Astley Bridge Under-11s 234 Farnworth Under-11s 244 (Farnworth win by 10 runs)
THE future of cricket in Bolton is safe if two clubs such as Astley Bridge and Farnworth keep churning out teams like their under-11s.
What a battle it was in glorious conditions for cricket last Thursday night.
Ron Fallow's Astley Bridge outfit were no strangers to appearing in the Your Sport supplement after appearing on the last day of the 2013 campaign as they celebrated a resounding win against Horwich.
Meanwhile, this was Farnworth Under-11s debut in the 12-page pull-out this season and from start to finish the youngsters were determined to put on a display worthy of taking the headlines and their scrapbooks.
Astley Bridge batted first with Ali Hassan taking advantage of a full toss with a boundary in an otherwise tight over by Kian Rogerson.
Farnworth were impressive in the early exchanges as Connor Kirkham using his right arm pace causing problems for the openers.
Nikhil Patel bagged a boundary and a run before his hard work was undone by Rogerson taking the first wicket.
Farnworth's attack smelt blood and they were ruthless in the fourth over as Kirkham bagged two wickets in as many balls to take the score down to 190.
Slowly the new pairing of Oliver Clark and Jay Chevli tried to repair the damage and added eight runs to take Astley Bridge back up to near the 200 total they started with and kept their wickets intact.
The next pairing of Ismael Patel and Husain Patel faced a nervy time to start with Ismael clean bowled by Daniel Schofield then Husain was lucky that Billy Jones did not get his hands on a shot to the boundary that fell short.
The introduction of Orin Constantine to the equation gave Astley Bridge something to think with his unusual bowling style getting a lot of pace and length.
With time running out, Tom Clark and Patel put on a late show to edge to 234. Kirkham took 3-11 while Orin took 2-10 and Rogerson 1-11.
In reply, Astley Bridge remained confident they had enough in their armoury to take wickets to keep Farnworth’s score down.
Dewi Grundy and Oliver Longworth set the ball rolling for Farnworth and it was Grundy who bagged the first runs with a clever chip to the boundary off the pacy bowling of Thomas Clark.
Runs were at a premium thanks to some fast, accurate bowling by Mohammed Ali and then followed up by Ismael Patel fielding well.
However, Grundy had other ideas on his way to 14 runs which almost took to the verge of half of their total.
Astley Bridge showed the danger they possessed when Orin Constantine lost his wicket to end with a total of -4 for scoring two and being out.
Connor Kirkham was as impressive with the bat as with the ball when he top-scored with 18 but unfortunately at the other end Billy Jones was out.
Farnworth were not going to give up that easy as Elliot Longworth chipped in with 12 at the death as they ended 244.
Ismael Patel was the pick of the bowlers with 2-14 and Jay Chevli took 1-5.
Despite the defeat, coach Ron Fallows believed it was a fine showcase of local cricket.
He said: “It was a good close game and they were fighting to get the win to the death.
“Farnworth had four players under the age of nine and we had a few ourselves.
“Another positive was it being so close as we could have won it late on if we had got a few wickets in the dying overs.”
Farnworth coach Simon Booth said: “The lads have been working together for a few years.
“In the past Farnworth may have struggled to get junior teams but thes U11s and U13s have together working and impressing.
“It was great to see them playing so well and hopefully ssme of them can go into our senior ranks if we can keep hold of them.”
ASTLEY BRIDGE v FARNWORTH
Bolton League Under-11s
At Astley Bridge
Ali Hassan 11 (-12)
Nikhil Patel 6 (-12)
Oliver Clark 3
Jay Chevli 5
Ismael Patel 9 (-6)
Husain Patel 14
Thomas Clark 10
Mohammed Ali 64
Bowling: Kian Rogerson 1-11, Connor Kirkham 3-11, Billy Jones 0-4, Elliot Longworth 0-6, Orin Constantine 2-10, Oliver Longworth 0-6.
Dewi Grundy 14
Oliver Longworth 3
Orin Constantine -4
Daniel Schofield 3
Connor Kirkham 18
Billy Jones -3
Elliot Longworth 12
Cian Rogerson 1
Bowling: Ismael Patel 2-12, Jay Chevli 1-5