Accrington Cricket Club

Put to the Test (1990 - 1999)

Since the heady days of 1989 when Accrington were runners up in both competitions, apart from 1990, the club has gone through its leanest period on the field since the Second World War. The club has however, employed the services of two young players in this period who have gone on to become leading Test players.

After losing the first game of the 1990s, Accrington won the next three. Andy Barker scored 101 not out in the home win over Ramsbottom to become the first amateur to score a century for the club since Graham Beech in 1981. Barker and Billy Rawstron put together an unbroken 2nd wicket stand of 144 to win the match. Accrington finished 4th in the league with 80 points which included 17 wins and a tie. The tied game was the last match of the season at runaway champions East Lancs. Needing 214 to win, Accrington were coasting at 170-3 after 39 overs with Billy Rawstron and Robert Haynes in control. Rawstron (57), Mark Demaine (0) and Haynes (26) were dismissed to leave Accrington 190-6 with three overs left. Paul Barratt took 13 off Paul Reiffel's 19th over which meant that 11 runs were needed off two overs. Six runs came from Haworth's last over leaving Accrington needing 5 to win with 4 wickets standing. Panic set in and three run outs in the last over meant that the game ended in a tie with only 4 runs being scrambled. Robert Haynes scored 691 runs and took 88 wickets in his last season as professional. Andy Barker achieved the club's second highest ever amateur run aggregate with 763 runs at 38.2 and Billy Rawstron (423) and Nick Marsh (468) also passed 400 runs. Mark Greenhalgh had a good first season with 18 wickets and Ian Birtwistle (36 wickets) and Steve Juliff (25 wickets) supported the professional very well.

Shane Warne
A young unknown Australian leg spinner from Victoria was signed as professional for 1991. Shane Keith Warne enjoyed a good season with the ball, taking 73 wickets at 15.4 each, but he only scored 330 runs at 15.0 The season started badly with four successive defeats in the league. On Sunday May 12th, Accrington entertained Ramsbottom in the 1st Round of the Matthew Brown Worsley Cup. Accrington batted first and made 166 all out. Paul Barratt (30), Nick Marsh (26), Mark Greenhalgh (23) and Mick Wilson (19) in a rare appearance, were the main contributors. Ramsbottom seemed to be coasting home at 78-0 when Accrington captain Andy Barker, after trying five different bowlers, turned out of desperation to Nick Marsh who had never before taken a wicket at 1st team level. Marsh obliged by having Ian Bell caught behind by Mick Wilson for 43. Even though Shane Warne dismissed Ashworth at 94, it seemed a mere hiccup. Rain intervened and play closed at 107-2 after 32 overs.

Play resumed on the following evening with Ramsbottom needing 60 runs to win off 18 overs with 8 wickets remaining. Martin Whittle dismissed Heaton and Simpson and then Shane Warne returned to have Brian Taylor stumped by Wilson without scoring. In a superb spell, Warne dismissed both Bryson and Dearden to leave the game in the balance. With one over to go, Ramsbottom needed 9 to win with 3 wickets left. Warne's first three balls beat the bat but Fielding hit the fourth ball for six. In trying to repeat the shot, Fielding was stumped by Mick Wilson to leave Ramsbottom needing 3 to win off the last ball. Warne's delivery was missed by Haslam to give Accrington an unlikely first win of the season.
Match scorecard

Accrington went out of the cup in the next round at Burnley when Warne (51) scored his first half century for the club. Illness and abandoned games meant that Shane only played in one more game before June 29th, the first league win of the season against East Lancs at home when he took 4-44. The break seemed to do him good because in his next two games he took eleven wickets, 6-63 at Rishton and 5-35 at Ramsbottom, but unfortunately the team weren't winning. The second victory of the season was at home to Enfield with Warne taking 2-36. He also enjoyed a good game at Rawtenstall, taking 6-49 and scoring 33. The beginning of August at last brought another win, again at home, with Warne taking 5-36 against Colne. He also took 5-69 at Bacup the following day, but once again Accrington were beaten. In the next double header a fortnight later, Warne took 9 wickets, 4-58 against Rishton and 5-50 at Haslingden when he also scored 51. Colne were again defeated the following week when Warne took 6-33. Shane was called home early to prepare for a forthcoming tour, so he played his final two games for Accrington in the last weekend in August. He took 6-27 at Lowerhouse and the following day at home to Burnley, he took 1-72 in 20 overs and scored 27, batting at number four. Soon after leaving Accrington he gained a place in the Australian Test side and has since gone from strength to strength. A highly successful tour of England in 1993 brought him 34 Test wickets, including the legendary ball that turned the series against Mike Gatting. Shane took his 200th Test wicket in his 42nd Test in late 1995. Accrington finished the 1991 season in 13th place, having won only five matches. Paul Barratt had his best season, scoring 597 runs at 24.0, Billy Rawstron scored 537 runs and Nick Marsh 466 runs. The bowlers struggled with only Paul Seedle taking 20 wickets, but at a very high cost.

Old magic
Dipak Patel, the former Worcestershire all rounder, was signed up for the 1992 season. Dipak, 33, had emigrated to New Zealand where he went on to play Test cricket for his new country. He was a right handed middle order batsman and an off spin bowler. Opening batsman Bob Collins had joined the club from Haslingden and Andy Barker and Billy Rawstron left. Accrington had another poor season, finishing 10th in the league. Patel scored 720 runs and took 66 wickets. Nick Marsh (509 runs) and Bob Collins (556 runs) had excellent seasons, but generally lacked support from the other batsmen. Mark Greenhalgh continued his progress, taking 35 wickets and scoring an excellent 51 not out against Rawtenstall. The season ended with a convincing win over champions Ramsbottom with Robert Haynes returning in place of the injured Patel to weave some of his old magic. He scored 53 and took 4-55 in a 51 run win.

1993 saw a slight improvement with the team notching ten wins and securing 9th place in the table. The professional was 23 year-old Neil Johnson from Natal. Johnson, a left handed early order batsman and right arm fast medium bowler, scored 806 runs and took 70 wickets. Last seasons stars shone again with Bob Collins (466 runs), Nick Marsh (357 runs) and Mark Greenhalgh (34 wickets, including a hat-trick at Nelson) again leading the way. Young off spinner Justin Greenwood made his mark towards the end of the season and finished on top of the Lancashire League bowling averages with 10 wickets at 9.9 each. All Justin's wickets came in September, the outstanding performance being his 5-28 at East Lancs.

Rock bottom
The 1994 and 1995 seasons were virtually identical, bottom of the league with four victories in both seasons. Barbadian Sherwin Campbell was signed as professional for 1994 with high hopes. A 23 year-old early order attacking batsman, very highly rated in the West Indies, Sherwin didn't fulfill the club's expectations until the following season when he had a very successful tour of England with the West Indies Test team. In his season at Accrington, he scored 495 runs at an average of 21.5. In the 1995 Test series, he scored 454 runs at 45.4 for the West Indies against England. Mark Aspin returned to the club at the beginning of the 1994 season. He had an outstanding season, scoring 624 runs at an average of 31.2 and taking 41 wickets at 26.6 each. Mark also took over as captain part way through the season after Nick Marsh resigned. Martin Whittle (469 runs) and Paul Barratt (431 runs) also had excellent seasons. Bob Collins suffered a broken finger in the second match and missed the rest of the season. Mark Greenhalgh also suffered injuries which restricted him to eight matches, although he still managed to take 27 wickets at 12.8 each.

The first win of the season was at Church. Accrington batted first and scored 136 with Whittle (38), Campbell (26), Aspin (26) and Barratt (22) being the main contributors. Church were 20-5 in the 11th over with Mark Greenhalgh having the outstanding figures of 5-9 in 6 overs. He finally finished with 7-26 as Church were bowled out for 112. The other high spot in the season was the home win over Enfield in August. Enfield were bowled out for 183 with Mark Aspin taking 5-65. Accrington won the match by 4 wickets thanks to 76 not out by Aspin. Russell Edmonds, Tofiq Khan and Justin Greenwood all gained valuable experience in the 1st team.

Collectors item
All rounder Colin Miller from Tasmania and South Australia was signed for the 1995 season. 31 year-old Miller, a right handed lower order batsman and right arm medium fast bowler was only the third player in the history of the Lancashire League to do the double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets when he was professional at Rawtenstall in 1990. Colin had a fairly successful season at Accrington, scoring 628 runs and taking 68 wickets, in spite of missing five matches through injury. Mark Greenhalgh joined eventual champions Rishton at the start of the season and Mark Aspin left the club in July. Colin Miller scored the first century for the club by a professional since 1988, when he hit 103 at Colne in the Worsley Cup and Paul Barratt scored a career best 103 not out at Rawtenstall in July. Paul's century made him the first player to score a hundred for the club at 1st, 2nd and 3rd team level. Russell Edmonds (65) hit his maiden half century in the win over Colne, and in July, Len Dewhurst took a hat-trick in his 5-93 at Nelson. Of the four victories, two were over Enfield. Paul Barratt scored 70 in the 4 wicket home win and Colin Miller scored 77 not out in the 7 wicket victory at Dill Hall Lane. Colin's final wicket for the club in the 9 wicket defeat by Ramsbottom was a collectors item. Changing to left arm over the wicket, he trapped Ian Bell leg before. Colin had an Indian summer to his career after taking to bowling off spin, he went on to play Test cricket for Australia after switching states to Victoria. During the season, Mark Aspin scored 367 runs, Russell Edmonds 308 runs, Martin Whittle 282 runs and Brian Holmes 239 runs, including a 33 ball half century at Burnley.

150 not out
In 1996 the club celebrated its 150th year. On the field, Accrington's 103rd Lancashire League campaign was not a successful one. Once again, the team finished in bottom place, winning five matches and gaining 3 bonus points to earn a total of 23 points. The season was beset with problems. Attempts to sign a top class professional, in first Shane Warne (who initially approached the club) and then Peter Sleep, both ended in failure.

The eventual signing of South African Chad Grainger was so late that a substitute professional in Steve Dublin, had to be engaged for the first fixture. Availability of players was also a problem and the appointed captain Brian Holmes resigned in mid season and did not play again. His successor Paul Barratt had limited availability due to family commitments, so Mark Stevenson was asked to captain the side. Professional Chad Grainger was a right handed batsman and a right arm medium pace bowler, who in the 1994-95 season had scored 588 runs at 45.2 with a highest score of 233 for Transvaal back home in South Africa. Chad often got out going for big shots when a steady innings was needed. Although he did not tailor his batting to the needs of the team, he did score 828 runs at 34.5, including a century at Nelson, and he also took 37 wickets at 24.0.

Innings of the season
The outstanding innings of the season was Russell Edmonds' 101 at Colne. At 18 years, 11 months and 11 days, Russell became the youngest Accrington player to score a Lancashire League century. Russell also won the Lancashire League Under 23 Player of the month award for August. During the season, Russell scored 305 runs at 17.9. Paul Barratt (422 runs at 26.4) and Mark Stevenson (360 runs at 15.6) were the pick of the batsmen and Scott Greaves, who along with Stefan Heins and Wayne Roberts was one of three recruits from Rishton, took 26 wickets at 27.3 was the pick of the bowlers.

The season began with five defeats in the league. The first win was in the Worsley Cup against Colne, when a good team effort secured a 2nd Round tie at Bacup. Scott Greaves took 5-66 in Accrington's 3 wicket win. The first league win was a low scoring affair over East Lancs. The second was a convincing 7 wicket win at Church when an inspired spell by Scott Greaves reduced Church to 5-4 and 29-6. Scott eventually finished with 6-37 as Accrington won again at Rawtenstall, but normal service was resumed when the next five matches were lost. The low point in the season was the home defeat by Rishton, when Allan Donald took 7-3 to dismiss Accrington for a miserable 18.

Defeat loomed again in the next home game when Ramsbottom needed 4 runs to win and the heavens opened. The game was replayed the following Saturday. Ramsbottom batted first and were soon in trouble at 61-5. Chad Grainger scored 94 to help his team to a 5 wicket win. The final victory was in the last match at Burnley when a good team effort saw Accrington end 1996 in style.

New Zealand Test batsman Nathan Astle was signed as professional for 1997. At 25 years of age, he was rated as one of the top One Day batsmen in World Cricket. Nathan only played 7 innings in the league due to international calls and then Nottinghamshire wanted him as a replacement for their injured overseas player. The club agreed to his release and were financially compensated. Peter Sleep took over, scoring 382 runs at 34.7 and taking 49 wickets at 16.9. After a promising start with Astle in good form, the club finished in 11th place with 47 points. Eight matches were won and there was one tie, the first since 1990. An Astle century at Burnley in the second match helped Accrington to their first win of the season, but apart form the returning Billy Rawstron, the other batsmen weren't offering much support to the professional. After losing to Werneth in the new Inter League Challenge Trophy and Enfield the following day, Mark Stevenson resigned the captaincy and was replaced by Billy Rawstron. The club had an influx of players from Enfield. The experienced Mahsooq Ahmed, Mushtaq Ahmed, Kazar Shazad and Zahir Afzal made their league debuts for the club. Leading amateur run scorer was Billy Rawstron with 349 at 24.9 with Mas Ahmed hitting 256 at 32.0 and Stefan Heins 202 at 14.4. Nathan Astle managed 327 at 46.7 and 21 wickets before departing for the Midlands. Tariq Hussain took 32 wickets at 13.7, Steve Juliff 29 at 16.4 and Scott Greaves 22 at 17.7. Russell Edmonds left to join Enfield in August and there were debuts for Adam Greenwood and Richard Burrows.

Professional for the 1998 season was Western Australia wicketkeeper Ryan Campbell, who came to the club with a reputation for quick scoring. Campbell scored 824 runs at 45.8, including an unbeaten 157 at Rawtenstall and 108 at Colne. The match at Rawtenstall was won but the game at Colne was drawn in line with revised rules that had been brought in at the start of the season. Campbell's innings at Rawtenstall lasted 34.2 overs and his runs were made out of a score of 203-3, batting second. In the match at Colne, Campbell and Paul Barratt (71*) put on a club record 140 for the 4th wicket. Another spectacular piece of batting saw the club win an Inter League Challenge Trophy match for the first time at Heywood. Chasing 191 to win, Campbell smashed 148 with 15 boundaries and six sixes in a 4 wicket victory. Campbell missed five matches in August to join an Australia A tour of Britain. In addition to his firecracker batting, he also picked up 37 wickets at 19.8 each. Steve Juliff was the only amateur bowler to take 20 wickets. Paul Barratt was top batsman with 352 runs at 23.5 with Zahir Afzal contributing 213 runs down the order. Steve Juliff took over the captaincy from Billy Rawstron, who retired again due to work commitments. Three wins and 11 defeats meant a return to the bottom of the table with a total of 69 points.

Unusual feature
In 1999, New Zealand professional Mark Bailey became the seventh player in the history of the club to score 1,000 runs in a season. Bailey was 28 years-old and had played for New Zealand in One Day cricket. Back home he played for Northern Disticts and was a right handed batsman and right arm medium pace bowler. Although the club finished just one place higher up the table with a total of 116 points, there were many memorable moments. Bailey finished up with 1049 runs. At one stage it looked as though he would threaten Bob Simpson's 40 year-old club record after a golden fortnight in July when he scored all three of his centuries. The sequence began at Bentgate with Bailey hitting an unbeaten 141 in a match that was lost by 7 wickets. The following Saturday, Bailey made an unbeaten 74 in the defeat at Nelson, but the following day, things took a turn for the better with a huge win at Rishton. Batting first, Accrington made 238-5 with Bailey hitting 147 and Mas Ahmed 62 in a club record equalling stand of 221 for any wicket. The team score was also a club record for overs matches in the Lancashire League.
Match scorecard
Another win over Rawtenstall the following Saturday saw Bailey score his only century at Thorneyholme Road. An unusual feature in this match was the fact that two amateurs, left arm spinner Damien Clarke and Zahir Afzal, both took 5 wickets. The professional had a quiet spell after that, in fact he didn't pass 50 again as he crawled past 1,000 runs. Bailey also took 41 wickets during the season at 24.9. Tariq Hussian (49) and Zahir Afzal (42*) put on a club record stand of 85 for the 8th wicket against Lowerhouse at Accrington. Wicketkeeper Mark Burns and Matt Wilson, who would take up the gloves the following season, both joined the club. Burns had an excellent season, finishing with 31 victims and 226 runs. Wilson hit 227 runs, Mas Ahmed 484 runs at 30.2 and Mus Ahmed 301 runs, including a superb unbeaten 73 in the final match at Turf Moor, when Accrington beat Burnley by 1 wicket in a nail biting finish. There was another change of captain during the season, the sixth successive season that this happened, with Mas Ahmed taking over from the injured Steve Juliff.

The New Millennium (2000 - 09)
Back to Earth (2010- )
Junior Success
Accrington and District League Days

Early Days (1846 - 1890)
In league with the best (1891 - 1910)
The road to glory (1911 - 1916)
Between the wars(1919 - 1939)
Rockin' and rollin' into the 50s (1940 - 1958)
Champions again (1959 - 1964)
Rising stars (1965 - 1973)
The Worsick Era (1974 - 1983)
The Bumble is back (1984 - 1989)

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