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Top start for Tana's men

CRICKET: ACCRINGTON are enjoying their spell at the top of the Musbury Fabrics Lancashire League - and hope they can stay there longer than the opening week of the season.

SUCCESS . . .New Zealander Tama Canning
SUCCESS . . .New Zealander Tama Canning

ACCRINGTON are enjoying their spell at the top of the Musbury Fabrics Lancashire League - and hope they can stay there longer than the opening week of the season.

"We are now the team to knock off," joked captain Matt Wilson, who was impressed with their opening day win over Colne - the only match to survive the weather.

"It is the first time we have won our opening game in 14 years. Hopefully, that is a good omen for the season. Our season began last weekend and everyone else's begins this weekend so we are hoping we can capitalise on that."

The Thorneyholme Road side - who finished second-off-bottom last season - are at home to Ramsbottom tomorrow and travel to Burnley on Sunday aiming to build on the win.

And they are hoping professional Tama Canning continues his rich vein of form after he re-signed for Accrington. The New Zealander saw off Colne with an unbeaten 73 - with five sixes in his 96-ball knock - in a reduced 41 over match.

"We always fancied playing the game as we knew the conditions were okay and that Colne had a bit of a scratch side,"continued the skipper.

"And Tama did well. I think he has calmed down since he was last here a few years ago and instead of going out all guns blazing, he took more responsibility. I guess he has grown up a bit. But he said, after the game, that we hadn't played to our best and could play better."

Colne had set Accrington 135-9 with Canning also starring with the ball taking 3-38. Canning came in to steady the ship after opener Moshim Ahmed fell for three to a great ball from Colne paid man Mark Cleary.

And he and Adam Wilson could have put on a bigger score than their 38 if Wilson - who hit two boundaries - had not been controversially given run out. A shot by Canning was deflected onto the stumps by Cleary. The unsighted umpire gave Wilson out after talking to the umpire at square leg.

Adam is the brother of skipper Matt and, after a brief spell out of cricket, decided to return. The pair had played together at Rawtenstall.

"It was controversial but we are glad to have Adam here," said the captain. " We have struggled for an opener in recent years and Adam is just that. We have been reliant on Mohsin."

Another paid-man who saw some action was Rishton's James Franklin who sub-proed for East Lancs in the Colne Trophy against Rawtenstall on Saturday. The match wasn't finished but the New Zealander got an unbeaten 97. Rishton are at home to Rawtenstall tomorrow and travel to Colne on Sunday - one of only two teams the bottom club beat in the league last season.

Enfield are reliant on sub-pro's again this weekend with Alviro Petersen still involved in the 20-20 competition in South Africa.

They have M Smith for their game at Bacup tomorrow and Pierre Joubert at home to Lowerhouse on Sunday.

And Church will hope to see big-hitter Ruven Peiris in action when they visit Lowerhouse tomorrow and then are at home to Bacup on Sunday.

In the Veka Ribblesdale League, Great Harwood won the first local derby of the season in an exciting finale with a tight one-wicket win over Baxenden on Saturday.

Professional Andy Crook carried on where he had left off last season with an unbeaten 83 and a vital last wicket stand of 30 with Stuart Maher to overcome the target of 172-4.

Pick of the Harwood bowlers was Chris Ramsker with three crucial wickets although Baxenden pro Jon Harvey threatened to topple last season's runners-up with an impressive 68 and 5-52.

Baxenden make the trip to Harvey's former club Earby tomorrow with Harwood at home to Edenfield.

Oswaldtwistle Immanuel could do little against a powerful Read side who once again are tipped to take the league title. Gerald Metcalf's men were shot out for 71 with sub pro Mark Price - as Immanuel still wait for Indian pro Raja Ali to arrive - top scoring with 17.

The Ossy bowlers found hot shots Terry Little and Craig Walton in top form and it was a ten wicket win for the defending champions. Ali is expected to arrive this weekend - there has been an unfortunate delay - and the skipper is hoping for better from his side as they travel to Padiham tomorrow.

"Read didn't really have to play well against us as we did not bat well," said Metcalf. "71 is never going to be enough against a side like Read. It was a bad defeat for us."


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