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U15s turn up heat on the Range

man in white jersey shirt and pants holding cricket bat

Stretford’s U15 team, captained by Adam Taylor, served up a much improved performance, winning by 27 runs, on Tuesday night at home to Whalley Range; a side who had beaten the Boundarymen in their last match.

Stretford batted first opening up with Aaran Sen and Evan Turner and simmered along to 30 without loss from 8 overs; carefully navigating the new ball. Turner produced a selection of nicely timed straight drives and neat cuts before the sharp Ismail took his wicket caught and bowled for 15. Sen, patience personified at one end, was joined by Uwais who instantly used his feet to the Range spinners driving through cover for four on several occasions. As Stretford looked to up the rate Uwais was run out for a run an impressive run a ball 31. With wickets in hand, the scoring rate was brought to the boil by the now set Sen who steamed on to 43 (retired) with sucessive boundaries. Tom Murphy (26*) finished the innings off in style cloberring two sixes and a four and Stretford closed on 120-2 off 20 overs.

The Range reply was bubbling nicely at 48 for 0 from 9 overs with Ismail and Jack up with the rate before Stretford’s spinners turned up the heat. Cotton took an impressive catch at long on off the bowling of Turner (1-16) to dimiss Ismael for 22 and opening partner Jack perished for 24 caught and bowled by Uwais (1-6) to cap an impressive evening. Wickets began to roll as Sen tempted two Range batsmen down the track only for the bails to be removed by keeper Murphy with the batsmen well short of their ground.

Huzaifa (2-3) captured the remaining two wickets to seal a dominant win, in the end, for Stretford by 27 runs.

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Young Talent Shining Bright at the Boundary

people playing cricket on green grass field

Stretford’s U13s team began their cricket schedule this week with a home friendly vs local rivals Urmston. The team contained an exciting blend of new, young and more experienced but more important; bags of potential.

In a “Pairs” cricket format, where every player bats and bowls, Stretford found themselves in defecit of the starting score of 200 following a difficult opening spell from the Urmston attack however the ship was steadied by the middle order. New all rounder Zayaan scored a sensible 12 runs with youngster Natasha playing a supporting role.

With 4 overs remaining in the first innings Stretford were poised at 227. Skipper Jamie and new partner Evan strode into the middle with purpose. With clear calling, fluent stoke play and positive mentality Stretford pushed the score up to 260. The highlight of the innings was Evan’s Gilchrist-like like slog sweep for 6 over deep mid wicket.

However, Stretford’s work was not complete. Urmston’s long batting order with an abundance of talent was not going to be any easy to subdue. Opening bowler Oliver boosted the young lions hopes with a wicket with fourth ball. A great start.

Natasha also bowled a superb 2 overs bowling Urmston’s opening batsman through the gate with some tricky leg spin. With Urmston 213 after 4 overs victory was not assured. New all rounder Evan, turned up the heat bowling his 12 balls for just 2 runs.

The Stretford attack was nothing short of brilliant. Charlie bowling a very aggressive 2 overs picking up 2 vital wickets in the middle. Despite their inexperience in match situations Eesa and Blake also bowled at a crucial time and managed to bowl to a set plan which showed real maturity at a young age.

As many experts stress you don’t win as individuals you win as a team and throughout the entire innings Stretford’s fielding was in a class of its own. 5 run outs from the team was a vital element of the team’s success and should be applauded and used as our benchmark. Every players application of skills they have learned and practiced came to the fore when the team needed it.

The two “death” bowlers Jamie and Zayaan showed excellence towards the close of the match going for just a net total of 7 runs which woudl help to win any game of cricket.

All in all a fantastic game of cricket played in a safe and friendly environment.

If your child wants to be a part of Stretford’s junior section, we welcome you all to Monday night trainings. We have a special Covid sign up rate and interactive sessions for all age groups.
Robert Renforth

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How I beat school bullies playing cricket

Stretford had shown me that I was so much better than I knew. I may have hated school but I had an outlet to express myself without being punched or called names. I was so high after my first wicket that I could’ve fist pumped Helen Sharman

As a school big shot bursts through the last line of defence I manage to stand up tall and tip his strike over the cross bar. As the football lands safely out of play I’m left in the firing line.

A vengeful dig is planted into my arm and the jock shouts “You fu**ing fat ba**ard”, “No wonder I can’t score because you’re so wide” No big deal right? A small verbal remark and a punch won’t cause any harm, and it’s not like I took a major beating or had my head flushed down the toilet.

Imagine though, the same thing happening multiple times per lunchtime or break time every day for four years.

Speaking up didn’t seem an option and retaliation would only caused further suffering. Instead I let those school bullies eat away. Any feeling of self worth dissolved away with every throwaway insult. I was like the piece of air dried charcuterie hanging from the window which gets sliced and sliced and sliced until only the hanging hook is left. Sticks and stones is the worst advice I’ve ever been given because it’s simply untrue.

One day, following yet another insult and jab to the solar plexus it all just became too much. I broke down. Tears began to roll down my face. Most people were glad it was not themselves getting sledged so remained passive. There was only one person who asked if I was OK and he took me to speak to the head of year. I advised the head of year what had happened but my earlier fears of the situation being brushed under a rug were confirmed when I was simply told “you’re OK aren’t you”.

Hope was on the horizon however and it wasn’t down to any education institution. My spirit hadn’t been totally broken by the idiots but it was in fact on the verge of being restored thanks to the sound of leather on willow.

As extra other curricular activities fell by the way side I found that I started to focus on playing cricket at my local club. I had joined with my brothers at the age of 9 after being taken down to the club by a family friend.

There was no U9 or U11 team in those days so after a few years of pottering around at the training sessions where I learned some basics I was selected to play my first game when I made up the numbers in the U13 team. I spent all Friday nervously trying to make up excuses why I couldn’t play but it was too late because before I knew it we were in the car on the way to the match.

During the game the captain had made a hash of working out his bowlers spells and it meant I got the nod to bowl. Oh shit. As my arm rolled over, sweat beads pouring off my forehead, I thought to myself “this ball could go anywhere, it could even meander into the river at deep mid wicket”.

“Walking in, on your toes” shouted the captain; a form of encouragement.

I bowled the slowest ball you could ever imagine which seemed to take an eternity to reach the other end of the pitch. It was so lacking in speed that spectators could be forgiven for thinking that I was trying to bowl spin. As the ball set off on its course; with the trajectory of a damaged Slinky, the fielders winced and braced themselves.

The batsman at the strikers end waited impatiently for the ball to arrive; his eyes lighting up like the Aurora Borealis. In his haste to smash the ball to the moon, the batter played across the line of the ball. Although velocity was not on my side I at least had direction in my favour.

“hang on I think he’s missed it”………….the ball nudged into middle stump and the bails fell to the ground. As my team mates rushed into the centre of the pitch to celebrate the fall of a wicket my mind was taken back to what happened last time I made a save on the football pitch at school. Expectantly I tensed my arm and then,……nothing. Nothing but praise!

The sheer adulation I felt with a fleeting moment of success with a group of people who were genuinely pleased for you was totally unreal. Nobody is digging my arm, instead I’m getting pats on the back and congratulations. Maybe this club was different? It was the first place I’d gained some kudos and respect and I’d got my first wicket!

The very moment the ball struck and tilted back the stump is the moment I fell in love with the game of cricket, the club and it’s people and when life started to turn around. I may have hated school but I had an outlet to express myself without being punched or called names. I was so high I could’ve given Helen Sharman a fist pump. I actually belonged somewhere!

Cricket is very different to most sports because it’s a team game with very individual elements. Even a beginner can experience glory because just a single moment can provide a spark. Even the least talented player gets a chance; it might be a piece of fielding that helps to dismiss the best batsmen on the opposition or it could be a catch that changes the course of match. The beauty of the game and probably of sport in general is that it doesn’t matter who you are, how intelligent you are, how much money you have, what your daddy does or where you are from, if you disrespect it and the people involved it will bite you on the backside. Everyone is equal on a cricket pitch.

As I focussed more on cricket I found that I improved; quickly scoring my first 25* retired, taking catches and getting wickets. All I wanted was for the school day to end so I could go to the cricket club and practice some more with real friends. It occurred to me that if I put some effort into the sport and the club that I would be rewarded.

I grew as a person and gained confidence; both my school grades and cricket scores increased as I was happier outside school. My first coach was instrumental in supporting me and was the first person to treat me as an individual person. This just wasn’t the case in any other place. I’ve taken on this mantra by trying to treat everyone with the respect they deserve and I think that attitude is at the core of Stretford Cricket Club. There has been the odd person who doesn’t follow that unwritten rule, or the odd person who tries to buy there way out of issues but they’ve fallen by the wayside.

A year after my meltdown the school finally decided to create a cricket team. The PE teacher arranged some trials and asked me to be captain. In truth the team was average but contained a few experienced players. Often the team was short and pupils who were in detention were forced to play. My football pitch nemesis who delighted in my ritual humiliation was to be our opening bowler. I wanted to give other people an opportunity so I would bat in the middle order.

Our first match came around after a couple of practice sessions and confidence was not overly high from the teachers who didnt even know the names of fielding positions let alone an understanding of the LBW Law. We fielded first and restricted the opposition to a score of 110 off 18 overs. The opening bowler finished with five wickets to his name. Impressive spell but would you expect anything less?


In reply we quickly lost wickets and slumped to 30-3. I walked in with determination and knowing that away from the school team I had already helped my club to win games from similar situations. The bowlers served up the odd poor ball which was dispatched as we inched towards the target but we kept losing wickets. We reached the final over with 8 wickets down needing 5 to win and the the number 10 was on strike. I was leaning on my bat next to the PE teacher who was simultaneously umpiring and scoring such was the disorganisation of the school. Number 10 took huge swipes at balls one, two and three and was bowled on the fourth bringing our opening bowler and football lunchtime villain to the crease.

I was now batting with someone and trying to win the game with someone who had previously demonstrated that he had zero respect for other people. You couldn’t write it could you?

“Look, just get me on strike for the last ball” I forcefully instructed.

Although initially insulted by the command he nodded and managed to nudge a single into the off side leaving me on strike for the last ball needing 4 to win and 4 to reach a half century in the match.

I scanned the field to weigh up my options; there were no fielding restrictions and every player other than the wicket keeper was on the boundary. The bowler ran in confidently but delivered a full ball which missed the difficult-to-play yorker length and I managed to smear the ball straight over the top for a once bounce four.

As we celebrated, the opening bowler, walked over and again I thought back to those moments on the football pitch. I tensed my arm.

“Really well batted mate”

This was probably my chance to unleash a volley of home truths; “mate!?, who the hell are you calling mate!? But no. It was pretty clear in that moment, Stretford had shown me that I was so much better than I knew. I just smiled;

“Thank you, well bowled”


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Coulson & Cotton to Lead Junior Section

Following the departure of Matt Laker from his role as Junior Manager the club is pleased to announce that it has moved quickly to install Thomas Coulson and Ruth Cotton as leads of the Junior Section.

“I am super proud to be appointed as head of the Junior Section along with Ruth” said a beaming Coulson who can’t wait to get started.

“I am well aware that the task ahead is a huge one but I’ve played at Stretford for many years and I realise the importance of the junior section so I am determined to make a success of the job. We will at least try our best!”

Already the new duo are looking ahead “We have a few ideas even at this early stage which will see the juniors evolve as players and individuals. We want to see players stand up and play to their strengths which will help them push for teams above their age groups and into senior cricket. We want the players to test themselves physically and mentally to better understand their game”

Coulson stressess the importance of team work and how its been important at Stretford. “Stretford’s Junior Section has been very successful over many years thanks to the efforts of our own members. This is something that we want to continue. We want to appeal to all members to give our team of coaches full support from helping with games, or at training even if that means setting up the ground or making a few cups of tea for opposition players. We all will need to work together to build the section”.

Ruth, who by day runs Lancashire’s indoor centre, has plans to improve the organisation, infrastructure and commmunication within the section not least by increasing the number of qualified coaches and coach support workers. If anyone is interested in these courses please contact us.

Director of Cricket, Guy Robinson is also pleased with the new team. “on behalf of the club I would like to wish Tom and Ruth good luck and I know they can rely on everyone to give them the full support needed in the role. Onwards and upwards”

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After all, it all makes sense

Congratulations and good luck to Stretford’s own Arran Sen who had been selected to join Lancashire’s U13 tour of India starting this week.

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Arran is a talented and very hard working all rounder who combines a fluent wristy batting style with bamboozling flighted leg spin and can often be found in our nets practising (probably all day and night if he could).

Huge congratulations to Arran and we hope you enjoy every minute on such a life changing tour of Mumbai! We are proud to have another skilled, committed, and talented youngster coming through the ranks. Keep up your hard work.

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The Lancs U13 tour is a pilot project aimed at the Club’s future Academy cricketers undertaking annual overseas tours.

A 16-strong squad will travel to Mumbai alongside coaching staff and parents to play five fixtures, as well as take to part in a development programme designed to improve their cricket skills in a challenging environment.

The tour is also designed to aid development as people as they partake in charity work by working with the Dharavi Cricket Academy.

The young Red Rose side will also train with the Global Cricket School, a scheme founded to provide a holistic cricket experience that helps cricketers gain the competitive advantage. The facility aims at providing exposure to the differing conditions and skill sets required to succeed in a different continent.

You can follow Lancashire U13s tour on Twitter account on the handle @LancsCricketACA and by visiting lancashirecricket.co.uk

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January Junior Cricket Training

Our junior winter nets begin on Friday January 4th for twelve weeks from 8-9pm at Lancashire Cricket club indoor centre.
At only £3 per session we cater for all abilities from under 7’s to under 15’s throughout the winter program.
We would love to involve new members so invite your friends to come along.
We look forward to seeing you there and starting our preparations for 2019!

When you arrive look out for Matt Laker who will get you signed in