Posted by Tony Hutton
Monday 10th July started wet and miserable and our journey into the Pennine Hills along the Calder Valley was not a pleasant one. However there were slight signs of brightness as we went further west to arrive at our destination Todmorden cricket club. This is border country and in fact the old county boundary between Yorkshire and Lancashire once bisected the cricket ground. Now things have changed as it is very much in Yorkshire, by a few hundred yards anyway. Today the Red Rose of Lancashire was flying over the pavilion as Lancashire Under 19s were hosting yet another Australian touring team, the New South Wales Combined High Schools no less.
We had seen them on previous tours and knew they would provide stiff opposition. The rain was easing off as we arrived and the groundsman was already busy with his sopper taking the water off the plastic sheets covering the square. Soon after we arrived for our morning coffee and digested the excellent programme produced by the Lancashire cricket federation we were informed that play would start at 12.30. This seemed like a minor miracle considering the conditions we had encountered en route.
So with about an hour to go we set off to investigate the Todmorden town centre and very interesting it is too. The covered market as ever is full of almost everything you could want despite the renovations going on overhead and the tourist information office is an absolute joy with maps and information on the attractions of Yorkshire and Lancashire. Play did get underway just, for only two balls in fact, before another shower of rain arrived from the direction of Burnley and the players left the field. It was only a brief interruption and almost as soon as the rain stopped the players were out again and remained so to make up for lost time well into the evening.
Australian Schools batted first in what was hoped to be a two day match. They had already performed well in their first game against MCC Young Cricketers loosing only by ten runs when both sides got over 300. Openers Tane Nunn and Joshua Claridge put on 32 for the first wicket against some accurate bowling from Leeds/Bradford University player Dan Houghton and Chris Sanders from Bramhall. Houghton then clean bowled Claridge and Sanders took the next three wickets to leave NSW schools in some trouble at 77-4.
They recovered well after lunch with Raveesh Srivastava providing the backbone of the innings and Matthew Calder the aggression at number six. They put on 64 together in just thirteen overs and certainly increased the scoring rate. Calder went caught behind off left arm spinner Woolley but Srivastava carried on in fine style before he was lbw to Woolley for a splendid 61.
So with the score at tea 162-6 Lancashire had high hopes of dismissing the visitors for around 200, but it was not to be as number eight batsman Nathan Baker became top scorer and the hero of the day with a well struck 82 runs, sharing a good partnership with left hander Zach McGuigan, who scored 32. The visitors all out score was a very respectable 296 from 82 overs showing that they had strength in depth.
After our departure play must have gone on until a very late hour as Lancashire batted for a further 21 overs and scored a useful 107-1 at the close. So 103 overs in the day when play did not start until after 12.30 with a lunch and tea interval as well certainly took some doing. An example to Test cricketers perhaps. Sadly with the game evenly poised I imagine that day two would have produced no play at all due to the heavy morning rain which was forecast to persist all day. The Australians move on to St Peters School, York on Wednesday to take on Yorkshire Under 19s as part of the annual festival.