Current season

Match Reports 2012

1st XI vs Buxton (h) Sat 15th September

Won by 27 runs
Hayfield 215 all out (20 pts)
Buxton 188 a/o (9 pts)

Hayfield’s season ended in victory over basement side Buxton but there was little else to cheer as news filtered through of the formality of Dinting’s quest for the few points that they required to retain their title.

From the beginning the match had a typically end-of-season feel with a damp wicket slowly drying on a pleasant day when a weak sun did its best to dry the pitch and take the chill from the autumn air.

Steve Betts called correctly at the toss and had no hesitancy in inserting the home side on a pitch that had looked more bowler-friendly than at any point in the season. In the absence of Russ Evans, Sam Hudson opened the innings with hairy barnacle Shane Furness and, with little pressure on the batting side, both players looked to score freely against Mark Hill and Matt Poole. However, Hudson’s attempts to emulate his hero and soon-to-be work colleague ended in failure when he chipped Hill to square leg with the score on just 13.

Meanwhile, Furness produced an eyebrow-raising cameo in making 45 brisk runs before he disappointingly scooped the ball back to Hill for a simple caught and bowled which, at that point, we thought was the end of his season….

Furness’ demise kick-started a procession of wickets with David Platt, probably a little high at number 4, and George Wood both falling victim to Hill and Aldridge fencing feebly at a rising delivery from Joel Frohwein. And when Kieran Sharpe and Ben Higginbottom both fell to a rampant Hill, Hayfield had slumped to 95-7 with their number 11 Dave Wood still somewhere near Rochdale.

Hayfield’s recovery was purely thanks to the class of Gareth Davies and number 9 Julian Burgess whose self-demotion down the order had nothing whatsoever to do with protecting his league batting average. The pair added 84 quick runs before Burgess fell for a no-nonsense 53 leaving Davies to marshal the tail (i.e. Matt Proctor) past the 200 mark before Proctor finally perished in the 40th over for 13. Mark Hill was easily the best bowler on show with 6-46 from 14 distinctly useful left-arm overs of seam.

Buxton’s reply started poorly with Davies removing Joel Frohwein in the first over and Platt finding Bob Marsden’s outside edge with the scoreboard reading just 5. Scott Mackenzie hit some lusty blows off Platt who was bowling too full a length but he and Bentley both were victims of Matt Proctor who bowled some good and bad deliveries in his six over spell.

Dave Aldridge found turn and bounce to remove Tim Frohwein and Betts in a mesmerising spell of bowling from the playground end. Such was the off-spinner’s brilliance that Julian Burgess was faced with little option but to take pity on his Buxton pals by bringing on Sam Hudson instead. Surprisingly, the wicketkeeper’s medium-paced tosh did actually reach levels of mediocrity, though Mark Hill will probably have many sleepless nights over the winter after spooning a Hudson long-hop into the safe hands of Julian Burgess at deep mid-wicket.

Kieran Sharp bowled some tidy medium pace from the pavilion end and Burgess brought himself on to add some hilarity to proceedings. But it was Shane Furness who rounded off Hayfield’s season in quite remarkable fashion with a straight delivery that was missed by wicketkeeper Allen to give Hayfield’s batting maestro his first wicket at this level and his future grandchildren some exciting bedtime narrative in years to come.

And so many congratulations go to Dinting Cricket Club on retaining their title. But after a poor season last year, Hayfield can feel proud that they pushed a good side all the way to the last game of the season. And maybe if the weather gods and Lady Luck had been kinder, well who knows.... What is for sure, Hayfield Cricket Club is in a healthier state this time last year and we did win our first outright silverware for a good many years with victory in the Bissenden Cup. Congratulations to Julian Burgess and his players who played some fine cricket whilst enjoying their Saturday afternoons together. A fine team spirit prevailed and most players will look forward to another successful season in 2013.

1st XI v Dove Holes (h) Sun 9th September

Won by 181 runs
Hayfield 304-3
Dove Holes 123 all out

With the disappointment of the previous day’s defeat to Hazel Grove still lingering, Hayfield’s players returned to form with another thumping home win against a Dove Holes side with little to play for at this late stage of the season.

Julian Burgess won the toss and had no hesitation in taking first knock first on another good batting surface. Sam Hudson wasted little time in getting going with a flurry of boundaries against Dove’s opening bowlers, S Critchlow and D Walker. Hayfield sailed past 50 inside six overs when Baldwin was introduced to the attack to replace Critchlow who had taken a pummelling in his first spell. The change paid dividends with Hudson spooning a catch to mid-on for a sparkling 47 which had dominated an opening stand of 54 with Furness, who was just happy to watch the carnage from the non-striker’s end.

Hudson’s exit saw the scoring rate decrease as Davies and Furness played watchfully. However, there were still some loose deliveries to be put away which, for the most part, they did with aplomb.

Both batsmen reached half-centuries in a second-wicket stand of 138 that was finally ended when Walker returned from the playground end to bowl Furness for 80. Julian Burgess was soon into his stride with some fierce drives as he and Davies increased the tempo in a partnership of 90. On nearing his century, Davies was lucky not to lose his wicket when Tom Forder spilled an easy chance at mid-wicket thus allowing Hayfield’s relieved number three to move onto a classy hundred before he was run out with a direct hit from mid-wicket to end what had been a splendid innings.

This left Burgess to smash the last few runs to take his side past 300 with the innings closing on 304 for the loss of just three wickets, Hayfield’s captain finishing on an aggressive 55 not out.

Dove’s reply never really got going. David Platt and Davies proved too hot for the visitors’ top order with Platt accounting for Jones, A Critchlow and Jack Gregory in a fiery opening burst. Davies bowled Forder to leave Dove on 52-4 and in an impossible position for victory.

Dave Aldridge took three wickets with his off breaks and Gareth Davies returned for a second spell that saw him account for two more victims in his best all-round performance of the season. Ben Higginbottom added a bit of gloss to Hayfield’s performance with a fine piece of fielding at cover to run out Joe Gregory and Matt Proctor bowled a steady five-over spell in the middle of the innings.

For the visitors, Matt Baldwin top-scored at number eleven with an aggressive 27 but Dove subsided to 123 all out to leave Hayfield the victors by a huge margin, the only lowlight being Dave Aldridge’s dropped catch which denied Owen Kirton his first first-eleven wicket.

While the victory was a huge one, the win was tinged with disappointment as Dinting had beaten Broadbottom and now just need four points from their final game to clinch successive league titles.

Hayfield’s last game of the season is at home to Buxton who have already been relegated to Division Two.

1st XI v Hazel Grove (a) Sat 8th September

Lost by 7 runs
Hazel Grove 160 all out
Hayfield 153-9

Disaster struck for the villagers of Hayfield as they threw away an almost impregnable position against Hazel Grove and with it, almost certainly, their chances of league glory.

Grove took first knock on a dry pitch that was surrounded by a dew-ridden outfield. Nevertheless, the ground looked magnificent on a warm and sunny day that soon relieved the moisture and provided for an entertaining game of cricket.

Nick Hayward and Rick Burke opened their side’s innings against the new-ball pairing of Dave Platt and Josh Unsworth. Both bowlers found a steady rhythm but looked unusually toothless on a slow pitch. However, Platt did finally make a breakthrough with Burke edging to Gareth Davies at second slip to leave Grove on 19-1.

Cheshire Ladies’ batsman (batswoman?) Jenny Halstead came to the wicket and looked comfortable from the outset although the scoring rate remained becalmed at less than three runs per over. She and Hayward put on 43 runs before Dave Aldridge trapped her LBW for 18.

The key partnership for Grove came with the arrival of Andy Oldfield who made a typically belligerent half-century in putting on 65 runs with Hayward for the third wicket. This took the home side to 127-2 before the reintroduction of Platt induced the most dramatic of batting capitulations.

Platt bowled Hayward for 53, Oldfield holed out to Kieran Sharp at long-on before Platt took a hat-trick by inducing Geoff Noden to follow the same route as Oldfield, bowling Gibbs with his next delivery and trapping Ryan Hayward LBW first ball.

Ian Hayward helped the score up past 150 but the last three wickets fell without addition to the total as the Grove innings subsided to 160 all out. Platt finished with superb figures of 7-40 off 16 overs and Unsworth got two late wickets to finish with 2-62.

With the bowlers having done their job, albeit belatedly, the batsmen were left with a modest run chase. And when Sam Hudson took thirteen runs off Ian Hayward’s first over, things looked rosy for Hayfield. However, Hudson’s confident start was abruptly ended by Ryan Hayward, who produced a snorter to remove Hayfield’s in-form opener.

Gareth Davies joined Shane Furness and they put on another 25 comfortable runs before Davies flashed at wide Ryan Hayward delivery to dish up a straightforward chance to wicketkeeper Ralph Taylor.

With Ian Hayward not at his sublime best, Burke turned to the slow bowling of Bennett to try and buy a wicket and his decision paid immediate dividends with Burgess smashing a full toss straight to deep mid-wicket.

Dave Aldridge and Furness were forced to steady the rocking ship and put on 45 watchful runs. No risks were taken against Bennett and the pair were content just to pick up a few easy singles and punish the occasional loose delivery.

However, with just 51 runs required from twelve overs, Aldridge carelessly drove Ryan Hayward to the safe hands of Halstead at long-on. Although Furness and George Wood brought Hayfield closer to victory with 36 required off seven overs, Wood was called for an impossible single and was a long way short of his ground when the bails were removed.

Wood’s dismissal then exposed an inexperienced lower order to Ian and Ryan Hayward who had bowled unchanged from the scoreboard end. Only 15 runs were eked from the next five overs leaving Furness and the tail to score 21 off two overs. The task proved too difficult as wickets fell regularly and when only a single was taken from the penultimate delivery, Hayfield’s dreams of title glory were almost gone.

Congratulations to Hazel Grove who battled hard for their victory and gained valuable points in their fight against relegation. Ryan Hayward paved the way to their success with 6-61 from 24 tight overs but, despite a doughty 53 from Furness, Hayfield’s poor batting show was really the catalyst for their demise and it will now take two successive Dinting losses, against Broadbottom and Old Glossop, for Hayfield to win the title.

1st XI v New Mills (h) Sat 1st September

Won by 178 runs
Hayfield 286-7 (20 pts)
New Mills 108 all out (4pts)

This was a fine weekend for the villagers, who thrashed neighbours New Mills and, in doing so, closed the gap on league leaders Dinting who surprisingly lost at Newton on the same day.

Hayfield batted first on a decent track but made a poor start with Russ Evans and Shane Furness both departing soon after moving into double figures. Gareth Davies went the same way and it was mainly thanks to Sam Hudson, batting at number three, that Hayfield reached a hundred without further alarm.

Hudson dominated a fifty partnership with skipper Julian Burgess before both batsmen fell in the space of three overs, Hudson for a high-class 77 and Burgess for ten, to leave Hayfield on an unsteady 117-5.

That the hosts managed to reach such a formidable total of 286 was quite simply down to a magnificent sixth-wicket partnership between Ben Higginbottom and Josh Unsworth. Both played sensibly at the beginning but ran well between the wickets to keep the scoreboard ticking along without risking losing their wickets with unnecessary shots. The bad ball was put away as the score began to build and laid the platform for a late innings acceleration that put the score way beyond their visitors.

Higginbottom was finally out for a crucial 61, leaving Unsworth to try and reach his century in the last over of the innings. Sadly it wasn’t to be as he lost his wicket, stumped dancing down the track, for a dazzling 95 but which was central to his teams imposing 286-7.

New Mills were never in the hunt. With only ten men and missing one or two key players, they capitulated to the bowling of Davies, Unsworth and Higginbottom with the latter two capping fine all-round individual performances with four and three wickets respectively as New Mills folded to just 108 all out. Twenty points to the villagers and back in the title race.

1st XI v Broadbottom (a) Sat 25th August

Abandoned
Broadbottom 37-1 (7 pts)
Hayfield (7 pts)

Hayfield travelled to struggling Broadbottom and, under menacing skies, a game of cricket was started and ended within half an hour as a torrential downpour sent the players back to the pavilion for the first and last time.

There was enough time for Hayfield to secure a bowling point but, after Gareth Davies had lured Aaron Walsh to glance to Hudson down the leg side, a straightforward chance was spilled at point off Josh Unsworth as Hayfield failed to make any dent in Dinting’s 19-point lead at the top of the table.

1st XI v Dinting (h) Sat 18th August

Lost by 21 runs
Dinting 251-8 (20 pts)
Hayfield 230 all out (9 pts)

After the previous week’s euphoria, Hayfield came crashing back to earth with defeat to title rivals Dinting who now look odds on to prevail in their attempts to retain their DCCL crown. Small margins are often the difference between success and failure and so it proved on this occasion.

Julian Burgess won the toss and inserted the visitors on a cloudy early afternoon on a pitch that looked a little softer and greener than normal thanks to yet more midweek rain. His decision was vindicated with Dave Platt bowling Greg Harwick off his pads without scoring as Hayfield got off to a perfect start. Matt Coleman and Danny Brightmore battled hard against the new ball, but when Gareth Davies found Brightmore’s edge to Sam Hudson, the scoreboard read 18-2 and Dinting were on the ropes.

Adam Wilson and Coleman looked untroubled against Davies and Platt, but were not scoring quickly either as Hayfield commanded the first 15 overs. Remarkably, Davies did not concede his first run until his 41st delivery in an opening spell of 1-5 from seven overs before giving way to Matt Proctor. Meanwhile David Platt, after an equally impressive first spell, stepped aside for Dave Aldridge’s off breaks.

Proctor struggled with his length in a short spell of three overs, but was also unlucky to have Wilson dropped in the gully. Dinting’s skipper then chipped Aldridge to mid-wicket where, unbelievably, another simpler chance went begging.

After twenty overs, Dinting’s score was less than sixty and at the 24 overs drinks break, it read 88. But with wickets in hand, Wilson and Coleman then made Hayfield pay for their profligacy and lack of bowling depth as over a hundred runs were added in less than ten overs after the interval. Proctor, Aldridge and Jimmy Adamson were blasted out of the attack, Davies returned for two expensive overs before Platt came back to restore some control to proceedings.

Platt finally removed Wilson, caught and bowled for 84. Matt Blood, answering Dinting’s SOS calls after successive league defeats, made just a handful of runs before falling to an edge to Hudson off Platt. Ped Sevill, perhaps unluckily, was adjudged to have been given out caught down the leg side off Davies and Coleman was finally out LBW to Platt for a fine 78 which was a tribute to his admirable temperament in the face of paternal distractions which clearly had affected his early concentration. However, it was also a very skilful and valuable knock which was a key part in Dinting’s victory.

Gaz Gerrard and Jarred Massey ensured that the flurry of wickets would not turn into a complete collapse as they built a platform for a late final assault which saw the champions take the score past 250. There were further late wickets for Platt (5-75) and Davies (3-68) but Hayfield knew that whilst that target could have ultimately been higher, their early innings lapses had let Adam Wilson’s men off the hook.

Russ Evans and Shane Furness started positively against the new ball attack of John Coleman and Ped Sevill, though there were a few streaky edges in amongst the better shots as Hayfield moved onto 40 inside eight overs.

However, Evans was adjudged LBW to John Coleman and this wicket at a key time set the tone for the rest of the innings. Sam Hudson looked in fine form, seeing off the threat of Coleman and Sevil, before perishing to the left arm spin of Bryan Thompson when looking well set. Ditto Gareth Davies who, along with Furness, had taken the score past 100 when succumbing to a poor shot off the same bowler.

The wickets had knocked the stuffing out of the run chase and the required rate was steadily increasing. 186 off 25 overs became 150 off twenty. Julian Burgess hit Thompson out of the attack with successive maximums over the river but this prompted the final pivotal moment of the match – the inevitable return of John Coleman.

Bowling full, fast and straight, he was simply too good for the rest of the Hayfield batting. He trapped the dangerous Burgess LBW and bowled Dave Aldridge without scoring. George Wood made a valiant effort with some meaty boundaries, but Coleman wreaked his revenge by flattening the left hander’s off stump to all but seal his side’s victory. In the end, no one remained to provide the foil to Furness’ determined innings of 88 which ended when he miscued off Brightmore, who bowled unchanged for 16 accurate overs form the car park end.

Chris South, Platt, Adamson and Proctor all provided some spirited resistance with some late boundaries but the run rate of ten an over off the last ten overs proved too much. Despite Proctor hoisting Coleman into the playground and playing an astonishing little late cameo, Proctor was last man out to leave Dinting firm favourites to retain their title and Hayfield to rue their missed opportunities.

In the end, it was a case of two potentially evenly matched sides separated only by their desire to win. One or two of the Hayfield players weren’t at the races on their day of reckoning, as opposed to Hayfield’s leading wicket taker this season who probably couldn’t have picked a worse time to take the day off to indulge in a flutter over at Chester, leaving Hayfield’s vulnerable attack at the mercy of Dinting’s big hitters.

Bissenden Cup Final v New Mills (at Newton CC) Sun August 12th

Won by 4 wkts
New Mills 171-7
Hayfield 175-6

And so the big day came: the Bissenden Cup Final contested by Hayfield and local rivals New Mills. Both sides had overcome stiff opposition in their respective semi-finals to set up a mouth-watering clash at Newton CC who had been invited to host the event as part of their 150th anniversary.

The day for many of the team would begin as it ended - at the Kinder Lodge public house in Hayfield, where a magnificent breakfast was laid out to send the players on their way to meet their Tameside destiny. Unlike their opponents, Hayfield had eschewed formal dress code and most arrived as though showing off their particular preference of designer underwear or simply as if advertising that they don’t own a belt. Senior players sensibly opted for catalogue wear.

Fortunately, though, we were all just there to play cricket. After a quick change into shorts, a warm-up routine ensued consisting of catching, dropping, throwing and missing, and then a cricketing version of handball which was won by the team that didn’t include Messrs Burgess and Aldridge. No surprises there then.

The formality of the toss began official proceedings, a toss which New Mills won. Once again, Hayfield found themselves fielding first, though there were fewer protestations than the day before, especially when light rain arrived on cue at 2pm to delay the start for an hour.

But at 3pm the game finally got underway with a shortened game of 35 overs per side. Josh Unsworth shared the new ball with Gareth Davies who leaked two boundaries in his first over before providing his side with an early breakthrough, with Darren Coverley yorked with the scoreboard reading just ten.

New Mills key man Jon Duckworth came to the crease and played a watchful knock which saw the run rate stay below four an over for the first half of the innings. Matt Proctor had taken over from Unsworth in the seventh over and bowled an admirably tight spell before making way for Dave Aldridge.

Meanwhile, at the housing estate end, Dave Higginbottom replaced Davies hoping to repeat his early-season heroics which saw him claim eight wickets against Newton in the villagers’ league fixture at the same ground. Unfortunately, and perhaps surprisingly, Hayfield’s first-choice spinner struggled with his line and length and was a little expensive as Scott Mills and Duckworth sought to up the tempo with a cluster of hard-hit boundaries.

However, after an aggressive knock, Mills advanced down the track and was bowled by Aldridge who then was unfortunate not to claim Duckworth’s scalp when Davies spilled a straightforward chance at long-on.

Davies made amends, however, as he found Duckworth’s outside edge to wicketkeeper Sam Hudson just two balls into his second spell. At 77-3, Malc Strong was joined by Andy Holmes in a potentially key partnership for New Mills. Then, just as the innings looked to be blossoming, Holmes clipped Aldridge straight into the safe hands of Evans at midwicket, much to the delight of his ecstatic colleagues.

Aldridge bowled his seven overs straight through and was replaced by Proctor, who continued to bowl tightly at Strong and number six Mike Birchenall. When Birchenall fell to Gareth Davies for just 13, Hayfield were looking favourites to close down the innings for less than 140.

Stuart Whitchurch, though, had other ideas. In a typically aggressive knock of 37, including 22 off a single Unsworth over, he helped to hoist the total past 150. Though Whitchurch and Callum Firth fell in consecutive deliveries to Higginbottom, Strong saw his innings through to the last over when he finally fell to Unsworth for 38.

A victory target of 172 in 35 overs would normally hold no fears at a ground like Newton’s. The pitch remained true despite the rain, and although the outfield had slowed slightly, runs were there for the taking.

Russ Evans and Shane Furness made a cautious start against the New Mills attack which was spearheaded by canny medium-pacer Dave Ward and the steady off-spin of Strong. In a different game, Evans would have looked to maybe attack Ward a little more than he did and maybe the tension of a cup final curbed his natural flair. Nevertheless, the opening stand realised 46 before Evans, having moved on to 28, skied a catch to cover off Strong who was earlier unlucky not to have removed Furness after a chop to gully was spilled.

Hudson came in at number three and was soon purposefully into his stride before a rain break that had the players off the field for another half an hour. Breaks for drinks and rain can often prove decisive and so it was for Hudson who holed out to cover with the score on 64 to bring New Mills back into contention.

Gareth Davies made an immediate impact on the game with a brutal assault on James Stevens’ second over, the off-spinner having taken over from Ward. He drove straight and then through midwicket before scattering the spectators with a fierce pull for six as Stevens lost his length. However, Davies also was involved in the run-out of Furness who was looking until then untroubled. Davies drove to mid-on, looked to set off and Furness was run out for 29 by a direct hit from Hayden Marsh, although he was perhaps unlucky with the decision, having looked to have made his ground.

Davies, however, was looking in imposing form and it was therefore a shock when he carelessly gave his wicket away, driving Andy Holmes up in the air having made 31. This brought Aldridge to the crease to join skipper Burgess. Whilst there was a need to keep wickets intact, 70 runs were still required off 11 overs and the experienced pair knew that positive batting was still required to keep their side in the hunt.

Aldridge duly obliged, driving Holmes over cover for successive boundaries, and Burgess used his feet to prevent Stevens, the leading wicket taker in this year’s competition, from gaining a foothold in the game by drilling him for a six and a four in the same over.

Jon Duckworth continued to ring the changes with his bowlers, who were struggling to grip a wet ball. Aldridge hit fours off Birchenall as the batting onslaught saw the runs required fall to 18 off 5 overs.

Cal Firth was introduced for his first over of the innings but his first ball was clipped to the boundary by Burgess and when Aldridge straight drove him for six the game was eventually over, although the New Mills medium-pacer found Pyrrhic revenge when Aldridge miscued to mid-on having made 26 quick runs.

There was still time for another wicket as Ben Higginbottom fell for a duck, but five wides ended the game with nearly three overs still remaining and Hayfield had gained their first Bissenden silverware since 1986.

Julian Burgess ended a superb personal weekend on 34 not out to see his side home and was just one of a number of incredibly proud and relieved people associated with the club as he strode up to collect the trophy.

Special mention must go to those associated with Newton CC whose enthusiasm and hard work made for a fantastic day, albeit in difficult and at times frustrating weather conditions. The wicket, outfield, ground and facilities were a credit to the club, as was their hospitality throughout the day. Those at Hayfield CC wish Newton CC all the best for the rest of their 150th celebrations.

But the day belonged to Hayfield. This was a real team performance. Whilst the Man of the Match award went to Dave Aldridge, there were no stand-out players with everyone contributing to the victory. Decent bowling, decent batting and excellent fielding that culminated in a deserved victory and jubilation for both players and supporters alike.

1st XI v Hawk Green (a) Sat 11th August

Won by 4 wickets
Hawk Green 245-7 (8 pts)
Hayfield 246-6 (18 pts)

There were murmurings in the Marple area of Cheshire that the current Hayfield side lacked the 'bottle' to wrest the DCCL title from Dinting this year. But maybe after seeing an under-strength side recover from the parlous position of 8-3 to chase down Hawk Green's formidable score of 245, they may well be forced to think again.

Julian Burgess won the toss and inserted a strong-looking home side on a track that proved perfect for batting. Home skipper Craig Young and Sam Messih opened the innings and, after a cautious first few deliveries, they took control with a flurry of boundaries that led to Burgess removing Josh Unsworth from the attack after just three overs.

However, the off-spin option of Dave Aldridge proved wholly inadequate as he was pummelled by Messih to force Burgess into a hasty rethink. Meanwhile, Hayfield received a boost when a Gareth Davies full toss to Young was spooned to Jim Adamson at mid-off to provide a fortunate and much-needed breakthrough.

Paul Needham came in at three and continued Green's positive start which saw them race to eighty inside ten overs. Matt Proctor replaced Aldridge from the pavilion end and Unsworth switched ends to take over from Davies. The switch paid off as Messih, just one run from his half century, edged to Burgess who took a stunning catch diving to his right at slip.

Jordan Henderson and Needham continued to play shots but both fell to Proctor who, despite being a little expensive, played a pivotal part in Hayfield's recovery. Needham cut to Shane Furness at point and Henderson played an ugly mis-timed heave to Anthony Ebbrell at mid-off to leave Green on a more palatable 130-4.

However, with plenty of overs in hand, the Blackhurst brothers, Justin and Mark, had time to consolidate before re-accelerating. By the halfway point in the innings, the brothers were still together at 150-4 and a score of 300 still looked a distinct possibility.

After Proctor had bowled his quota of seven overs, Unsworth was then switched back to the pavilion end to accommodate Jim Adamson's off spin. This rather enforced move paid off as Hayfield's left-arm seamer forced Mark Blackhurst to edge to Sam Hudson who took a smart catch standing up to the stumps. Lee Hallas fell in identical fashion as Green struggled to maintain momentum.

Jason Downey then swept Adamson into the safe hands of Unsworth at deep midwicket and Hayfield's revival was almost complete. However, sensible batting from Elliott Young enabled Justin Blackhurst to free his arms towards the end as Green posted 245 from their allotted overs as Hayfield failed to get their fourth bowling point with Green just seven wickets down.

After an indifferent first spell, Unsworth recovered well to peg the home team back with 3-84 from 18 overs. However, special mention must go to Jim Adamson whose 1-36 from seven overs was a key spell late on in the innings, and Matt Proctor's 2-44 gave Hayfield the wickets they needed when Green were going so well early on.

Hayfield's reply, however, got off to the worst possible start. Furness was castled by a beauty from Downey, Davies edged to Needham down the leg side off Hallas and Sam Hudson was run out attempting a second run. 8-3 and a heavy defeat loomed large.

Aldridge joined Burgess at the crease with the home fielders in a confident and chirpy mood. Both batsmen looked to play shots, but when Aldridge drove Hallas for six, the subsequent bouncer perhaps alerted the home bowlers that Hayfield's number five may not have picked up the length too early. Aldridge was subjected to a barrage of short deliveries which he somehow managed to survive whilst Burgess was plundering anything loose at the other end.

Hallas and Downey bowled aggressive spells but failed to make further inroads and were replaced by the more sedate pairing of Hudson and off-spinner Henderson. Henderson bowled a tidy spell but Hudson received some brutal treatment from Burgess who looked in imperious form. The score went past 100 and then 150 with Aldridge happy to play second fiddle to his captain.

Skipper Young replaced Hudson with his son, Elliott, whose first three overs of slow left arm were impressively tidy. However, Burgess then meted severe treatment on the youngster in his next two. Young Senior was then forced to recall Hallas which finally provided the breakthrough with Aldridge edging to Needham behind the stumps for 36.

Burgess continued his assault on the Green bowlers and reached a truly magnificent 100 to put his side in sight of victory. However, in trying to cut a Hallas delivery that was perhaps a little close to him, he edged to the wicketkeeper and Green were again favourites for victory.

In the meantime, George Wood had played himself in and had seen off the threat of Henderson with two towering sixes over long-off and long-on, at which point Downey was recalled with 40 needed off the last six overs. Unsworth heaved at Hallas and was bowled leaving Hayfield's fortunes with Wood and Anthony Ebbrell.

The target became 38 from five overs and 33 off four. However, an expensive over from Downey saw the finish line draw closer. But the real coup de grace was delivered off Hallas' penultimate scheduled over when Wood smote three boundaries to reach a superb and invaluable half-century.

Downey's last over was unfinished as an inside edge from Ebbrell and a scampered leg bye saw Hayfield to an extraordinary victory which tasted even sweeter when the team heard that they had cut the lead at the top of the table to just 8 points following Dinting's defeat to Tintwistle.

Hayfield host Dinting next week in the most pivotal game of the season so far.

1st XI v Newton (h) Sat 4th August

Won by 8 wickets
Newton 66 all out (1 pt)
Hayfield 67-2 (19 pts)

Hayfield’s faint title hopes received a timely boost with an emphatic win over a struggling Newton side that were on the wrong end of a 10-wicket thrashing by Hayfield earlier this season.

With some notable absentees this weekend, Hayfield’s selectors and captains had performed a juggling act to produce a new-look team that included a face from yesteryear in the form of George Yardley, who just happened to be visiting his family at the weekend.

Newton took first knock against the burgeoning new-ball double act of Gareth Davies and Josh Unsworth, but were soon in trouble as both bowlers began to beat the bat regularly. It was therefore no surprise that wickets began to fall, though it was perhaps somewhat unfair that Unsworth that bagged the lion’s share of the dismissals, though his spell of 7-28 was nevertheless quite superb.

The unlucky Davies claimed just a solitary victim, the dangerous Andy Grant falling for just 11 courtesy of a stunning Yardley catch in his 1-21 from seven overs. Whilst he deserved more than this, he would also have been pleased that Unsworth was running through the Newton batting line up at the other end.

Hayfield’s left-armer has had a fantastic season to date and looked at his devastating best as the visitors had no answer to his threat. The villagers’ fielders stayed vigilant to the last and Pete Taylor, promoted for his first 1st XI game of the season, contributed with two catches, one a one-handed leaping effort that would have graced any game of cricket.

Jim Adamson was the only change bowler called upon and showed real character in recovering from the previous week’s mauling to chip in with two wickets in a tidy spell of off-spin.

Hayfield’s reply started poorly with Russ Evans falling to Grant for a duck but Yardley and Davies put on an effortless 54 to take Hayfield towards a quick victory. However, Davies failed to see the innings out leaving Yardley, 37 not out, and Burgess to knock off the last few runs to see their team home. Meanwhile, Dinting lost to Dove Holes offering Hayfield a glimmer of hope in this year’s title race.

Next weekend will be a true test of Hayfield’s resolve as they travel to Hawk Green in the league and then play New Mills in the Bissenden final at Newton on Sunday.

1st XI v Birch Vale (a) Sat 28th July

Abandoned
Birch Vale 211-9 (14 pts)
Hayfield 72-4 (11 pts)

Hayfield continued to lose ground to leaders Dinting as rain once again forced an early conclusion to proceedings. However, for the first time this season, the inclement weather may well have come to their rescue, as Birch had gained the upper hand before a second heavy downpour curtailed matters for good.

Birch skipper Tom McIlvenny may well have rued his decision to bat first on a pitch that looked perhaps too dry after a week of good weather. After nearly succumbing to a pull shot first ball of the innings, he spooned Josh Unsworth’s fourth delivery straight into the hands of Russ Evans at mid-on.

Lloyd Kennedy and Danny Isherwood produced a short spell of watchful batting on a slow surface that was producing some uneven bounce. However, Isherwood was given out LBW to Gareth Davies and Kennedy, having survived a chance to square leg, fell to a smart catch by Anthony Ebbrell, fielding at gully, off the bowling of Unsworth to leave the home side struggling at 18-3.

The day’s best batting came via a fourth-wicket century partnership between Tom Isherwood and Steve Burns. They saw off the new ball menace of Davies and Unsworth and then looked to play positively against the spin duo of Dave Aldridge and Jim Adamson, the latter suffering at the hands of Isherwood and the very short straight boundary.

Davies returned from the Hayfield end to try and break the blossoming partnership, though it was Aldridge who tempted Burns, just a run shy of his fifty, into a drive and was well held by Adamson who took a difficult low catch at mid-off. Davies then accounted for Ash Sharp and then Tom Isherwood for a typically belligerent 67 and the momentum had shifted back to Hayfield.

However, Judd Leyland and Nat Kennedy produced little cameos to take the score past 200, though some sloppy fielding also helped the home side to a larger total than they should have achieved. Unsworth then replaced Davies to take two more late wickets to take his personal tally to four, Davies finished with three wickets and Aldridge collected his second with the last ball of the innings as Davies took a smart chance in the deep to leave Hayfield a victory target of 212.

Hayfield’s reply began well with Sam Hudson and Russ Evans reaching 38 inside six overs with big shots off Danny Isherwood and John Bradshaw. However, after being dropped twice, Evans was clean bowled by Tom Isherwood who had replaced his brother from the Hayfield end. Gareth Davies’ poor batting form continued as he was bowled and stumped off the same Bradshaw delivery in an ill-judged dash at Birch Vale’s wily old spinner.

After a short rain break, Hudson fell to a breathtaking catch from Leyland off Tom Isherwood and Hayfield’s grip on the game was slipping. Julian Burgess looked in good form again, more so than Hayfield number five Dave Aldridge who scratched and prodded his way through a thirty partnership with his captain. Aldridge was adjudged LBW to Bradshaw before the clouds opened and, for the sixth time this season, no result was possible.

Bissenden Cup Semi-Final v Hawk Green (a) Sun July 22nd

Won by 8 wkts
Hawk Green 148 all out
Hayfield 153-2

After running into stormy waters at the same stage last season, the good ship Hayfield cruised into the final of this year’s Bissenden Cup with a surprisingly one-sided victory over a full-strength Hawk Green side.

A couple of hot and dry days had allowed the pitch to dry somewhat, although the boundary at the far end of the ground had to be brought in ten metres to isolate an area that had remained too soggy for safe fielding. However, a large crowd on a scorching day complemented Green’s excellent facilities to provide the setting for an exciting afternoon’s cricket.

Unfortunately, though not for Hayfield, the home side’s batting performance failed to match the high levels of expectation amongst their strong following as perhaps the most dangerous batting line-up in the league capitulated to Josh Unsworth and Dave Higginbottom.

With David Platt away, the new ball was shared between Unsworth and Gareth Davies. Green got off to the best possible start when Justin Blackhurst drove the first ball of the match from Unsworth for four, but Hayfield’s left-armer gained immediate revenge trapping Blackhurst in front of his stumps a few balls later.

Gareth Davies found some life in the pitch to beat Sam Messih’s edge a couple of times but Messih and Jordan Henderson looking in menacing form as they both punched early boundaries to raise the home side’s hopes of a large total.

However, in a superb opening spell, Unsworth put his side in firm control as he found the outside edge of Henderson to give Sam Hudson an easy catch behind the wicket. Two balls later, and somewhat inexplicably, Paul Needham left a straight one and was given out LBW to leave the home side teetering on 18-3.

Sam Messih proved unfazed by the carnage being wreaked around him as he and Mark Blackhurst batted sensibly and positively to move the score along without letting the run rate fall. The pairing added over sixty for the fourth wicket and looked to be laying the foundations for a competitive score. Dave Aldridge had replaced Unsworth from the pavilion end but had bowled every bit as though he’d just completed the 260-mile trip from the south coast that morning.

Dave Higginbottom had bowled well from the scorebox end, but had failed to take a wicket in his first five overs. But that soon changed when Messih, who had just reached an impressively languid half century, tried to launch the off-spinner out of the ground but instead found the safe hands of Unsworth at backward point.

The dangerous Jason Downey strode confidently to the wicket and immediately signalled his intentions by clipping Higginbottom through mid-wicket for four. However, after a series of cautious prods, he drove Jim Adamson, who had replaced the ineffective Aldridge, to Ben Higginbottom who fielded well. Downey called the unlucky Blackhurst for a single who failed to make his ground before Higginbottom teamed up with Hudson to complete the run out. To add insult to injury, seventeen-year-old Downey then skied Higginbottom senior to extra cover where son Ben took a simple catch before Nathan Elly perished first ball trying to sweep, to leave a shell-shocked home side on a disastrous 90-6.

Lee Hallas prompted a revival of sorts with some crisp drives through cover but when he fell during Unsworth’s second spell and Craig Young, surely too low at number nine, ran himself out, there was no way back for the hosts and Unsworth took his personal haul to five wickets as he induced an edge from O’Connor to close the innings on 148.

Hawk Green’s hopes of an unlikely victory were boosted by Downey who cleaned bowled Sam Hudson with Hayfield’s score on just 12. However, Russell Evans is currently in a rich vein of form and his purple patch continued with another savage assault in the home side’s bowlers. He was fortunate to be dropped at square-leg off Downey early on, but he made the Green bowlers pay with an array of boundaries which soon silenced the partisan home crowd. Evans and Gareth Davies moved the score on to 70 inside twelve overs to take their team halfway to victory when Davies unluckily spooned a full toss back to Simon O’Connor.

With only three runs per over required, Evans was joined by Julian Burgess and they quashed any hopes of a Green comeback with a watchful display against the best bowling of the innings from Elliot Young and O’Connor. However, the bad balls were duly dispatched as Hayfield remained firmly in control. Henderson, Messih and then Elly were all introduced to try and snaffle a wicket but the visitors romped home with victory sealed with a clubbing six by Evans off Messih.

Evans, the Beast of the Bissenden, finished with 90 not out, Burgess remained undefeated on 24 and Hayfield had won with 14 of their 40 overs to spare. Despite the impressive batting from the villagers, this was a victory that had its roots in two impressive spells of bowling by Josh Unsworth (5-25) and Dave Higginbottom (3-28) who produced game-changing spells to blunt a dangerous batting line-up.

Hayfield will play New Mills, perhaps surprising victors over Dinting, in the final at Newton CC on August 12th. And despite stiff competition from the Olympic Games Closing Ceremony and the Swing Band concert in Buxton on the same weekend, the cricketers would all appreciate some support for what should be a great occasion. We hope to see you there!

1st XI v Old Glossop (a) Sat 21st July

Won by 8 wickets
Old Glossop 130 all out (3 pts)
Hayfield 132-2 (20 pts)

Hayfield thrashed their Old Glossop hosts to record a twenty-point victory in their pursuit of Dinting at the top of the DCCL table.

There was initially little sign of trouble for the home side as a half-century from Jon Wright took the score past 60 with just the loss of a solitary wicket. However, the introduction of Anthony Ebbrell proved decisive as Hayfield’s new Blond Adonis tore the heart out of the OG middle order to see the innings subside to a paltry 130.

Older and more serene than his predecessor David Platt, though some would say marginally quicker through the air, Ebbrell induced some poor shots from the OGs to finish with four wickets in his first full game for many weeks. Josh Unsworth bowled another key late spell to claim three wickets as enthusiastic and competent fielding backed up the good work from the bowlers.

Russell Evans, perhaps under instruction from Skipper Julian Burgess who had a three-line whip early-evening commitment, tore into the opening attack of Woodcock and Adderley to set his team off to a flying start. However, Woodcock, always a menace, provided some nervous moments as he removed Evans for 28 and then Gareth Davies without scoring.

Enter Burgess who, determined not to keep his family waiting, smashed a rapid half-century to help see his side to victory. In the absence of Shane Furness, Sam Hudson opened the innings with Evans and provided many moments of quality in his 47 not out as he accompanied Burgess to the finish line well before the seven o’clock ‘Chez Burgess’ curfew time.

Hayfield’s next three games are against the sides closest to them in the league and are games which will undoubtedly have a strong bearing on the title race. The next fixture is away at Birch Vale, the only side to so far emerge victorious against Hayfield’s 1st XI this season.

1st XI v Tintwistle (h) Sat 14th July

Won by 7 wickets
Tintwistle 213–6 (6 pts)
Hayfield 216–3 (18 pts)

A sterling batting performance by Hayfield's upper order was sufficient to compensate for a sloppy bowling effort that had threatened to derail their pursuit of league leaders Dinting.

Having bravely elected to bat on a damp surface, Tintwistle's opening batsmen Rick Harris and Martin Knight made a positive start with a flurry of boundaries off the new-ball pairing of David Platt and Josh Unsworth. However, Unsworth produced a superb away cutter to find Knight's edge and Julian Burgess made no mistakes with a smart catch at first slip.

Visiting captain 'Buzzer' Robinson came to the crease and survived a close LBW call early on. Thereafter, though, he and Harris looked in little trouble as they eased to a fifty partnership at over four runs per over. Boundaries seemed to be in plentiful supply as Hayfield's bowlers failed to appreciate the full value of pitching the ball up, frequently waiting for lengthy periods to bowl their next delivery whilst their team mates crossed the river to retrieve balls old and new from the adjacent gardens.

Gareth Davies and Matt Proctor assumed the bowling duties and, to begin with, the diet of long hops. However, Proctor found his rhythm to put in a game-changing performance as he removed Harris for 57 and Robinson for 28 to put a completely different perspective on the game.

K Davies and 'Nipper' Harris sought to play positively and seemed to be getting on top of the bowling when Harris fell LBW to Dave Aldridge who had replaced the out-of-sorts Gareth Davies from the playground end. Julian Burgess then produced a stunning one-handed catch to account for K Davies for 22.

Davies returned with a vastly improved second spell and had success with the wicket of Luke Gray as the visitors subsided to 213–6 when 250-plus seemed a distinct possibility, this despite 29 not out from P Higginbottom. Proctor finished with a creditable 2–30 and Aldridge claimed 2–49 from his 12 overs.

Hayfield's reply got off to the best possible start with Russell Evans finding his majestic best form from the outset. Tint's bowlers had no answer to his aggression as they leaked forty runs in the first four overs. Having established an early platform for victory, the boundary blitz subsided somewhat as Evans and Shane Furness dug deep to take the game away from the helpless visitors.

Evans dominated an opening stand of 139, scoring 91 before he fell to a long hop from Acomb, who had sufficiently recovered from his earlier pummelling to gain a semblance of revenge thanks to a fine catch from 'Nipper' Harris. However, Shane Furness kept things going with a well-paced 60 before he fell to Robinson with his only poor shot of his innings.

With just 25 runs required Sam Hudson perished to a needless run out before victory was completed by the bullish Julian Burgess who smashed a quickfire 23 to see his side home. Gareth Davies finished on a more patient 19 not out as Hayfield completed their first full game for three weeks. However, Dinting thrashed New Mills in securing 20 points and so more ground has been lost in the title race.

Bissenden Cup: 1st XI v Charlesworth (h) Sun 8th July

Won by 4 wickets
Charlesworth & Chisworth 114 all out
Hayfield 117-6

Hayfield stumbled into the Bissenden Cup semi-finals with an unconvincing performance against 2nd-division side Charlesworth & Chisworth who, after a lengthy rain break, came close to producing a shock to delight their army of travelling supporters.

Julian Burgess inserted their lower-league opponents on a surprisingly firm track given the inclement weather. Dave Platt and Josh Unsworth once again shared the new ball as they looked to make early inroads into their opponents’ batting line-up. Unsworth produced a steady early spell but Platt found rhythm hard to come by in a stuttering performance that gave the visitors a platform to build their innings.

However, with the Charlesworth batsmen seemingly in little trouble, a brilliant piece of fielding from Ben Higginbottom injected some vitality into the so far lethargic performance from Hayfield, who were perhaps taking their opponents a little too lightly.

Dave Higginbottom replaced Unsworth and found almost immediate success from the Royal end with a loopy straight delivery in his second over. In only his third bowl of the season, Hayfield’s first-choice spinner exhibited superb control in an 8-over spell that yielded two wickets but leaked a mere 13 runs. Meanwhile, at the other end, Dave Aldridge was almost as miserly in conceding just 15 runs from his 8 overs, but with just a single wicket to his name.

Gareth Davies and Unsworth took on the bowling duties at the latter end of the innings and, bar a last-wicket run out, shared the remainder of the wickets as Charlesworth slumped to just 114 to leave Hayfield a seemingly simple task in their pursuit of victory.

However, it soon transpired that Charlesworth’s bowlers and fielders were in no mood to take defeat lying down as their opening bowlers tore into Hayfield’s upper order to leave the home side on 30-3. Burgess and Aldridge put on fifty for the fourth wicket either side of a lengthy rain break, but poor shot selection from the middle order saw Hayfield reduced to 89-6 with only Burgess with 35 passing twenty runs.

However, a sensible and ultimately decisive undefeated stand between George Wood and Unsworth saw Hayfield safely home and through to the last four, where they will have to play better cricket to progress to the final.

1st XI v Dove Holes (a) Sat 7th July

Match drawn
Dove Holes 168 all out (14 pts)
Hayfield 128-8 (14 pts)

Sadly, following Hayfield’s impressive victory over Dinting that saw them sit proudly at the summit of the DCCL 1st Division, Hayfield have only completed one game since. During this time, Dinting have completed three more games to pull way ahead of the rest of the league in their bid to retain the title.

With many games not even starting, the fact that play was possible was an apparent boost to Hayfield, who were looking to claw some ground back on the leaders. However, they knew that a tough task awaited them at newly promoted Dove Holes, whose players had made a fantastic effort in preparing the ground in time for the scheduled start at 1.30pm.

Julian Burgess won the toss and unsurprisingly inserted his hosts on a soft green track. However, the anticipated early breakthrough never came as Dove’s openers found the going relatively easy against the new-ball pairing of Josh Unsworth and David Platt in putting on over forty runs for the first wicket.

Julian Burgess turned to Dave Aldridge, who bowled three maidens before taking the first wicket with Burgess holding onto a smart catch at slip. Thereafter, the luck swung towards Hayfield as a succession of long hops accounted for wickets with Aldridge and Gareth Davies the recipients of good fortune from some poor shots and excellent catching.

Some late acceleration looked as though it might get Dove to a higher score but Josh Unsworth returned with a decent spell at the end to collect two wickets. He was matched by Davies who also collected two whilst the best figures, though not necessarily the best bowling, belonged to Aldridge with 5-55 from 15 overs.

As the players left the field for tea, a large black cloud was looming large. The ensuing rain left the game’s conclusion in doubt as the home players tried valiantly to mop up the surface water to force a resumption of play. However, their efforts were met with understandable scepticism by the umpires who were not happy about restarting quite so soon.

Eventually, and perhaps farcically (although we all understand and play by the rules), Hayfield were left just 23 overs to chase down the runs. Julian Burgess, Sam Hudson and Gareth Davies made a valiant attempt to do so with the best batting of the day and, at 97-2, Hayfield were in with a chance. But a flurry of wickets saw the hosts scent an unlikely victory and Hayfield were forced to play out the draw. Meanwhile, in a 25-overs-per-side game, Dinting won again to extend their lead to 24 points.

1st XI v Hazel Grove (h) Sat 23rd June

Won by 4 wickets
Hazel Grove 220-6 (7 pts)
Hayfield 223-6 (18 pts)

Hayfield's last league game saw them beat 2012 champions Dinting to climb to the summit of the DCCL first division. However, the appalling June weather put paid to consecutive games against Broadbottom and New Mills, during which time Dinting were able to sneak in a quick win against Newton to regain the lead in the title race.

It was therefore imperative that Hayfield not only were able to get in a game against struggling Hazel Grove, but also that they could shrug off the lethargy brought on by a fortnight of inactivity to put in a decent performance to keep in touch with the leaders.

Grove took first knock on a pitch that was in a reasonable state considering the wet weather. With David Platt absent, Josh Unsworth shared the new ball with Matt Proctor who was fresh from his impressive debut spell against Tintwistle. Unsworth set Hayfield on their merry way with the early wicket of Ryan Hayward, smartly caught behind by Sam Hudson. But with the score at just 5-1, a rain shower halted proceedings for 45 minutes which meant that Hayfield would have a maximum of 41 overs to reach whatever target was set by their visitors.

On the resumption of play, it looked as though that target would struggle to surpass three figures as Unsworth accounted for Geoff Noden, superbly caught by Russell Evans at mid-on from a skied drive, and Nick Hayward who edged to Hudson again to leave Grove on a perilous 31-3.

With Noden and Hayward back in the pavilion, Hayfield may have been forgiven for thinking that the hard work had been done. However, Grove veteran Andy Oldfield had other ideas. Having carved Unsworth for six off his first delivery, he proceeded to launch into the weakened home attack with relish.

Proctor had finished his tidy opening spell of seven overs to make way for Dave Aldridge. Unfortunately, Aldridge was having one of his off days with the ball and wasn't able to provide the back-up to support the opening bowlers. Unsworth gave way to Anthony Ebbrell, and latterly Jason Ward, but with little success as the runs continued to flow.

Oldfield found staunch support from his skipper Rick Burke in a stand of 145, which laid the platform for a late assault and a potentially imposing total. Julian Burgess had little alternative to resort to his opening bowlers for the last 14 overs of the innings. Fortunately, both were up to the task as they plugged the runs and took valuable late wickets to keep the visitors' score to manageable proportions. Oldfield fell for an excellent and entertaining 95, deceived in the end by an Unsworth slower ball, and Proctor accounted for Gibbs to take a deserved wicket at the end. Unsworth still had time for one more wicket, his fifth, to grab a third bowling point for his side as the Grove innings closed on 220-6 with Burke undefeated on an excellent 73.

With a stiff task ahead of them, Russell Evans and Shane Furness needed to start positively against the new ball attack of Andy Rogers and former Hayfielder Tom Jarvis. Both batsmen looked in terrific form, but it was once again Evans who provided the extra spark to flay the bowling in a majestic half-century in which batting was made to look incredibly easy and bowling nigh-on impossible. However, Jarvis achieved some sort of atonement with Evans' wicket, caught well by Burke running back at point to snaffle a leading edge with the score at 74.

Sam Hudson came in at number three and very nearly departed early by cutting to Nick Hayward at cover off the unlucky Jarvis. However, the chance went begging and, crucially to the game's outcome, Furness and Hudson put on over fifty before Furness edged to the keeper off the bowling of A Hayward for 38.

Julian Burgess made a sprightly start to his innings with a flurry of boundaries as Hayfield seemed to be cruising to victory. However, Burke had an ace up his sleeve with the (very) slow bowling of L Bennett who immediately forced Burgess into a loose stroke to hole out at cover.

The loss of Hayfield's captain prompted a serious case of the batting jitters as Hudson holed out for 46 before George Wood fell stumped to Bennett, whose tantalising floaters were causing all sorts of embarrassment to the bemused home batsmen.

Tom Hudson looked in decent touch before holing out to backward point as Hayfield stumbled to 190-6 with Unsworth joining Dave Aldridge at the crease. Fortunately, the fireworks at the start of the Hayfield innings had allowed for a late innings hiccup and Aldridge, having initially been all at sea against Bennett, finally freed his arms with a flurry of boundaries to end with 36 not out to see his side home and 18 more points to keep in touch with Dinting at the top of the table.

Bissenden Cup: 1st XI v Tintwistle (h) Sun 10th June

Won by 7 wkts
Tintwistle 171-9
Hayfield 172-3

Tintwistle are probably too good a side to be considered a 'bogey' team, but they have certainly had the upper hand in recent seasons against Hayfield. However, in recent seasons, Hayfield have also been without Russell Evans who returned to his destructive best to demonstrate just why he is considered to be one of the finest batsmen in the DCCL First Division. In compiling a superb 100 not out, Evans made mincemeat of the visiting bowling as he set his side, who were missing several first-team regulars, on the road to cup glory.

Tintwistle took first knock on a firm pitch which, considering the deluge of the previous few days, was in fantastic condition. However, their hopes of an imposing total were dented with the early dismissal of key batsman Rick Harris who fell to Gareth Davies, bowled for a duck.

This set the tone for the innings as Hayfield's spirit and enthusiasm prevailed over an experienced batting line-up. After tidy opening spells, Josh Unsworth and Davies were replaced by Matt Proctor and Jason Ward, both of whose entire bowling stints this season have been in the 2nd XI. However, neither was overawed as they conceded just 67 runs in 16 overs, with four crucial wickets between them. Their efforts were supported by excellent fielding and catching, including a brilliant effort from George Wood at square leg to dismiss the dangerous Damien Weatherhead.

Julian Burgess chipped in with some left arm slow bowling that accounted for two unsuspecting victims and Unsworth and Davies returned to bag a wicket apiece as the visitors stumbled to 171-9 from their allotted forty overs. Ward was the most successful bowler with 3-37 from eight overs, but Proctor received many plaudits for his admirable control and confidence in his spell of 8-1-30-1.

Hayfield's run chase got off to an electric start as Evans pummelled League X1 opening bowler Poole for a flurry of boundaries in his first over. Despite losing Tom Hudson fairly early on, Evans' rampage continued as he dominated stands of 31 with Davies and 53 with skipper Burgess.

And if there were any home jitters at 117-3, they were quickly laid to rest as Ben Higginbottom enjoyed a fine cameo in his unbeaten partnership with Evans as Hayfield romped home with nearly ten overs to spare. Higginbottom finished unbeaten on 29 but Evans still had enough time to complete a thoroughly deserved century as Hayfield exacted sweet revenge on their opponents who had defeated them in the 2011 competition at the semi-final stage.

Hawke Trophy: 2nd XI v Old Glossop (a) Sun 10th June

Won by 2 wickets
Old Glossop 157 all out
Hayfield 158-8

Hayfield enjoyed a smashing day at Old Glossop after a wet and miserable week, when the skies managed to stay clear for the majority of the day.

Hayfield lost the toss and were sent in to bowl first. The Seconds were hungry to get their first cup win of the season under their belt, and the bowling attack fired early with every bowler on the pitch playing their part. Andy Cox took 2 wickets in the first 3 overs. Junior player Jack Robinson opened from the opposite end bowling some excellent deliveries that would have troubled any league openers, also gathering his first 2 senior wickets of the season. Senior player James Adamson proved yet again to be a key figure in Hayfield's bowling attack, adding another 2 wickets to his tally. James Redfern also managed to get in on the action, also grabbing himself 2 wickets. Ben Adamson, returning to second-team action, took a crucial wicket, luring settled Old Glossop batter S. James (51) into giving up his wicket and leaving Hayfield a chance to finish off the Old Glossop batting line-up. Matt Greenwood also got himself into the scorebook with 1 wicket, and showed even more promise from the Hayfield junior teams. Pick of the fielders for Hayfield, taking some fantastic catches, was Andy Robinson, proving Captain Steve Farmer's decision right to give Robinson the nod, a gesture Robinson repaid in kind that day. Old Glossop finished the innings 157 for the loss of 10 wickets.

Hayfield bowling figures

A.Cox 2 for 4 off 6 overs
J.Robinson 2 for 38 off 7 overs
J.Adamson 2 for 38 off 8 overs
M.Greenwood 1 for 26 off 4 overs
J.Redfern 2 for 40 off 5 overs
B.Adamson 1 for 3 off 2 overs

After teas Hayfield took to the crease needing 158 to win the game. This proved to be harder to do than first thought; however Captain Steve Farmer showed he can also lead by example building a fantastic innings of 57, giving Hayfield a good grasp of the game. Hayfield continued to pick out the bad balls, putting them away in cracking style and soon chased down the total as the clouds gathered overhead. With the rain looming, James Adamson pulled out a superb cover drive for 4 to see Hayfield home and dry for the loss of 8 wickets.

2nd XI v Dinting (h) Sat 2nd June

No result
Hayfield 182-9 (15 points)
Dinting 201-8 (16 points)

Saturday 2nd June saw Hayfield 2nd XI entertain a Dinting side struggling for form this season. Hayfield bowled first on a wet and overcast day, keeping the travelling team to 201 for the loss of 8 wickets by the end of their innings. This was only possible due to the key figure of (second team player) James Adamson with figures of 5 wickets for 66 off 15 overs. As the day went on the rain continued to fall, causing more and more trouble for both teams. Hayfield came out to bat after tea knowing it was going to be tough, but proceeded to get 180 by the end of the innings. This was thanks to a superb contribution from veteran player Paul Coverley after picking up a few hints and tips from his son Joel's innings versus Newton earlier in the season. However, the game ended in a draw due to both teams having to come off for rain during Hayfield's batting innings. This in turn meant the umpires had to reduce the overs in order for the game to continue. Hayfield travel to Mottram next week hoping to keep applying pressure on teams around them in the league.

1st XI v Dinting (a) Sat 2nd June

Won by 2 wickets
Dinting 185 all out (8 points)
Hayfield 187-8 (20 points)

Hayfield travelled to 2011 reigning DCCL champions and current league leaders Dinting on a cloudy and grey June afternoon. And on a weekend of royal pageantry, it was the eleven men of Hayfield who returned home as jubilant kings following a tense victory which sees them lead the table for the first time in nearly three years.

Adam Wilson won the toss for Dinting and elected to bat first on a good pitch. Danny Brightmore and Greg Hardwick strode to the wicket in purposeful mood to face the new ball. However, in the first over, David Platt found Hardwick's outside edge and Dinting were 2-1, Gareth Davies making a difficult chance look ridiculously easy at first slip.

Thereafter though, Platt found the going tough as he struggled in his approach to the wicket. At the other end, Josh Unsworth bowled a better line but Brightmore was in an unforgiving mood as he took advantage of anything loose to move his side past the fifty mark without further cause for concern. Sam Elliott, batting at three, was perhaps less convincing having survived a confident early LBW appeal, but still managed to find the boundary on more than one occasion.

One of the game's turning points was the wicket of Brightmore who, until his demise, had looked in imperious form. Gareth Davies had replaced Platt from the pavilion end, but had also struggled to find consistency after an injury which had prevented him bowling for two weeks. But Unsworth forced Dinting's disbelieving opener into a mis-timed chip to mid-wicket which prolonged Davies' spell, in hindsight not one of skipper Julian Burgess' worst decisions. This stay of execution gave Davies the time to find some rhythm and with it the wicket of Aidan Woolleson, smartly caught behind by Sam Hudson who was standing up to the wicket. Unsworth accounted for Elliott, caught by George Wood at point for 44, to leave the home side on 85-4.

Burgess chose to replace Davies with off-spinner Dave Aldridge, a brave decision in the context of the game, not least as Wilson, batting at five, was looking in ominous touch with some crisp drives. It was therefore somewhat of a surprise to everyone, not least the batsman, that he chose to drive in the air to the safe hands if Davies at long-off.

From that point on, Dinting struggled to accelerate. They found it particularly difficult to score off Aldridge who also accounted for Jared Massey in a tidy spell of 2-17 off eleven overs. Meanwhile, Unsworth was showing his durability and, despite conceding the occasional boundary, bowled superbly to make sure that the dangerous Dinting lower order didn't post a much bigger score as the home side finished on 185 all out.

The innings finished in the penultimate over when Unsworth fielded off his own bowling to run out Brian Thompson. The Hayfield left armer had bowled throughout the innings to finish with 5-97 from 22 overs including the key late wickets of John Coleman and Gaz Gerrard who have a well-earned reputation for smashing quick late-innings runs. But Unsworth would also be the first to acknowledge a fine fielding performance from his colleagues who, once again, did not allow their heads to drop when Brightmore and Elliott were setting a high tempo to the Dinting innings.

Hayfield's reply started brightly with Russell Evans and Shane Furness scoring freely in the first four overs off the challenging attack of John Coleman and Ped Seville. But Coleman fired in a full and straight delivery to trap Evans in front of his stumps and the dismissal set the tone for the first 25 overs with some decent strokeplay being met head-on by bowling and fielding of the highest calibre.

Furness and Davies took the score past forty when Davies was trapped LBW off Hardwick who had replaced Coleman at the bottom end. At this point the umpires had been on the verge of bringing the players off the field due to persistent drizzle, but the rain eased to allow the game to continue.

Like his colleagues before him, Sam Hudson looked relatively at ease against the Dinting attack only to be scuppered by an unplayable delivery from Seville whose opening spell from the pavilion end was perhaps the best bowling of the day. Julian Burgess came to the wicket and played positively from the outset. However, Furness drove off-spinner Brightmore to cover on 29 and the same bowler accounted for Burgess for 37, both batsmen getting out when they had laid the foundations for more runs.

Ben Higginbottom and Dave Aldridge came together with the score on 103-5. 83 runs were required from sixteen overs and whilst the need to consolidate was foremost in their thoughts, both batsmen knew that they couldn't afford to be tied down. Fortunately Aldridge received a couple of loose deliveries early on and, with his confidence high, proceeded to hit six fours in two overs from Brightmore and Thompson.

Higginbottom's more sedate, but by no means insignificant, contribution came to an end when Gaz Gerrard took a smart stumping off Brightmore. Wilson had been forced to recall John Coleman in the search for wickets which paid immediate dividends with the wicket of George Wood. Unsworth joined Aldridge with the score on 151-7 but the pair added 30 crucial runs to take their side to the brink of victory. Aldridge reached his fifty with a swept six off Brightmore before he fell late on to Ped Seville for 54.

But Unsworth and Anthony Ebbrell saw their team home with the former capping a fine all-round performance with a drive through point off Coleman. This was a fabulous win against a high-quality team, quality which was as much in evidence after the game in the manner in which they took their defeat and in which they were only too happy to acknowledge Hayfield's hard-earned victory.

Hayfield entertain Broadbottom next weekend knowing that they mustn't let the standards of recent weeks slip. As Julian Burgess posted after the game: "Well played boys, but this is only the beginning. The hard work is still to come." Hear, hear skipper, couldn't agree with you more.

1st XI v Hawk Green (h) Sat 26th May

Won by 4 runs
Hayfield 226-8 (19 pts)
Hawk Green 222-8 (9 pts)

If at the end of the season Hayfield fulfil their ambitions of league success, then they may well look back on this game as a turning point in their season when their resolve, grit and character prevailed over a Hawk Green side who will wonder just how they managed to lose a game from such a seemingly unassailable position.

Julian Burgess won yet another toss and chose to bat first on a scorching early summer's day. Russell Evans and Shane Furness made another positive start against the new ball pairing of Hudson and Downey, rattling up 31 runs inside five overs. However, Hudson won an LBW decision against Evans and when Furness mis-timed a drive off the same bowler with the score on 52, the visitors were well and truly in the ascendancy.

Matters nearly deteriorated further for the home side but Burgess survived a strong run out appeal from a direct hit to the bowler's end. Meanwhile, Elliott Young had replaced Downey at the playground end and the slow left armer showed good control in a tidy seven-over spell in which he was unlucky not to take a wicket.

Young gave way to S O'Connor who produced the best bowling of the innings. He immediately accounted for Davies who was adjudged caught behind for 19 and then he produced a superb away cutter to find Burgess' outside edge soon after completing a battling half-century. He then bowled Ben Higginbottom with a low full toss and, when Hudson bowled George Wood, Hayfield were teetering on a precarious 127-6 with still nineteen overs remaining.

Meanwhile, Dave Aldridge was struggling to put bat to ball but was holding out against the accuracy of the experienced Green bowling. With the innings becalmed, Hayfield's number six broke the shackles with two streaky boundaries off O'Connor who was then surprisingly removed from the attack after a superb spell of 3-18 from eight overs.

With the pressure lifted somewhat, Aldridge started to find some fluency and received excellent support from Josh Unsworth in a stand of 42 for the seventh wicket. Unsworth fell to Hudson and with five overs remaining Hayfield had recovered to 175-7. Green's attack was beginning to tire and Aldridge plundered 17 runs off what was to be Hudson's last over, the 41st of the innings. Green skipper Craig Young entrusted the last four overs to Sam Messih and B Elly but his plan backfired as Hayfield's late order hoisted the score to a competitive 226-8, Aldridge finishing with a valuable, if not graceful, 64 not out.

Hayfield's attempts to restrict a belligerent Green batting line-up got off to a successful start when Platt found Elly's outside edge, Ben Higginbottom taking a regulation catch behind the stumps. Platt was working up a head of steam and Josh Unsworth was bowling tightly from the Royal end to fully test Craig Young and Sam Messih in what was ten overs of intriguing and high-quality cricket. Messih survived a strong appeal for a catch behind before he had scored and Craig Young drilled a drive through Unsworth's hands on the cover point boundary, Platt the unlucky bowler on each occasion. Despite playing and missing on more than one occasion, both batsmen provided high entertainment for the travelling supporters - Young with his slashing drives and Messih with his languid front-foot strokeplay.

However, Unsworth gave his side a fillip with the wicket of Young for a brisk 43, Evans taking a smart catch at midwicket at the second attempt. With Green on 63-2, Hayfield were optimistic of taking more wickets, but they hadn't counted on being on the wrong end of the day's best batting.

Messih had managed to gain the upper hand in his duel with Platt and Unsworth and Burgess had turned to Dave Higginbottom and, latterly, Dave Aldridge to try and eke out a wicket. Justin Blackhurst had joined Messih at the crease but neither batsmen were in any mood to be tied down in a positive display of batting. Hayfield's slow bowlers gained precious little success in their combined fifteen overs which saw 92 runs conceded as Green took control of the game.

Burgess had little choice but to return to Platt and Unsworth for inspiration, with the visitors requiring just 41 runs from the last ten overs. Many of the home spectators had seen enough and had ebbed away in anticipation of successive home defeats. But Platt and Unsworth had different ideas. Platt induced one big shot too many from Messih who edged to Higginbottom for a magnificent 93. Downey played the best and worst shots of the match in successive balls as he also fell to Hayfield's very own blond 'Messiah' to leave Green on a slightly less comfortable 200-4.

Needham then entered the fray. Whilst no rabbit with the bat, Green's number six seemed lost in the dazzle of headlights, or at the least the glare of a setting sun, as he failed to trouble the scorers in using up eight deliveries before offering a smart return catch to Unsworth. Platt then bowled Mark Blackhurst to send the remaining home supporters delirious with excitement. But the game was far from won, with Justin Blackhurst still at the wicket, three overs remaining and 19 runs to win.

A smash for four swung the momentum back to the away side. But Blackhurst, having made an impressive 56, then holed out in the deep to Gareth Davies off the bowling of Unsworth in the penultimate over to leave the match in the balance; one over to go, two wickets remaining, eight runs to win.

Platt was entrusted with the final over but his pace was too much for O'Connor in his first two balls. A wide and two singles whittled the equation down to five runs from two balls. O'Connor then miscued a catch to Dave Aldridge at cover to leave Andy Littler on strike with four runs to tie the game off the final delivery. But Platt's quality proved too much and, with a dot-ball to end proceedings, Hayfield had secured a never-say-die triumph which sees them consolidate second place in the league before their table-topping clash with Dinting next weekend. However, the final word must go to bowlers Dave Platt and Josh Unsworth who maintained exemplary control and discipline in a high-pressure situation and their respective figures of 5-71 and 3-50 don't quite do justice to their superb bowling in the game's final stages.

2nd XI v Newton (h) Sat 19th May

Won by 79 runs
Hayfield 217–9 (20 pts)
Newton 138 all out (6 pts)

Hayfield 2nds played host to second-placed Newton in a game that could have gone either way!

Hayfield lost the toss and where elected to bat first on a slightly damp track. However this did not discourage the home side from putting on a respectable 217 for the loss of 9 wickets. This was largely due to two superb innings from James Redfern (61) and junior player Joel Coverley (58 not out).

As the day went on the track dried out, which the bowlers used their advantage, only going for 36 runs in the first 18 overs. After keeping the run rate down, the openers failed to capitalise by taking any wickets. Captain Steve Farmer had to make a change and did: a move that proved to be pivotal to Hayfield's success that day. Into the attack came James Adamson and James Redfern, adding a little bit of magic and flair that Hayfield so truly deserved. James Adamson took 6 for 43 off 12 overs and James Redfern 4 for 42 off 10, finishing it off in style for Hayfield, and maintaining their status as league leaders.

1st XI v Newton (a) Sat 19th May

Won by 10 wickets
Newton 124 all out (1 pt)
Hayfield 125–0 (20 pts)

At long last, it felt like the cricket season had arrived. With the players' thoughts no longer distracted by football and who would clinch that all-important third place in the Premier League, Hayfield produced a ruthless display in thrashing their hosts Newton to move up to second place in the embryonic DCCL first division table.

Julian Burgess won his third straight toss and, given the greenness of the wicket, unsurprisingly asked his side's opponents to bat first. With David Platt unavailable, the new ball was shared by Josh Unsworth and Gareth Davies who would have been relishing bowling on such a seemingly sporting track. However, a combination of determined batting by the Newton openers, Allcock and Hammond, and some slightly indifferent bowling in a stiff breeze helped the home side to cruise to 60 without loss inside twenty overs with the wicket playing much better than anticipated.

Skipper Burgess had turned to slow bowlers Dave Higginbottom and Dave Aldridge who, whilst not initially achieving the desired breakthrough, had at least put a brake on the scoring. However, it was the former, playing his first game in two seasons, who finally broke his side's duck with a flighty delivery to bowl Allcock. Despite this belated Hayfield success, Newton were still well placed to post a sizeable score. But they hadn't reckoned on running into the irresistible Higginbottom who rolled back the years to decimate the rest of the Newton batting line up. Hammond chipped to Evans at mid-wicket and Mark Barnard and Johnson both perished in successive deliveries, and in identical fashion, by holing out to Davies at long on and Newton had stumbled to 71-4, Higginbottom the bowler on each occasion.

In the middle of the innings, the game took a bizarre and bloody twist when Aldridge spilled a difficult caught and bowled chance. The ball rolled to Higginbottom at extra cover who attempted to run out Mercer scampering through for a quick single. Unfortunately his throwing was not quite as accurate as his bowling and succeeding only in striking his prone colleague on the crown of his head to bring play to an unscheduled stop for five minutes. For those of you volunteering to run shooting stalls or a coconut shy at this year's Hayfield Jubilee celebrations, then you have been warned. If Higg gives you a pound then stand well back and make sure you have insurance….

With Aldridge off the field, Davies took over his bowling commitments in an entertaining three-ball spell which included beamers, the wicket of Mercer and then an injury to his side which paved the way for Unsworth to return to the attack. With Burgess running out of bowling options, Hayfield's left arm seamer produced exactly what was required with a tight spell that enabled Higginbottom to run through the rest of the Newton batting at the other end.

Hayfield's fielding was generally first class with debutant Kieran Sharp showing safe hands in taking two smart catches, including one to give Unsworth a deserved late wicket. Ben Higginbottom was putting in a no-fuss performance in his part-time role as wicketkeeper, but it was Dad, Dave, who remained centre stage in wrapping up the innings to achieve outstanding figures of 8-51.

Newton's total of 124 was by no means a foregone conclusion at teatime. But it took just six overs of an in-form Russell Evans to effectively end the game as a contest as he tore into the Newton bowling with a brutal lesson in how to put away the bad ball. Anything short was cut or pulled for four and anything over-pitched was planted into the nearby fields and houses. Meanwhile, his opening partner, Shane Furness, was again looking rock-solid with another patient innings which was the perfect foil for the pyrotechnics at the other end.

With all their seam-bowling options exhausted, Newton turned to the leg-spin of Mercer to try and winkle out a wicket or two. However, despite a promising spell from the Newton youngster, Hayfield cantered to victory with exactly half of their allotted overs remaining. Evans finished unbeaten on an exhilarating 85 and Furness undefeated on a stoic 30 to help their side to a ten-wicket win and a maximum 20 points.

Stiffer challenges lie ahead in the next two weeks with the visit of Hawk Green on Saturday and a trip to champions Dinting the week after. But with the side playing this well and in such good spirits there is no reason why Hayfield cannot win both games.

1st XI v Birch Vale (h) Sat 12th May

Lost by 9 runs
Birch Vale 223-9 (19 pts)
Hayfield 214-8 (9pts)

Hayfield's promising start to the season received a setback at the hands of local rivals Birch Vale in an enthralling game of cricket in which fluctuating fortunes kept a large and thirsty crowd captivated until the very end.

Julian Burgess again won the toss and again inserted the opposition on a soft track. Dave Platt and Josh Unsworth took the new ball and Platt gained success in the very first over when Birch opener Judd Leyland skied a pull shot to Shane Furness at gully. Mike Walsh and his captain Tom McIlvenny sought to rebuild the innings with a watchful partnership of 36 in twelve overs. However, Platt found Walsh's edge and then trapped the classy McIlvenny in front of his stumps to put Hayfield firmly in the ascendancy.

Hayfield knew that only Rick Johnson stood between them and an early tea but, having survived a first-ball LBW scare, Birch's talisman was not in the mood to surrender his wicket easily. Steve Burns provided a perfect foil in a more aggressive role as the duet of over-forties showed their younger colleagues how to go about building a partnership. Their cause was helped by a freak injury to the rampant Platt who split the skin between his thumb and forefinger in fielding the ball off his own bowling.

With a case of badly damaged webbing then surely there was no-one more suitable to call upon than Dave 'Spider' Aldridge. Unfortunately, Burns saw differently and quickly shooed away Hayfield's slow bowler with a flurry of no-nonsense boundaries.

Burgess' bowling options were few and so he was forced to recall Unsworth and to give Jason Ward his first bowl of the season. Ward did a decent job in his five overs, but Unsworth provided his side with a real boost with a spirited spell that was rewarded with the wicket of Burns for an aggressive 45. Davies was then reintroduced to the attack and bowled Freeman for a hard-hitting 24.

Meanwhile, Johnson had reached his half-century and had started to accelerate the scoring with some fierce drives. However, a miscued drive to deep long-off, where Anthony Porter took a well-judged steepler in the breeze, put an end to his fine innings of 60. Next ball, Aldridge, who had had a miserable day in the field thus far, found some redemption with a one-handed catch at mid-off to dismiss Ash Sharpe off the bowling of Unsworth. Birch's innings was falling away. Unsworth had taken three wickets in his second spell and this was matched by Davies who took two late wickets to leave Birch teetering on 202-9.

However, perhaps the most significant over of the Birch innings was the last, bowled by Davies. Birch's number eleven, Dan Bradshaw, survived a dropped chance off the first ball. The fifth ball of the over was a beamer, which not only was hit for six, but also resulted in Davies being removed from the attack as it was his third such transgression. The next ball was also a no-ball, which was hit for four and, in total, nineteen runs came off the last over which was later to prove significant in the game's outcome.

Hayfield's reply started with some positive hitting by Russ Evans who again looked in decent touch. However, Phil Trueman found his outside edge to undermine Hayfield's positive start. Then Davies joined Shane Furness at the wicket and the pairing put together the biggest partnership of the game. Despite Trueman and the evergreen Johnson providing a challenge with some accurate bowling, Hayfield's batsmen at this stage looked in little trouble after an early LBW shout against Furness. Davies played shots all round the wicket in an effortless display to take Hayfield to 115 without any further loss, or indeed cause for concern as Birch Vale's spinners were smashed to all parts.

However, Jack Linskey's little 'dibbly-dobbly' seamers were proving hard to get away on a low bouncing track. Having reached a superb fifty, Davies pushed at a drive a little too hard and Freeman took a fine catch at backward point which brought Burgess to the wicket. Positive batting between Hayfield's captain and Furness took the score to 153 at which point Burgess mis-timed a drive off Linskey to mid-off.

With the home side's confidence draining, Birch sensed that they were finding a way back into the game and Johnson was reintroduced from the playground end to add to the pressure on the batsmen who at this stage needed sixty runs off nine overs. Ben Higginbottom played a crisp drive before being trapped LBW, Furness fell the same way to Linskey and Aldridge was bowled by Johnson with three overs left.

With 23 runs needed off two overs, Unsworth remained Hayfield's last hope and he gave the home supporters hope with a boundary off the first ball off Linskey's last over. However, a long hop that kept low proved the decisive factor as Unsworth only managed to scoop it straight into the hands of deep mid-wicket. Johnson bowled out the last over and Birch were deservedly victorious after managing to keep their discipline and spirit in the last overs of the game.

1st XI v Old Glossop (h) Saturday, May 5th 2012

Won by 6 wkts
Old Glossop 114 a/o
Hayfield 118-4

With the early-season April weather disrupting the first fortnight of the new season, the 2012 DCCL season eventually spluttered into life on a cool grey Peak District day. However, it was visitors Old Glossop who struggled to find any impetus as Hayfield made an encouraging, if at times scrappy, start to their campaign to record an important victory in their opening fixture.

Prodigal son Julian Burgess won the toss and invited the OG skipper, Matt Woodcock, to bat first on a firm but slow wicket. Openers Nicholson and Wright made a comfortable start against the Hayfield attack of Dave Platt and Josh Unsworth as they cruised to an opening stand of forty in twelve overs. With a powerful batting line up to come, Old Glossop were looking well set for a large total as Hayfield struggled for a breakthrough. However, Unsworth had other ideas and he produced an unplayable delivery at just the right moment to bowl Nicholson who had, until then, looked in ominous form.

Nicholson's wicket proved just the boost that Hayfield's bowlers needed and they then began to dominate proceedings. George Wood threw to the right end to effect a run out and Dave Aldridge replaced Josh Unsworth at the pavilion end and removed the dangerous Woodcock in his first over. McGrail then was bowled by Aldridge trying to cut a ball that kept low to leave the visitors reeling on 60-4.

Gareth Davies bowled a steady six-over spell from the playground end but it was the re-introduction of Dave Platt that ultimately proved decisive. Bowling at a decent pace and on a good length, Hayfield's blond adonis proved too hot for the Old Glossop middle order in a devastating mid-innings salvo that yielded five wickets. Aldridge took the last wicket with a long hop to end the OG innings on 114 to finish with 3-27 but Platt's spell was the innings' highlight and he fully deserved his figures of 5-46.

Hayfield's reply was far from convincing and the visitors' opening attack of Woodcock and Adderley almost derailed the run chase. Having looked in no trouble and having played perhaps the shot of the day with an effortless cover drive off Woodcock, Russell Evans spooned a low full toss to mid off. Shane Furness and Davies were both LBW to balls that kept a little low and Hayfield found themselves in a battle at 30-3.

Julian Burgess, however, put an end to all the home side's jitters with easily the best batting of the day. Once Woodcock had removed himself and Adderley from the attack, OG's change bowling was despatched to all parts by Hayfield's skipper who dominated a stand of 45 with Aldridge. Despite losing Aldridge, who had struggled to put bat to ball, the captain's boundary blitz continued and he and George Wood saw the game to its conclusion with many overs to spare. Wood continued from where he left off at the end of 2011 with some crisp drives to finish unbeaten, but it was Burgess who stole the show with a fine 60 not out to lead his side to victory and 19 well-deserved points.