The last double header weekend of the season began with the visit of Radcliffe to Hare Hill. Any ideas that fourth from bottom Radcliffe would capitulate against a strong Littleborough side was proved wrong as this game turned into a classic as Littleborough clung on to win by just three runs.
Littleborough got off to the worst possible start as Davies 9 was struck on the pad from Heaton. Jackie Hunter joined Shackleton needing to regroup following the early loss of Davies. Both batsmen were very circumspect at first but they soon began to go through the gears.
Radcliffe Professional Cec Abrahams was the partnership breaker as he removed Shackleton 15 as he was beaten for pace and was bowled. Rae 15 and Williamson 14 both got starts but couldn’t provide the large partnership that was needed to enable the Boro to put the game beyond Radcliffe.
Carter 1 and Maden 3 went cheaply as Radcliffe were now in the ascendancy, but could Hunter and Jack Taylor take Littleborough to a challenging total? Only time would tell…
Hunter needed was now “between a rock and a hard place” as he needed to score quickly but Littleborough did not have the batsmen left “in the shed” to allow him to play with any degree of flamboyance.
The century was passed without incident as Radcliffe used various bowling combinations to trouble the current batsmen. Taylor was supporting Hunter splendidly but at 120 disaster struck as Hunter was caught by Heaton off Johnson for 54 as he played a rare loose shot.
Taylor was now needing batsmen to bat with him but Hobbs 2 and Halliday 3* were the only batsmen able to assist Taylor who ended on 12* as Littleborough closed on 137-8 from their 35 overs.
Visiting professional Cec Abrahams had every batsman in varying degrees of trouble and finished with excellent figures of 12-2-43-5 to give Radcliffe the advantage at the tea interval.
Radcliffe needed to score at only four runs per over and as a consequence Littleborough needed to field and bowl extremely well to prevent defeat. Carter and Hunter turned the game totally on its head as Thompson 3, Abrahams 4 and Bickley 3 were back in the pavilion with less than twenty runs on the board.
Carter was bowling with great venom, which had the batsmen hopping around the crease and scoring off him was off fortunate edges or the throwing of the bat. Radcliffe needed someone to try to win the game with Howarth and Sutcliffe now at the crease, both began to play more obdurate innings in an attempt to tame the Littleborough pro.
Howarth was soon out for 12, caught off Carter by fellow bowler Halliday. What followed is the significant partnership which got Radcliffe ahead of the clock and back in the driving seat. Burton joined Sutcliffe and fought fire with fire and dispatched all bowlers to all parts of the large Hare Hill ground.
The more comfortable the batsmen became the further the ball travelled until with the score at 92 Burton was run out whilst trying to keep the strike. Johnson carries the total to 115 when both followed in quick succession. Carter had the stumps of Sutcliffe cartwheeling down the pitch ending a fine rearguard action as he made 41
Carter removed Johnson at 125 but the visitors were firm favourites. Unfortunately for Radcliffe they lost the remaining wickets quickly as Heaton 7, J. Whitworth 6 and Ramsbottom 0 to end the innings at 134 with a solitary delivery remaining.
Littleborough only needed three bowlers with Halliday 3-0-21-0, Hunter 14-1-47-3 and Carter 17.5-2-53-6
The visit to face Milnrow at Ladyhouse was unfortunately abandoned without a ball bowled due to rain.