cannot score 10% more runs.

Appearances

Sajjad appeared in 17 of the 18 matches undertaken, just ahead of Wajid and Steve each with 16. Altogether 27 players were used, 6 of them just once.

Batters

Subhaan was our leading run-scorer now he doesnt work Saturdays. From 14 appearances he rattled up 299 runs with a highest of 60. His average is 27.18. Also in fine form was Charlie with 226 runs from 11 innings, his best 59 and a cracking average of 28.25. Skipper Michael also topped the 200 mark with 221 from 10 innings, best 85 and average 27.63. Just below the threshold comes Wajid on 197 runs from 14 knocks at an average of 16.42, his best was 42. Next came a clutch of players around the 150 mark in Rob [157], Elis [152], Steve [151] and Dan [147]. Louis 137 [inc a 57] and Joe 122 were all regular performers. Special mention must be made of Joe, at only 13 years of age, he achieved a 58 score in addition to his very welcome wicket-taking leg-spin. Akeel tallied 99 [inc a 62], Saad 75, Sam 72 and Tom 39. Of the 2022 regulars, Noman appeared just 5 times and totalled only 11 runs.

Bowlers

In a wonderfully consistent and productive season, from 121 overs Sajjad picked up 37 wickets at a superb average of 9.11, his best an amazing 6-12. His co-opener 15 years-old Tom captured 24 at average 13.00 from his 102 overs. The aforementioned leg-spin from young Joe had proved an unexpected bonus with 22 wickets at 17.23 from 80 overs. His tally included the youngest ever five-for [5-32 vs Augustinians] by an Oakworth player, beating a record that had stood for 36 years. Skipper Michael bowled 40 overs, much less than in 2022, but still grabbed 14 scalps at 8.21 apiece including that staggering 7-22 vs Old Town. Also on 14 wickets was Charlie who bowled 71 overs at 19.29. 42 overs from Akeel brought 9 wickets at 16.44. Twelve other bowlers picked up at least one wicket. Amongst them was Logan whose 14 overs included a five-for. [5-34 vs Southowram] the youngest by an Oakworth off-spinner.

Going forward

In 2024 we will have two new opponents in Queensbury CC and Outlane CC to overcome whilst Low Moor and Stones will again provide stiff tests. But we can look forward with great confidence based on 2023. As outlined above, our away batting needs to improve and of course we will need to maintain the Wide Lane fortress. The basis of our success is currently the bowling and hopefully Sajjad, Tom, Akeel and possibly Charlie should again provide the pace alongside the vast promise of spinners Joe and Logan. Michael of course periodically adds himself to the attack. We also have Dawud and Ayaan to get back into the groove after their exam year absences. So, the Third XI seems set as their home for 2024 and they may be accompanied by Saad and Asim, both of whose form has stagnated. The return of Ricky Linden adds to our bowling resources but where he fits in is as yet unclear. Rob and Paul have shared the keeping load well.

From where can the batting improvement derive? Matty Lee is expected to return to our ranks and so will supplement the known quantities. We need more from Akeel with the bat as he too often gets carried away too soon. But the basic talent for big hitting is there, he needs to recognise when he is in. Subhaan, Rob and Wajid all have had their moments and are fairly consistent, but they too can up their game a notch. Joe should be fully recovered from his muscular issues and his all-round skills will shine further as his experience at this level grows after a great debut year. The obvious area of batting concern is the opening pair, which is not settled and frequently does not provide the starts we need. Dan Pummel and Elis Jones may be the answer here, but Elis has first to recover from his injury. Additionally, Michael will no doubt consider where his talents can best benefit the club as his superb leadership would take some replacement, should he determine to step down. We already hear that Jimmy Lee is seeking the Third XI captaincy and if successful should help the ongoing development of the Thirds with its annual influx of juniors. But the overall club strength is growing annually and already there is healthy competition for places. Thats just what we need.  Roll on 2024.