Illingworth power to Shield glory

Illingworth in Crossley Shield final
Illingworth in Crossley Shield final

Illingworth St Mary’s became the first team from the Halifax League’s third tier to win the Crossley Shield yesterday.

They made the most of home advantage to blitz Blackley from two divisions higher, bowling out the visitors for 73 and wrapping up an eight-wicket win in double-quick time.

It was Illingworth’s fourth success in a competition introduced in 1948 and sponsored this year by Covea Insurance.

Their previous wins came in 1981, 1982 and 1985 and they re-entered the Shield last year on their return to the Halifax League.

While Karl Gornall was left to reflect on a clinical performance by his side, Blackley will bemoan the fact that they failed to perform with the bat on their big day.

After the morning rain had cleared, things went Illingworth’s way from the word go.

Gornall won the toss, elected to bowl and his side were soon among the wickets.

Experienced opener Dave Townsend, who had made a round-trip of more than 600 miles from his holiday in Cornwall, shouldered arms and was bowled for four.

Hans Randhwana’s departure left Blackley 8-2 and although Neil Barraclough (17) and Omar Hussain (9) took the score to 34, both were out in quick succession.

Hussain fell to Asif Ali, who became the scourge of the visiting batsmen with a 5-19 return from his nine overs to give Jack Carson, the league’s events officer, little to deliberate about when selecting the man of the match.

Five batsmen failed to reach double figures and only three more made double figures with young No 10 Lewis Holt putting together a 12-run cameo to save a little face for Blackley after they had been 56-8.

Once the Illingworth opening batsmen had negotiated the opening overs there was no way back into the tie for Blackley.

The losses of Mark Smith (24) and Liam Kelly (0), both caught by Townsend off the bowling of Stephen McNamara with the score on 39, were only minor hiccups for Illingworth.

Opener Max Dawson (17 no) and Hamza Mehmood (23 no) combined to knock off the remaining runs and complete victory in a match spanning less than 46 overs.

Gornall’s men now return to the main business of their season, gaining promotion at the second attempt, buoyed by having a trophy in the locker.

Yesterday’s final venue had been decided before the start of this year’s Shield competition.

Illingworth v Blackley

Illingworth won by 8 wickets

BLACKLEY 73

D Townsend b Smith 4

N Barraclough lbw b Fearnley 17

H Randhwana c Mellor b Fearnley 0

O Hussain b Ali 9

K Adamson b Ali 13

N Asif c Kelly b Smith 12

C White lbw b Ali 0

S McNamara c Patchett b Ali 0

A Langton b Ali 0

L Holt b Smith 12

C Heppenstall not out 0

Extras 6

Bowling: M Smith 5.4-3-14-3, B Fearnley 9-2-19-2, A Ali 9-3-19-5, K Gornall 4-0-20-0, M Curran 1-1-0-0.

ILLINGWORTH SM 77 for two

M Dawson not out 17

M Smith c Townsend b McNamara 24

L Kelly c Townsend b McNamara 0

H Mehmood not out 23

Extras: 13

Bowling: A Langton 3-1-20-0, L Holt 3-1-10-0, C White 3-0-12-0, S McNamara 4-1-8-2, C Heppenstall 2.5-0-15-0, K Adamson 1-0-1-0.

Did not bat: D Patchett, M Watson, A Ali, K Gornall, A Mellor, M Curran, B Fearnley.

Umpires: J Hyland and H Sandland