Bury Storm ended their GMCL15 campaign with a narrow defeat to Clifton Kingfishers on Friday evening, and there were plenty of positives to take from the game.
Kingfishers captain and ex-Lancashire wicketkeeper Gareth Cross won the toss and elected to bat first, and Mohammed Majid took a big wicket with just the fifth ball of the innings, with former Flixton opener Luke Perry picking out Lee Halliwell at extra cover. The same two combined to take the other two key men - Adam Holt was bowled by Majid on 25 and Cross could only find Chris Potts from a Lee Halliwell full toss. However, Clifton found useful runs the whole way down the order and eventually reached 123-7 from their 15 overs - the highest total for any team in any of Storm's games this season. Majid Talib was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 2-11 from his three overs.
Jacob Ramsay got Storm's innings off to a great start, with 40 runs on the board before the loss of Matt Donnelly (6) in the 6th over. After another quick wicket, Sam Nolan-Massey built a partnership with Jacob of 31 from 15 balls with both batsman striking the ball very cleanly, and Storm looked in a great position at 72-3 in the 9th over. However, a costly run out of Massey (20) brought the Kingfishers right back into the game. Joe Spencer, on debut, starred with 22* in a partnership of 42 with Jacob, before Ramsay was caught in the last over on 60. With 2 balls to go, Storm needed 9 runs but a dot ball followed by just a single meant that Storm fell 8 short of victory.
The result means that Storm finish their GMCL15 campaign in 3rd position but held their own in every game - an impressive win over Prestwich Heat was the highlight and both Walshaw and Clifton won in the last over of the respective games.
On Saturday, a much-changed 1st team suffered their first league defeat of the season at the hands of Edenfield. Bury scored 149-7 from their 40 overs, with sizeable contributions from Matt Donnelly (27), Zafri Zafardeen (30), Donovan Flaherty (25) and Gary Garner (38*) - with Garner ensuring there was 25 runs scored in the last 3 overs, including 2 sixes. A short rain delay in between innings meant Edenfield needed to chase 140 in 35 overs.
Edenfield's run chase was built around pro Paul Gallagher (62), with a third wicket partnership of 51 with Mark Fallon proving to be vital. Wickets from Ahmed Matloob saw the visitors slip to 88-5 but this time it was Harry Fallon who put on 36 with Gallagher, and Edenfield chased their DLS target with 3 wickets and 5 balls to spare.
On Sunday, the 3rd XI suffered a defeat away to local neighbours Walshaw. As was the story in the reverse fixture, Josh Allum and Sam Openshaw started strongly for the hosts, and the score was 90-2 in the 15th over when they were both back in the shed. Bury fought back well to reduce Walshaw to 151-9 with 3 wickets each for Mohammed Usman (10-0-26-3) and Josh Bowen (7-2-25-3) in excellent tight spells, but a last wicket partnership between Tom Nally (29*) and Raess Khan (41*) pushed Walshaw upto 216-9 in an expensive last 4 overs.
Bury's run chase got off to a tough start at 2-2 with the experienced heads of Arshad Raza and James Towey failing to score. Joe Spencer built on his excellent showing on Friday to hit a run-a-ball 33 and he fell in the 11th over at 49-3, which became 49-4. A 5-th wicket partnership of 53 between Joe Mitchell and James Weston (18) pushed the total past the ton, and then Joe Mitchell passed 50 for the second time this season, in two third team appearances. Aaron Davies' entertaining tenure at the crease resulted in his highest score in a competitive game for the club, but Bury were eventually bowled out for 151.
On Monday, a T20 XI took on Prestwich in a fundraising T20 game for Bury Hospice. A enjoyable game played in good spirits included highlights of Gary Garner's two wickets in two balls and Patrick Potts' 21*.