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A Positive, If Not Perfect Start For Headingley CC

HCC 1st XI skipper Steve Gilks going down fighting
HCC 1st XI skipper Steve Gilks going down fighting
©Headingley CC
Fahad Jabbar of HCC 2nd XI square cutting Long Marston's Peter Head
Fahad Jabbar of HCC 2nd XI square cutting Long Marston's Peter Head
©Headingley CC

Two losses and a win certainly wasn’t the perfect start we were looking for as we set out on Saturday morning raring for the season, but positives can be taken from every match.

Will Clifton’s long-awaited return from injury was fruitful, as his five wickets for just 14 runs earned him MVP for the week.

The seconds produced a dominant performance to see off Long Marston in a match that lasted just 48 overs. Away from home a strong second team didn’t give the opposition anything with a fantastic fielding display, aptly backed by a strong bowling attack, led by the returning King Clifton, who oiled up the joints after nearly 10 months out injured.

His figures of 12-6-14-5 really do justice to the hard work he has put into his return. He was aided by a fantastic reaction catch at slip by Haider Hussain and an all-round impressive performance in the field. Captain Mark Stelfox and Ian Crutchley both helped themselves to a pair of wickets each as the Headingley 2s bowled Long Marston out for just 67.

The batsmen made easy work of the small total with new signings Dev Kumar and Harish Krishnesh knocking the ball around easily early on. It was left to the clubs top run scorer of 2013 Fahad Jabbar and a few lusty blows from Haider to finish what was an extremely impressive first performance from the team.

Captain Stelfox was very pleased with the display. "I couldn’t really be happier with ‘the 2s’ first outing, we had a nice blend of youth and experience, and having the club’s record wicket taker in the ranks as he makes his comeback from injury proved hugely beneficial," he said.

"Debutants Harish Krishnesh and Dev Kumar looked great signings and everyone chipped in with a contribution for the team.

"There's always a warm welcome and a great tea at Long Marston, so all in all, a gratifying afternoon for the 2s, and with some players to come back there should be some welcome competition for places."

The firsts did not put on the display they were hoping for at local rivals St. Chads CC. An outstanding fielding display was not backed by the bowling performance or batting display as a 92-run loss left the lads disappointed.

Headingley won the toss and put Chads in on a goodish deck after an intense fielding session pre-game. Headingley leaked early runs though, mainly through the five-yard boundary on one side of the ground.

Tom Atkinson’s display opening up was strong as ever and a direct hit from captain Steven Gilks brought Headingley right back into it. However, the game then slowly got away from the lads, despite good spells from Gilks and Atkinson and a near faultless fielding performance, Chads finished on 241 for eight.

With the scoreboard pressure, Headingley struggled against two opening bowlers who did the basics very well, however this didn’t stop Ted Rodgers dispatching a huge six over square leg (long-boundary) early on.

Both openers edged behind within 10 overs which brought new signing Jack Mason to the crease, looking assured throughout his innings and in partnership with Charlie Baker it seemed Headingley could ease their way to victory.

Just as both batsmen seemed settled, Baker ran himself out on 28 and Mason played-on for 24, breaking a promising partnership. Two ducks from batsmen five and six (who shall remain nameless) followed and despite some big blows from Dave Crutchley and a good partnership between Atkinson and Gilks, Headingley could not manage to get close to the target.

Headingley’s 3rd XI left the Bramhope Rec gutted after a close defeat to Whixley, after dragging themselves back into a winning position following a batting collapse.

After only posting 84 having been put in to bat, Dave Gilbank and Rameez Khan proceeded to rip through the opposition batting line-up, and at one point they were 35 for eight. Unfortunately we came up against a spirited Steve Green, who contributed 60 not out with the bat, to add to his five for 33 with the ball.

A great effort with the ball from Dave Gilbank (4-44) and Rameez Khan (3-26) was backed by some brilliant fielding (notably Mohammed Ishfaq with a great direct hit run out), with improved batting being the main focus ahead of next week's away match against Kippax.

The second’s victory was celebrated by all teams in the Village Hotel after the games and everyone was pleased with the fielding displays. All the lads are aware we can only afford three or four losses if promotion is to be gained and everyone will return fit and fired up for the next round of games.

Onwards and Upwards...

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