AT the half way point in the league season, Highfield’s two senior Saturday teams are still pushing for promotion.
The first team are sitting pretty at the top of the table but there is still a lot of cricket to be played and inevitable twists and turns ahead.
The third team is also pushing towards the top of their Sunday Premier Division as are the fourth team although their season has been disrupted significantly by poor weather.
The senior T20 side has also reached the finals day of the Wigan and District competition.
In the first games of the second half of the season, Highfield travelled to bottom club Wavertree with a very young team due to the unavailability of a number of senior players.
Captain Mike Farell won the toss and decided to bat, however it was not the start he wished for as he was adjudged lbw with just nine runs on the board. That was a major setback as Farrell has been in great form with the bat this season. Fellow opener James Taylor (29) and Michael Gaskell steadied the ship but both were dismissed within a short period, reducing the visitors to 55 for three.
That brought Jy Mirza and Jake Borrows together, another two batsmen in good form, and they added a century for the fourth wicket, changing the complexion of the game. Mirza was then adjudged run out after a very confused situation and Steve Atkinson followed immediately.
But Borrows (64), supported well by teenagers Ben Gregory (19), Martyn Jenks, debutante Tom Ashton, Aqib Nawaz and Andrew Hewitt helped to steer Highfield to 205 all out in the 55th over.
Highfield’s cause was not helped by breaks for rain and dropped catches, as the home side added 70 for the first wicket before Martyn Jenks claimed a dismissal.
James Taylor claimed another with the score at 90 for two, but the weather was to have the final word with just 27 overs possible. Proceedings were eventually brought to a finish with Wavertree on 103 following another deluge.
With most other games disrupted by the rain and teams receiving bonus points only, Highfield find themselves just a single point off top spot.
The second team game at Billinge Road against Wavertree was also disrupted by rain, but Highfield managed to get back on for long enough to force a win in an exciting finish. With Steve Atkinson in the first team, Martin Jump was skipper for the day and won the toss inviting Wavertree to bat first.
Highfield found themselves 30 runs short of target and with reduced overs available when the rain threatened.
But young Ryan Hargreaves supported by Speakman didn’t let the conditions and continued breaks in play distract them and they navigated the home side to the brink of victory before Speakman holed out leaving Hargreaves to hit the winning runs for a good victory, lifting the Highfield side back into the promotion-chasing pack.
Hindley St Peter’s first XI closed the gap on Prescot on Saturday with a four-wicket victory at home to Halsall West End.
Ian Chesworth put the visitors in and saw his side gain the upper hand straight away as the Halsall batsmen failed to cope with HSP’s imposing bowling attack.
Paul Mather struck in the first and last overs of his six-over opening spell, while Abu Shakhede conceded only one run in his six overs and also picked up a wicket.
By the time Mark Wood got in on the act with a wicket in his first over, the hapless Halsall were 9 for 4 from 13 overs. A stand of 56 between opener Neil Marsland (33) and no.6 Stephen Jones (38*) gave some substance to the score, before Andrew Tickle finished things off with three wickets in four balls on his way to figures of 4-37 from 13 overs. Halsall were all out after 48 overs for just 106.
The weather was HSP’s greatest opponent as they began their chase and they overcame the loss of an early wicket as Paul Delargy (21) and Phil Moorfield (26) put on 43 in only six overs. Mark Wood took over from Delargy and continued the chase with a run-a-ball 30.
Moorfield had passed 50 in each of his previous four innings, but his streak was cruelly ended when Wood smashed a drive back to the bowler who didn’t know much about it but parried it onto the stumps with Moorfield out of his ground. HSP were prepared to sacrifice wickets in their quest for quick runs, and they reached their target of 107 with six wickets down in only 17 overs.
A few minutes later the heavens opened but HSP had done what they had to. With Prescot drawing at Westleigh the gap at the top narrows to nine points.
The second XI made the short trip to Norley Hall and were put in to bat.
On a featherbed of a wicket HSP scored quickly through Behzad Malik and Jordan Hampson, who shared a second-wicket partnership of 117.
Hampson made a chanceless half century, reaching it with a six, but then looked to attack too much and was out in the next over.
Graham Hart (26*) and Anthony Hart (24) were both unbeaten when the declaration game after 42 overs at 223-4.
Ryan Wood played some big shots in his rapid 33.
The rest of the top order offered little though and Norley slipped to 55-6. Skipper David Leyland held it together in the middle, but the rain was starting to fall and forced the players from the field. After a 40-minute hiatus play was able to resume, but HSP were left with only eight more overs to bowl.
They managed one more wicket but, with Leyland standing fast on 51*, Norley survived till the end on 111-6 to draw the game.