The sun made a welcome return and so did an upturn in our fortunes over weekend 20 - a perfect 18 point weekend with each of our sides picking up bonus point victories.
The 1st XI sealed a comfortable victory away at Stretford, a result that confirmed we will be playing in the Championship again next season, and consigned Stretford to relegation themselves.
A patient opening partnership between Mukhtar Nasir and Ali Naizi (25) laid the foundations for the Bury innings, and that had escalated to 131-1 just before Nasir fell for an excellent 69 - Alex Breckin the man at the other end, who scored a quick 40. A slight middle order collapse threatened to undo a lot of the hard work, but some late Sajad Safi (24) blows pushed Bury upto 181 before they were all out.
Whilst Stretford's top three threatened a good start for the hosts, any hopes of a run chase that would keep them alive for at least another week were quickly diminished. After the second wicket fell, Stretford were all out just 12 overs later. Ali Naizi twice had hatrick balls in a 7 over spell that finished with figures of 6-16, with Bury winning by 92 runs to consolidate the current 5th position. (Scorecard)
Meanwhile the 2nd XI, missing a few due to unavailability and 1st XI call-ups, had the tricky task of trying to take something away from a game at home to promotion pushing East Lancs Paper Mill. After choosing to bowl first, the ever-reliable opening pairing of Matt Metcalfe (3-32) and Mohammed Majid (4-25) caused top & middle order chaos on a wicket that was difficult to score on. After 16 overs, the visitors were 23-6. Tom Partington (31) proved the mainstay for the Millers and a couple of lusty blows pushed the score past 50. However, Amir Hayat and Ali Shah were quickly into the wickets to finish the first half job - 72 the target to win.
After a couple of early wickets, Usama Akram stepped up and took control of the innings. His usual attacking style took the game away from ELPM, scoring 56 from 49 balls, falling just before the finish line - but it was crossed with just 3 wickets lost, meaning Bury took maximum points from the game and took a huge step towards sealing survival, with 2 points from the final 2 being enough to mathematically secure it. (Scorecard)
The 3rd XI made it a trio of 6 point wins on Sunday with 77 run victory at home to Tottington St Johns. On a slow scoring wicket and outfield, it was a patient 40 overs from Bury, with knocks from Sabat Ali Ahmed (22) and Arshad Raza (21) controlling the innings in the first 30 overs. An unbeaten 7th wicket partnership worth 44 in the last 8 overs between Adam Smith (31*) and Freddie Nicol increased the tempo and pushed the total to a competitive 123-6.
The visitors were in early disarray with the bat in hand - 4 wickets falling in the first 3 overs with Arshad Raza, Scott Worswick and a run out all contributing. Totty never recovered from that position of 2-4, with wickets being shared around, they were bowled out for 46 inside 19 overs to seal another 6 point win, which took Bury up a couple of places in the Sunday Division 2N table. (Scorecard)