Week 3 of the shortened league season saw 3 wins in 3 for the club, in 3 different competitions.
On Thursday night, underdogs Bury Storm made the trip to Prestwich Heat for our third GMCL15 game of the group. Storm batted first and were in all sorts of trouble at 16/4 in the 7th over, with Garner, Ramsay (X2) and Mirza all falling early. However, a superb 21 ball partnership worth 50 between Ali Hassan (30 from 12 balls) and Ghalib Sarosh (25 from 19 balls) brought to life a Storm resurgence, with 5 sixes between them. Wickets continued to tumble after that partnership, but Storm managed to reach 95 before being bowled out on the last ball of the 15 over innings.
Prestwich Heat looked as though they were going to make light work of the total, with opener Danny Pawson hitting 2 boundaries and one six within the first 10 balls of the innings, however 2 wickets in 2 balls at the end of the second over from Usman Afridi (3-0-22-4), removing the two key men in Pawson and captain James Wharmby, revived Bury once more, with the score at 22-2. Heat never restored the momentum they started the run chase with, and an excellent spell from spinner Majid Talib (3-1-9-2) backed up by Ali Hassan (3-0-12-0) and Mumtaz Mirza (3-0-14-1) meant that Storm held on for an impressive 12 run victory, despite number 9 Nathan Bailey threatening a late charge.
On Saturday, with no game for the first team, the seconds took centre stage and wrapped up 6 points within 3 hours of play against Unsworth. Unsworth batted first but only Jack O'Brien reached double figures as they were bowled out for 50 within 26 overs. Majid Talib once again shone, finishing with figures of 6.5-3-9-6, and the remaining wickets were shared between Ali Hassan, Chris Potts and Usman Afridi.
Any slim hopes of Unsworth defending the total were quickly diminished in the second innings, with Joe Mitchell and Zain Khan starting strongly, with 25 runs on the board for no wicket within the first 5 overs. Adam Earnshaw took the wicket of Mitchell, but that turned out to be the only wicket taken as Bury eased to a 9 wicket win inside 14 overs.
On Sunday, the thirds picked up their first win of the season in a close fought game with Heywood. Having won the toss and batted, Bury looked to be in trouble at 40/4 in the 16th over (including 14 extras), with Heywood's long boundaries proving that scoring was going to be difficult all day. However, remarkably Bury did not lose another wicket, with a superb partnership spanning 24 overs between opener Arshad Raza and wicketkeeper Ali Ammar rescuing Bury. The partnership was worth 124, with Raza becoming the third opening batsman in as many weeks to bat the whole innings for the club and finished on 78*, and Ammar (51*) reached a first Bury half-century in the last over of the innings, and so Bury posted 163/4.
In the second innings, Heywood responded well to the loss of an early wicket for Zarqash Ali, with the young pairing of Matthew Dearden and Daniel Openshaw putting on 80 for the second wicket to frustrate Bury. It was Marcus Eaton who broke the partnership, bowling Openshaw for 31, and then Dearden fell an over later on the same score tro give Oliver Pomfret his first league wicket for the club. With the asking rate almost upto 6, scoreboard pressure meant wickets continued to be taken, with the star being Pomfret (10-1-45-5) who took a maiden five wicket haul in a 10 over spell. Captain Lee Clarkson (33) offered Heywood hope towards the end of the innings, but he did not have enough support at the other end, and when he fell in the 38th over, bowled by Zarqash (10-1-24-2), the game was as good as over, and Bury took a 15 run win.
This week, there is a hatrick of games at the Archway Oval, with Storm at home to the Whitefield Eagles on Friday night, before the 2nds host Bolton Indians 2nds, and the 3rds are at home to Elton on Sunday. The 1st team also return to action on Saturday, away at Brooksbottom.