The Bury Bullsharks won a thrilling game against the Heywood Monkeys, that went down to the last ball, in the sun in front of a busy Radcliffe Road crowd on Friday night to stay alive in the GMCL20 group stage.
Heywood enjoyed a good start with Bury at 52-4 after 10 overs of the first innings. However, a merciless 2 over attack from Mukhtar Nasir and Damario Goodman swung the momentum Bury’s way. Nasir took 28 from the 11th over, with 4 sixes and a boundary, before Goodman took 21 off the 12th to take the score past 100. Nasir fell in the next over for 46 from just 19 balls – the 5th wicket partnership worth 50 from 16 balls. A quick 22 from Jacob Ramsay, with his first appearance of the season after returning from injury, and Goodman’s 40 pushed Bury onwards, however late lower order wickets restricted Bury to 147 all out with 4 balls to spare.
Heywood kept wickets in hand throughout their innings, with opener Tennyson Roach (49) and number 3 Martin Walters scoring a majority of the runs. However, the asking rate crept up towards the last 5 overs – at 102/2 it was 46 needed. When Ammar Baig had Walters caught by Nathan Ramsay in the penultimate over, the momentum was with the home side, and it would be 13 needed off the last. Mukhtar Nasir kept the scoring down, and going down to the last ball, 6 was required for victory. Humphreys could only play it down the ground to mid on for 1 run, meaning Bullsharks took the victory by 4 runs. Their fate is still out of their own hands, but the win keeps qualification hopes alive, with another victory needed in this week’s fixture with Prestwich to send it to the final game between Woodbank and Prestwich. (Scorecard)
On Saturday, the 1st XI were well beaten by the league leaders Heaton at Lower Pools. Bury won the toss and chose to bowl. Damario Goodman was the pick of the bowlers with 4-79 in his 15 overs with Heaton posting 236-8. Aqib Zulfiqar’s quick 42 from 41 balls and D’Angelo Springer’s 24 got Bury off to a decent start, but top order and particularly middle order wickets fell quickly, leading to a score of 85-7 at drinks. Usama Akram (26) and Gary Garner (19) added some respect to the scoreline before being bowled out for 134. (Scorecard)
Meanwhile the 2nd XI enjoyed what has become a regular occurrence of a healthy second wicket partnership to put them on the front foot when batting first, at home to Unsworth. Mumtaz Mirza passed 50 and he with Ghalib Sarosh (34) put on 95 for the second wicket. Mirza fell for 74 from 79 balls and, again in line with pattern in recent weeks, the middle and lower order struggled to add significant amounts to the scoreline. Aaron Davies’ 25 from 20 balls however pushed the score upto 195 all out with 29 balls of the innings remaining.
The Bury bowling attack was too strong for Unsworth – there were 3 wickets apiece for Patrick Potts (3/22), Zarqash Ali (3/17) and Mumtaz Mirza (3/33) with Unsworth bowled out in the final over for 124 to seal a winning bonus point for Bury. (Scorecard)
On Sunday, the 2nd XI were in cup action in the 2nd XI Premier Cup Second Round against Royton. Usama Akram hit an early 24, before Sarosh improved on his Saturday effort with 53, including 12 fours. Patrick Potts’ 31 and Farrukh Ali’s 23* helped the score upto 200-8 from Bury’s 45 overs. A rain delay just before the second innings was due to began reduced the target to 178 in 35 overs. The scoring was kept under control in the first 20 overs or so, with Farrukh Ali’s spell of 7-1-22-1 the highlight, however talented young batsman Jack Fawcett was the mainstay for the visiting side. Ultimately he would lead his side home, reaching three figures as Royton came home as 8 wicket winners with 3 overs to spare. (Scorecard)
Elsewhere, the 4th XI enjoyed a friendly away at Astley Bridge. (Scorecard)