Southowram are hoping firsts can follow lower teams’ lead

Things are looking up for Halifax League club Southowram, who in the space of six days have booked two appearances on a big stage.

The Ashday Lane club’s firsts may be bottom of the Premier Division but the Rams are assured places in the spotlight in the Twenty/20 competition and the Crossley Shield.

A quarter-final victory over Triangle last Tuesday in the shorter form of the game was the first tonic but the seconds capped that with a dramatic bowl-off success over Sowerby Bridge in the Shield semi-final last Sunday.

A game originally scheduled for Bridge a fortnight earlier was switched to Southowram with Walton Street still suffering the effects of the recent floods.

A major mopping up operation was required to get the match under way on time at Southowram but only half a dozen overs were possible, with the visitors making a promising start with the bat, before rain sent the players scurrying from the field.

It quickly became apparent that no further play would be possible, forcing a bowl-off.

Home second team captain Dave Jowett hit with his second delivery and that looked as if it might be enough as Bridge’s first nine efforts failed. However, Sunday Section chairman John Sunderland was on target with the final shot for the visitors.

That meant sudden death and Bridge were left cursing their luck when Darren Chapman’s second delivery clipped the top of middle stump but failed to dislodge the bail.

Eventually Safir Hussain - one of the league’s top bowlers but eligible for the Shield after work commitments - hit the stumps to take Southowram through.

They will meet Warley in both the Shield final at Triangle on Sunday, August 19 and the semi-finals of the Twenty/20, which is scheduled for flood-hit Copley on Sunday week. SBCI will face holders Jer Lane in the other last four game.

Southowram spokesman Peter Jowett said of the Shield success: “It’s good news for Southowram but it did leave a bitter taste because we would rather have played a full game.

“There was nothing we could do - we did well to get the match started.”

Jowett said the club’s Kiwi Matthew Scott had been the star of the Twenty/20 win against Triangle and spirits had been raised by the knockout competition victories, aided by the successful staging of the club’s Ramfest music festival.

The next step was to get the firsts firing in the Premier Division. “They have been playing some good cricket and not been winning,” he said.