Hyndburn's junior town teams have finished this year’s fixtures against town teams from the rest of Lancashire with mixed success.
The Under 13 side lost narrowly by 11 runs against Ribble Valley in their first game, despite Rishton’s Bradley Boddie scoring a stylish 47 and Enfield and Lancashire player Lewis Wright taking four wickets.
Hyndburn then bounced back in impressive style to complete three resounding victories to qualify for the Regional competition as group runners-up.
Against Burnley, Matt Roberts (Oswaldtwistle Immanuel) opened with a fine 43 and a third-wicket stand of 85 between Lewis Wright (58) and Rishton’s Nathan Sharrock (30) took the side to an imposing total of 182-5.
It was too much for Burnley who were bowled out for 38 with Rishton pair Boddie and Sharrock taking seven wickets for seven runs between them.
In the third group game Fylde were skittled for 42. Sharrock again took four wickets and Lewis Wright, Bradley Boddie and Francis Kinsella (Immanuel) chipped in with two wickets each.
Hyndburn knocked the runs off for the loss of just one wicket in 12.4 overs with opener Matt Roberts scoring an unbeaten 21.
In the final group game played at Accrington, Hyndburn faced a strong Lancaster and Morecambe team who had also won their previous two games and both teams needed a win to progress to the next stage of the competition.
Hyndburn were additionally handicapped with the loss of skipper Wright on Lancashire duty, but the team rose to the occasion and won convincingly by 48 runs.
Batting first, Hyndburn posted a solid total of 157 all out with six players making double figures.
Boddie scored 29 and Sharrock hit seven boundaries in a quick-fire 39.
Aggressive bowling and attacking fields reduced Lancaster to 61-8 and despite some late hitting they were finally bowled out for 109.
The wickets were shared around with Boddie (3) and Great Harwood’s Matthew Bunn (2) being the most successful bowlers.
One of the most impressive aspects of the side’s group performances was the quality of the out-fielding and catching, with wicket keeper Richard Staines (Baxenden) taking seven catches and conceding only seven byes in the series of games.
The Under 13s will now play Wyre District in the semi-final of the Lancashire District Cricket competition.
If successful they will play the winners of the other semi-final between Ribble Valley and Pendle. They have also qualified for the quarter-final of the Hacking Trophy which is a county wide competition involving Merseyside and Greater Manchester.
The inexperienced Under 11 side featured in what was undoubtedly the most exciting of the group games at South Shore CC against Blackpool.
Hyndburn struggled to 101 all out but stuck to their bowling task admirably, with captain Matthew Oddie (Great Harwood) taking 4-9 and they gradually whittled away at Blackpool’s batsmen until four were needed off the last over with one wicket to fall. A good piece of fielding led to a run out and Hyndburn claimed victory by two runs.
The team also won against Lancaster and Morecambe in another low scoring encounter played at Rishton CC.
Hyndburn bowled the visitors out for 80 with Oddie and Ossie’s Jordan Kelly taking three wickets each. Enfield’s Alfie Cook hit 25 as Hyndburn passed the winning post with three wickets to spare.
In other games Hyndburn lost to Burnley and in a rain affected game, against Blackburn and Darwen.
Hyndburn’s Under 15 side were unfortunate enough to have two games abandoned because of weather and lost the other two games.
Runs were at a premium for the team with no-one passing 20 in either of the completed games.
Liam Smalley (Accrington) took three wickets in the opening encounter against Ribble Valley but with a number of younger players in the squad the team will be looking for stronger performances next year.