|Accrington Cricket Club|
It was back to Earth with a bump for Accrington who finished in tenth place in 2010 with just nine victories after winning the title in the previous two seasons. Only one of the first five matches ended in victory including the Ron Singleton Colne Trophy match at Ramsbottom where Accrington lost after a valiant attempt to pass the home sides 233-5 ended with defeat by losing more wickets after the scores finished level. The drier summer blunted the effectiveness of the bowling attack and the batsmen performed poorly throughout the season with Accrington passing 200 on just three occasions out of 84 registered double century scores. New professional Will Driver did all that could be expected with 834 runs at 36.3. He made his maiden league century against his former club Lowerhouse and hit five other half centuries. His off spin bowling claimed 33 wickets at 21.9 with a best of 6-66 against Lowerhouse. In a season that saw no fewer than 37 players pass the 500 run mark, only Graham Lloyd of the other batsmen achieved this figure. Lloyd made 612 runs at 27.8 with just one half century. He was out in the forties and thirties six times each. Simon Hanson came within a whisker of the 500 run barrier after a splendid start to the season that saw him putting in a strong challenge for the first Under 23 Player of the month award. Hanson began with an unbeaten 65 at Todmorden and by the end of May he had 296 runs. In the 20/20 competition he averaged an incredible 145 from three innings with two unbeaten half centuries made at the top of the order, but he only played two innings of any note after May, finishing with 476 runs at 19.0. All the amateur batsmen struggled with Matt Wilson finishing with 297 runs at 14.1 after a promising start. Stuart Crabtree and Graeme Sneddon both struggled for runs after blossoming in 2009. Crabtree made 200 runs at 9.4, only finding some form after being dropped to the seconds, a fate that also befell Sneddon after making 163 runs at 9.6. Andy Greenwood finally won a place in the side and played some promising innings to average 15.3. Matt Schofield also showed some promise. Skipper David Ormerod again passed 50 wickets, finishing with 55 at 21.0. Paul Carroll took 30 at 19.8, Jimmy Hayhurst 23 at 36.7 and Damian Clarke 16 at 21.9. The 20/20 competition at last provided some highlights with wins over Enfield, East Lancs and Rishton, but Church proved too strong. Defeat in the Worsley Cup at the hands of eventual winners Colne in the second round was one of three against the league's next to bottom side. League wins against East Lancs and Todmorden were the highlights but the record 292 run defeat at Haslingden and the embarrassing 193 run hammering at Enfield are best forgotten in a disappointing campaign.
With a new captain in Jimmy Hayhurst, a new professional in Ashar Zaidi and the return to form of Graham Lloyd, Accrington won the Holland Cup for the first time since 1989 after finishing as runners up to Lowerhouse in 2011. The team won 18 matches with 2 No Results and six defeats to finish with 218 points, 30 adrift of Lowerhouse who clinched the title in their penultimate game. New professional Ashar Zaidi was a revelation with his zest for runs and wickets. Zaidi began with a match winning bowling performance of 7-42 whilst bowling medium pace in the opening match against Rishton in the absence of David Ormerod, but most of his 68 wickets at 15.2 were taken whilst bowling slow left arm spin. His contrasting batting styles were also evident early on with his 174 at Rawtenstall made in free flowing style whilst his unbeaten 72 against Todmorden the previous day was made with the utmost responsibility. In all he scored 1015 runs at 59.7 with two centuries and eight half centuries and he also snapped up 17 catches, mostly off his own bowling. Accrington made a league record 386-6 at Rawtenstall on May 1st with Zaidi putting on a league record 5th wicket stand of 247 with Lloyd, who made 112. Zaidi's 174 was the highest innings of the season and his other century was the first by an Accrington player at Ramsbottom. The return to form of Lloyd once again helped to steady an often sinking ship. The former Lancashire man played nine match winning innings in scoring 635 runs at 42.3. Seven different players opened the batting with eight different combinations used with only two half century stands being recorded all season at the top of the order, the best of which was 66 on the opening day by Simon Hanson and Andrew Greenwood. The wheel turned full circle with this pair re-instated at the top by the end of the season. Hanson made 396 runs at 18.8 and Stuart Crabtree 296 at 14.1 with an unbeaten 65 at Todmorden the highlight. Graeme Sneddon (215 at 12.6), Matt Wilson (165), Mitch Taylor (154) and Marley Ali (137 at 13.7) also chipped in but the early order was brittle with too often four or five wickets down in the 50s and 60s. David Ormerod once again passed 50 wickets for the 14th time (five for Accrington, nine for Bacup), finishing with 59 victims at 20.9 and skipper Hayhurst took a personal best 34 at 20.3. Bryn Hargreaves bowled a lively spell in the last match at Lowerhouse with Taylor and Ali also used during the season sparingly. Four of the first five league games were won with a No Result at Bacup setting the side back when every other match was played. A narrow defeat at Ramsbottom was followed by another Worsley Cup exit at the first hurdle at the hands of Todmorden and defeat at East Lancs in the 20/20 which again proved decisive. A run of five wins in league and 20/20 was halted by back to back defeats by Enfield which cost Accrington the league leadership and a semi final spot in the shorter format. The team got back on track with another run of five wins which was halted by bogey team Nelson at the end of July. Fine wins at Nelson and Todmorden gave Accrington renewed hope but defeats to Ramsbottom and Church on the same weekend effectively ended the club's title winning chances.
Accrington retained the Holland Cup in 2012 again finishing as runners up to double winners Lowerhouse with seventeen wins and six defeats. Jimmy Hayhurst began the season as captain but stood down in mid July due to work commitments with Graham Lloyd standing in for the rest of the season. Five successive wins got the campaign off to a great start and Worsley Cup wins over Colne and Nelson took the team into a semi final for the first time since 2008. Accrington were well placed when the semi final was abandoned. After an historic win at Lowerhouse ended the champions great home record, four defeats in six games saw Accrington go out of the cup and fall off the pace in the league. The team plugged away and embarked on a run of ten games without defeat - seven wins and three no results to go to the top of the table. Four maximum points wins put the pressure on Lowerhouse who needed five points from their final match to prevent Accrington taking the title as they had done so memorably in 2009 at Liverpool Road. It was not to be as Accrington's hour long spell at the top ended when Lowerhouse deservedly clinched the title on their home ground. Professional Ashar Zaidi was the linchpin of a three man bowling attack, taking 83 wickets at 10.9 with ten five wicket hauls. David Ormerod topped 50 wickets for the sixth time for the club and Jimmy Hayhurst enjoyed his best season with 36 wickets at 16.7. Zaidi didn't have as good a season with the bat as in 2011, but he finished with a flourish hitting half centuries in two of the last three matches to total 625 runs at 28.4 with two centuries. Aijaz Shah had good first season being the leading run scorer with 394 runs at 19.7. He also took some useful wickets in league and cup. Graham Lloyd became the first Accrington amateur to hold five catches in an innings in the penultimate match against Rishton. He took 17 catches during the season to finish as the league's top outfielder. Lloyd also hit 350 runs at 29.2 with two half centuries in sixteen innings. Stuart Crabtree (326 runs at 17.2), Simon Hanson (267 runs at 13.3), Andy Greenwood (215 runs), Matt Wilson (179 runs and 22 victims), Graeme Sneddon (131 runs) and Marley Ali (126 runs) also chipped in.
Further wins at Enfield and Burnley coupled with a home win over East Lancs meant that Accrington were 24 points clear after six games. The win over East Lancs was Accrington's tenth in a row thus creating a new club record. The club fell at the first hurdle in the Worsley Cup at Rishton but avenged the loss seven days later with a 54 run win, Simon Hanson making an unbeaten 98. The young all rounder's fine start to the season earned him the Lancashire League Under 23 Player of the month award for April/May. A 56 run win at struggling Church increased the gap to 22 points.
Zaidi's second century of the season helped Accrington to a second win over Burnley this time by 98 runs. Zaidi hit 121 in Accrington's highest ever stand against Burnley - 187 for the 3rd wicket with Aijaz Shah (61). It was Graeme Sneddon's turn to be the match winner at Rawtenstall where the winning run hit ten for the season with the left hander hitting an unbeaten 60 in a 6 wicket win. The gap became an amazing 29 points after an 8 wicket win over bottom side Colne at Thorneyholme Road After bowling the visitors out for 95, Accrington needed just 8 overs to register win number fifteen in a row as the threat of rain loomed.
The long winning run ended at fifteen with a 20 run defeat at Ramsbottom and the lead was reduced to 21 points the following week after a second successive defeat at East Lancs, but both defeats yielded four vital bonus points to minimise the damage. Interest in the 20/20 competition again ended at the Group stage after losing the opening match at East Lancs. Wins over Rishton and Church gave the club some hope but rain washed out the final match at home to Enfield.
Normal service was resumed when Accrington beat Rishton for the twelfth time in a row in the league this time by 30 runs increasing the lead to 23 points. New signing Sam Excell top scored with 44. The big game at Lowerhouse the following week again went the way of Accrington to increase the lead to an incredible 35 points with 11 matches to play. Half centuries by Graeme Sneddon and skipper Graham Lloyd along with David Ormerod's 1300th Lancashire League wicket and Zaidi's 50th of the season did the trick.
It took a huge slice of luck to maintain the lead with a 1 wicket win at lowly Bacup. Last man David Ormerod was dropped off his first ball but he hung on as Simon Hanson hit the winning runs. A 9 wicket hammering of Nelson the following day increased the lead to 40 points.
The return match with Bacup proved to be a formality as Accrington strolled to a 93 run win and set a new club record with a tenth successive home win. The rematch with Nelson proved to be a different proposition though as the rain contrived to put the home side in the box seat. Accrington were going well on a difficult wicket when their innings was terminated on 184-5 in the 45th over with Zaidi on 82 looking set for a century. Rain reduced Nelson's target to 117 from 23 overs and with just 8 required off the final over there looked to be only one winner. With one ball to go just 1 was needed for victory but Zaidi threw down the wicket to take Accrington to within 38 points of an eighth Lancashire League title.
Zaidi won the race to 1,000 runs with a century against Todmorden but rain intervened for the first and only time to end Accrington's run of home wins. At this point it was announced that Zaidi would not be returning in 2014. Fears over how this would affect his performances were soon dispelled with a brilliant match winning unbeaten 138 at Haslingden which took Accrington to within 8 points of the title with five matches to play.
The championship was was clinched in classic fashion the following Sunday with a home win against defending champions Lowerhouse who sportingly applauded the new champions from the field in front of a packed pavilion in the evening sunshine.
A first home defeat of the season by Church was followed by a 50 run win over Enfield on the day that the trophy was presented to a jubilant Graham Lloyd.
Following a 63 run win over second placed Ramsbottom all that remained was a final day trip to Colne and the little matter of Bobby Simpson's 54 year old club batting record. Going into the match, Zaidi needed to score 90 runs to break one of the oldest batting records still standing and when he was 40 short with just 48 needed for victory Simpson's record looked safe. It was then that Zaidi launched himself at the inexperienced duo of Kenton Rhodes and Joel Duerden to power past the record in fairytale fashion. It was the last ball of Rhodes over at 5.13pm that Simpson's record finally fell with Zaidi running a single that ended with a joyous leap of celebration. Zaidi hit thirteen fours and four sixes from just 66 balls. He earned his share of luck when he was dropped on 11.
Accrington's final margin of victory was a record 55 points accrued from a club record 22 wins and just three defeats. Accrington also won a club record ten successive home matches prior to the No Result against Todmorden.
Defending champions Accrington had to be content with a sixth place finish in 2014, winning fifteen and losing eleven in picking up 193 points. New professional Ockert Erasmus had a fine season scoring 977 runs at 61.1 with eight half centuries. Ten of his 26 innings were unbeaten. Erasmus also took 70 wickets at 16.6 with six five wicket hauls. In all matches he scored 1211 runs at 57.7 and he took 83 wickets at 15.7. The season began with a triple header. Following defeat in the LCB Cup 1st Round at Church on Good Friday, Accrington retained the Ron Singleton Colne Trophy with an 8 wicket home win over Burnley. Ramsbottom were despatched in style on the opening Sunday but a surprise defeat by East Lancs the following Saturday served as a reality check. Three successive wins took Accrington to the top of the table but following defeat in the Worsley Cup 1st Round by Lowerhouse, Accrington lost the leadership after defeat at Ramsbottom. Further losses to Church and Enfield saw Accrington drop out of contention although a fourth place finish was a possibility until defeat in the final home game by Haslingden saw the visitors clinch that spot. Sam Excell had an outstanding season with the bat, scoring 520 runs at 23.6 with three half centuries. Simon Hanson hit 456 at 19.8 with two half centuries and Ramiz Hussain hit 326 at 18.1. Skipper Stuart Crabtree's season was disrupted by an eight game ban which restricted him to 270 runs. Graeme Sneddon hit 251, Bryn Hargreaves 201 and Jacob Clarke 121. Matt Wilson claimed 24 victims and hit 169 runs. Graham Lloyd signed off with an unbeaten 95 against Rishton, hitting 216 runs at 54.0 before announcing his retirement due to his First-class umpiring duties. Jimmy Hayhurst had his best ever season with the ball taking 46 wickets at 18.8 with a best of 6-39 in the absence of David Ormerod who played just two matches due to a shoulder injury. Hanson also had his best season with the ball taking 30 wickets at 24.7, Clarke took 13 wickets and Hargreaves 8.
The two outstanding individual performances by amateurs were both made by Accrington players in 2015. Jacob Clarke turned in figures of 8-35 at Todmorden on July 4th and seven days later skipper Graeme Sneddon hit 152 at Rishton. Sneddon's innings was the highest score by an Accrington amateur since Billy Ormerod hit an unbeaten 169 against Haslingden in 1905 and Clarke's figures were the best by an Accrington amateur since 1927 when Alec Jackson took 8-20 at Enfield. Accrington again finished sixth in 2015 winning fourteen and losing ten matches finishing with 179 points. Of the fourteen matches that Accrington won, professional Ockert Erasmus made a major contribution with the bat in nine of them, averaging 81.7 in making 735 of his total runs. Erasmus became the thirteenth Accrington professional to reach 1,000 runs in a season, making 1058 at 62.2 with two centuries and nine half centuries. Only Bobby Simpson (103.1), Ken Archer (93.0) and Eddie Barlow (62.5) have a better career average than Erasmus (61.7) of the club's regular professionals. Erasmus also took 70 wickets at 15.5 with five five wicket hauls, including 7-46 at Rawtenstall. The season began badly with only one of the first six matches ending in victory. The season turned with a nail biting win at Rawtenstall in the Worsley Cup with the club reaching the semi final after beating Bacup in the 2nd Round. The team's best spell began with a win over Ramsbottom but ended after the win at Rishton which was the sixth in a row in the league. The following day the club suffered a humiliating defeat at Nelson in the Worsley Cup semi final, being bundled out for just 51 just hours after piling up 316-5. New signing Keiren Grimshaw was the leading amateur run scorer with 410 at 21.6. Skipper Graeme Sneddon, who took charge in mid May, scored 400 runs at 19.0 with one half century added to his epic knock at Rishton. Former skipper Stuart Crabtree made 322 runs at 18.9, recovering his touch after an enforced break, Ali Hasham hit 246 at 14.5, Jon Hayhurst 192 at 17.5 with a senior best 58 against Rishton and Jimmy Hayhurst hit 128 at 14.2. Jacob Clarke emerged as an all rounder to be reckoned with, hitting 373 runs at 17.8 with two half centuries and taking 36 wickets at 18.7. Matt Wilson had his best season with the bat since 2008 hitting 314 runs at 14.3 and claiming 25 victims behind the wicket. Jimmy Hayhurst had his best season with the ball, taking 43 wickets at 18.2 with two five wicket hauls and David Ormerod picked up 31 wickets at 25.5. Keiren Grimshaw also chipped in with 8 wickets.
Ockert Erasmus' third and final season at Accrington in 2016 saw the club drop down to joint eleventh place with seven wins, thirteen defeats and six No Results. Erasmus achieved two league bests during the 2016 season but overall it was a season of disappointment with a total of 624 runs at 31.2 with an unbeaten 112 in his final innings for the club against his former club East Lancs the highlight. Ockert's career best bowling figures of 8-21 against Bacup were the best of the season by any bowler. In all he took 45 wickets at 17.0 in his last season at Thorneyholme Road. The highlight of the season, which began with three defeats, was the win over Ramsbottom in August when Accrington became the only team to beat the club who would go on to become champions in the Lancashire League's final traditional season with fourteen clubs before it expands in 2017. Eighteen year-old Keiren Grimshaw was the leading run maker with 506 runs at 24.1 with four half centuries. Grimshaw also took 5-12 in the Worsley Cup defeat by Church which were the competition's best bowling figures by an amateur but he only took another 3 in the league. The club changed captains mid way through the season with Erasmus taking over from Graeme Sneddon. Jimmy Hayhurst took 27 wickets at 20.7, David Ormerod 20 at 21.0 and Jacob Clarke 17 at 27.5. Clarke also hit 260 runs at 11.8. Sneddon made 351 runs at 16.0 with one half century. Only three amateurs made half centuries, the other being Simon Hanson who made a promising start on his return from the professional ranks but then faded to finish with 237 runs at 11.3. He also took 7 wickets at 33.7. The Hayhurst brothers chipped in with the bat with Jon making 154 and Jimmy 125. Stuart Crabtree also made 136 runs in another suspension curtailed season. New wicketkeeper Alfie Taylor finished the season with 21 victims.
Days (1846 - 1890)