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Double Delight on Opening Day

Stretford 1XI v Whalley Range 1XI

After a long celebratory winter and numerous replays of that Cameron Ball run out. The Division One Champions finally began their new campaign hosting Whalley Range. 

Stretford won the toss and elected to bat on a flat wicket. New overseas signing Josh Julius opened the innings with SCC staple Tom Coulson. Both got the season off to a solid start by producing an opening stand of 47. A couple of quick wickets fell, but once AJ and Munir got to the crease the ship was steadied. A commanding partnership was built by adding 105 for the 4th wicket, AJ hitting a superb 84 and Munir 35 to guide the home side to a total of 223.

The second innings got off to an ideal start for the 1st XI. Normal service resumed for skipper Williams as he picked up 2 early wickets and finished with 4-57. 

After that Range put on a 120 run partnership for the 3rd wicket; with their overseas hitting 73 and some rusty fielding helping them along the way. 

With the assistance of Off spinner Jeff Marshall, Stretford held their nerve. Tighter lines were bowled and a few more wickets fell and the 1st XI closed off victory by a solitary run. Or as former New Zealand keeper Ian Smith would put it, “by the barest of margins.”

Up next for the 1st XI is a trip away to newly relegated Royton.

Stretford 2nd XI at Golborne 2nd XI

Saturday saw a refreshed second team travel westwards to take on last season’s promotion hopefuls Golborne. 

After losing the toss the Stretford men took to the field. Things couldn’t have got off to a better start when what can only be described as a loosener from captain Renforth was edged and snaffled by keeper Lomax.

With young gun Taylor looking dangerous from the other end, Golborne found it difficult to score. Page and Grant both took to the stage bowling fast and destructive spells throughout the middle order. Page took his first senior 5 wicket haul backed up by Grant’s 2 victims and with the additional help of Ben Riddell’s wicket, Golborne left the field amassing 137-9 from their 45. 

Stretford got to work chasing a competitive total on a wicket which was giving something for everybody. Fortunately Pav Aqueel was up to the challenge scoring a boundary filled 35 to help Stretford get underway. However, when he was dismissed along with the rest of the top 5 Stretford were left 71-5 at drinks. A set Riddell and new to the crease Renforth slowly began to build a partnership, patiently waiting to punish any loose deliveries. 

Riddell fell victim when trying to cut away to the off side boundary. Renforth was met by his newly appointed vice captain Wild and showed no hesitation in attacking the remaining runs. 

Golborne bowler Corfield being dispatched over square leg for six sent a message of intent to the home side. Both skipper 38* and vice 14* seeing the blue boys home for a 4 wicket victory. 

Next week the boys take on Deane and Derby at home and look to build on their impressive start.

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Pat Fish – An Obituary

Sad news to bring to members as I can report to you that Pat Fish died yesterday, aged 83, in hospital surrounded by her family.

Pat made up one half of a formidable partnership with her late husband, Life Member, John Fish to whom she was married for 63 years. They moved to Stretford from the White Rose in 1961 but if truth be known, she was a club stalwart in her own right.

The whole Fish family have contributed to Stretford  CC enormously to the development of Stretford Cricket Club as it is today. Sons Gareth, Stuart and Adrian all played for Stretford and, together with John, were very much hands on in helping to build the club. Daughters Kath and Heather never too far behind cheering on the club. Pat gave her services to the club as a cleaner for many years – a thankless task and mostly unseen.

She struck fear into the heart of many younger members, waking them up from a deep Theakston induced slumber with a sharp dig of a Dyson underneath the pool table on a Sunday morning. The cricket club is a real safe green space and therefore it is often the place where youngsters like me learned how to mishandle our drinks. Pat would turn up to the club every Sunday morning, with the lounge in a terrible state and spend hours dealing with the debris from the night before. I’m sure she understood. This demonstrates what a selfless, loyal and committed person she was.

Both Pat and John was always present at the Adrian Fish Junior Trios, an intraclub tournament  held every year in Adrian’s memory. They provided refreshments and trophies. They both really enjoyed seeing the development of junior cricketers coming through the ranks into senior teams and demonstrating teamwork, a quality ingrained into their own family. More obviously, the trios was a chance for family and friends to join together in celebration and Pat in particular always had a real glow at the event. She was so proud and protective of the people closest to her.

I really started to get to know Pat when I left the junior ranks and became involved with Management. I would pop round to Cressingham Road to assist Stuart with the quality yet Northern Rail-like Club Handbook and Pat would bring in Yorkshire Tea and ask how the family was. She was kind spirited and loyal and not really that woman who used to jab me with a Eubank at the cricket club. In their own unique way both Pat and John almost treated me as one of the family after I provided best-man duties for Stuart when he married Nicola. It was clear to see that she loved the time she spent with the grandchildren when Alex, Archie and Johnny joined their shoal.

Behind every great family there is that lynchpin figure. She was such a strong person with such a great sense of duty (but I’m told was an extremely difficult back seat driver) During the height of the pandemic husband John died unexpectedly from a heart attack. Pat herself undergoing treatment for cancer at the time had been moved into a Hospice and it was touch and go whether Pat would be able to attend his funeral…………………was she there? You bet she was.

“I’m so glad you were able to make it” I said to Pat; my face adorned with a three ply mask

“I was determined”

These were the last words Pat ever said to me. Probably very fitting.

The club would like to pass on condolences to all Pat’s family and friends and while the end of an era has been reached we at Stretford Cricket Club will be certain to celebrate the tremendous contribution made to the club by Pat.

Funeral details will be made available when known.

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A passionate clubman with time for all- Pete Fildes passes away

It is with great sadness the club can announce that Life Member, Pete Fildes passed away on Monday in hospital surrounded by his family.

Pete was the quintessential clubman and served Stretford in various roles over the years both on management and on the field. He was a passionate supporter of Stretford and one of his proudest moments was becoming Club Captain in 1974-75.

Pete was always good value and when his playing days were over he was an avid watcher. He would often be found in sunshine corner passing on his various cricket theories while walking the dogs. Pete was a masterful storyteller and I enjoyed talking to him about Stretford Cricket Club history or tactical nuances of the game. Pete’s love for the game was immense, however one of his amusing tendencies would be to omit the occasional key detail ” they bowled first and they got what they got, Vinny got five wickets and they were all LBW; well Vinny is Vinny”

Despite his ability to remember even the most average Stretford team performance, he was never one of those “in-my-dayers” He relished seeing the new boys down at Stretford doing well and putting in committed performances. He was a passionate clubman and would make time for anyone.

It became almost a weekly ritual that Pete would ask me with that broad smile, while playing Badminton at Broadoak School “are you going to get any runs on Saturday, are you going to dig in?” “I’ll try my best Pete” I inevitably replied. “I know I know I know” laughed Pete.

Pete would’ve been so proud to see the 1stXI win the league last week.

We would like to express our condolences to Christine and family. Funeral details will be made available soon.

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Chairman Armstrong to Step Down at AGM

It is with sadness that the club can confirm that Chairman Gary Armstrong will be standing down at the Annual General Meeting after 4 years of leading the management committee and a year as Vice-chair.

Gary guided the club with an ultra professional and careful hand, always making sure that the club stayed true to its roots. He has helped the club through some turbulent waters always balancing risk and reward, and helping to maintain the open, friendly, community club that Stretford always has been. One of his successful core policies was that decisions, especially those that open up the club to debt or risk are made by the group and not by one person. As simple as this sounds it is something that is important to remember.

He has been a fine ambassador for the club and whoever replaces him has some big shoes to fill.

Unfortunately Liz Armstrong is also stepping down at the AGM after 5 years of being Club Treasurer, again leaving a massive hole in the club’s executive committee. Under Liz’s guidance the club has gone from loss making to profitable and is in a robust financial position, with all accounts audited and approved. Liz improved control of bar cash, membership fees and match day fees and drove down costs. Liz has been an ultra committed member of the team working well outside the Treasurer brief, setting the tone for the “voluntary” nature of the club and how it has been built.

Liz’s input will be greatly missed, but she leaves the new treasurer with a stable base, audited accounts and sound financial practices in place.

Liz and Gary’s family have been a credit to the club all actively taking part in all club events but, with both children now on the cusp of university and work commitments growing they have decided that the time is right for someone else to lead the club in a new direction.

During the five years of their leadership the club joined the Greater Manchester Cricket League as founder members, completed a build project that extended the changing rooms, created disabled facilities and refurbish the main room. Liz inherited the project and took it through to completion including arranging an ECB loan to complete the building work, which we are now able to repay. The club’s outside facilities increased in quality during the last three years including a new patio area and outside bar, but in particular the most recent development was the award of grant funding from SUEZ Communities Trust to relay the playing surface at The Boundary, a project which Gary helped to drive through with Christopher Sharp.

The club now needs someone to step up and build their own team as the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary, Bar Manager and Fundraising Coordinator posts are all vacant.

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The AGM for Stretford Cricket Club will take place on 11th November 2021 at 7.30pm.

There are no proposed rule changes but there are many vacant positions and also four years of recently audited accounts to present.

Nominations can be emailed to – only Life Members, Full Senior Members and Management members can propose/second people for roles.

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Nine, Ten, Jack save Stretford as Coulson Magic Downs Dukinfield

Stretford have now put daylight between themselves and the other promotion hopefuls in the GMCL Div 1 following Saturday’s rollercoaster ride victory over Dukinfield by 20 runs. A five point gap over 4th place is far from comfortable and with Mottram easily wininng against Prestwich 2nXI we still sit 2nd with a game in hand, 2 points behind the leaders. Stretford had homegrown star Tom Coulson to thank for the victory after a fine all round performance.

Stretford showed their character in the the victory over third placed Dukinfield, a team on equal points but heavily relient on two professionals Syd De Silva and Denuwan Rajakaruna Dadallage who wreaked havoc in the reverse fixture.

Stretford won the toss and elected to bat on a used, tired looking pitch and were soon in trouble when in-form Armstrong was bowled from the second ball. Shah (9) and Saynor (7) followed soon after, both caught playing ambitious shots. Wild (9) occupied the crease with determination but edged behind and when Williams (1) and Evans (1) were out Stretford had slipped to 51-8. In recent games this pattern has become all too familiar but Murphy, O’Malley, Whitehead and Khan return soon to bolster the batting.

Coulson (70*) was joined at the crease by his good friend, Ethan Page (14) and both took advantage of the Dukinfield change up bowlers following the nagging spell of De Silva (6/26) and Dadallage (2/32) The pair put on 40 for the ninth wicket until Page was bowled by one that shot through with the score on 94-9. A last wicket partnership of 45 took Stretford 139. Jack Blackwell (7) took a back seat role while Coulson, at first watchful, started to open up with flicks over mid wicket and powerful drives through cover to swing momentum towards Stretford.

In reply, Dukinfield seemed untroubled. The home side sent in Ghafoor (15) and Allen (18) and both Williams and Evans struggled to find the right length on a pitch offering assistance. It was important to capture early wickets in order to put the Dukinfield professionals under pressure and the break through came when Evans (1/27) had Allen caught behind with the score on 33. De Silva’s decision to play on a used pitch backfired when he scratched around and was bowled by Williams (3/29) for four with the score on 43. Morton (14) and the inventive Daddallage (23) put on 40 before being superbly caught by Page at the deep square leg boundary after top edging a sweep shot off the bowling of Coulson. (4/32). Stretford did not have many runs to play with but the pressure was too much for Dukinfield as Morton chipped one to Evans at mid wicket off Coulson and a fired up Blackwell (2/20) smashed through the defences of the lower order batsmen.

The 2ndXI came unstuck at home to Flixton on Saturday with an under par batting performance to blame. Alfie Stamper returned bolwing figures of 3/11 and R Nawaz (5/27) with only Craig Turner (23) offering resistance as Stretford were bowled out for 83. Malhotra (35) and Geary (24) made light work of the chase winning by 7 wickets with a wicket each for Renforth, Wright and Cotton.

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Armstrong knock sets up Stretford win

Stretford bounced back from the dissapointment of defeat at title contenders Mottram, with a 47 run victory at the
sun soaked hilltop home of Austerlands on Saturday. The win was set up thanks to a 7th wicket partnership of 90 by the resolute Matt Armstrong (98) and Tom Coulson (35) who rescused team from a perilous 117-6 and an unlikely bowling hero, Mike Murphy (4/52). The final total of 242 proved too much for Austerlands despite fielding the league’s leading run scorer Imran Rafiq who has already coasted to 1200 runs this season.

Skipper Ryan Williams won the toss and elected to bat on a pitch which offered something to belie the glorious weather and surroundings At 20-3 the decision to bat was being questioned by Statler and Waldorf perched on the Western Terrace at the fun-sized, thwack-enducing, Saddleworth ground.

With three good men back in the hut due to a searching opening spell from Lockett (3/52), Adam Saynor (23), Ocean O’Malley (12) and Williams (24) all promised much but didn’t kick on to leave Stretford at 117-6 with 31 overs gone.

Matt Armstrong continued his quest and when be was joined by Thomas Coulson the pair powered on to 211-7. Coulson departed after unleashing an array of trademark power shots. Quietly, Armstrong continued on his inexorable cruise to his maiden century but fell in the last over attempting to score the two runs needed. The total of 242 was the result of an excellent recovery but was probably par at the Austerlands ground.

The home side`s reply took two early knocks as skipper Williams castled both openers to bring Pakistan A batsman Rafiq to the crease. After he had been completely beaten by his first ball he accumulated runs but was kept relatively quiet by good spells from Williams, Coulson and Jack Blackwell.

At 144-2 and coasting Rafique inexplicably chipped a catch to Williams at mid-off from the bowling of Mike Murphy to end a partenership of 110, and his partner, Melling,  fell on 49, trapped in front by an arrow straight ball from Coulson in the next over.

Stretford sensed victory and it came with the score on 195 as Williams (5/51) and Murphy added their fifth and fourth victims respectively.

A great and hard earned win due to an all round team effort. Armstrong reflected on the performance and was quick to play down his match winning knock; “It was very long, very warm, very tiring but a win nonetheless and that’s all that matters, Allez les blues!”

A top of the table clash at Dukinfield next week is eagerly awaited.

A battling 58* from Ben Riddell was not enough to save the 2nXI from a 5 wicket defeat at the hands of league leaders Bury on Saturday.

After slumping to 9-3, Jamie Cotton (27) and Pav Aqeel (22) dug in; the run rate lower than the Mariana Trench. Riddell, Lomax and Uwais Siddique (23) upped the tempo, the home side finishing with a respectable 171 for 8 from 45 overs.

Alex Bowman (1/23 from 10) captured an early wicket to give Stretford hope but a patient 42 from J Mitchell, Z Khan (23) and S Hashmi (32) guided Bury towards the target relatively unscathed. Jamie Cotton’s off-spin stalled the Bury progess chipping in with 3/52 from 14.

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Top Marks for the Boundary: SCC wins ground award for June

We are pleased to announce that we have scored the highest marks for June as awarded by GMCL and pocketed 100 quid in the process, courtesy of Battersby Sports Ground Suppliers.

This month there were five clubs in close contention, namely Tottington St Johns CC, Prestwich CC, Elton CC, Bradshaw CC and we came out on top.

This is a reflection of the hard work put in by our grounds team (who are volunteers) spearheaded by Ian Holding and Phil Spencer. It’s also a reminder to all our members that we have a top ground, with the best vista and the best folk. Don’t take it for granted.

This year the GMCL introduced Grounds and Facilities Standards. If the standards cannot be achieved this could affect promotion and relegation places so there is lots of ongoing work to do therefore even if you can only give one hour per week or a couple per month then we would appreciate any time you can give, this could be anything from sweeping up, emptying bins, cutting the banks, painting things, learning how to safely operate our machines.