Accrington Cricket Club

East Lancs 153-8, Accrington 152-8 dec
12th September 1970

Accrington 1970
Accrington 1st XI 1970

Going in to the final round of matches Accrington were still in with a chance of lifting the title. The club were in third place on 55 points, 1 point behind Enfield in second place who were in turn a point behind leaders Burnley (57). Defeat at East Lancs in the final game saw Accrington drop down to fourth place after the clubs above in the table and Rawtenstall all secured wins. Bruce Francis top scored with 68 in his final match for the club. The Australian hit six fours to finish with 1101 league runs at 61.2, including two centuries and eight half centuries, also topping the league batting averages. Francis went on to play for Essex in 1971 and 1973, touring England with Australia in 1972, playing three Tests in the 'Fast and Furious Ashes Series'. Fellow opener Geoff Hayhurst was the first man out after East Lancs had put Accrington in to bat. Hayhurst was trapped in front by Roger Sharp (2-49) at 10. The opener had enjoyed his best ever season forming a highly effective opening partnership with Francis. The left hander hit 592 runs at 31.2, improving his career best score five times during the season in making four half centuries. At this point in time only three amateurs had made more runs in a season for the club than Hayhurst. So impressive was the form of Hayhurst that he was chosen to replace the unavailable Eddie Slinger in the Lancashire League team to play the International Cavaliers at Alexandra Meadows in July. Unfortunately the match was rained off. Bob Ratcliffe joined Francis adding 44 for the 2nd wicket before being caught by Sharp off professional Mike Pawley (3-45). Ratcliffe also had his best season to date hitting 274 runs at 22.8 and he also picked up 10 wickets at 25.1. Two runs later Russ Cuddihy was caught by Jim Kenyon off Pawley for 2. Cuddihy ended the season with 359 runs at 18.9, including successive half centuries a match winning career best unbeaten 84 at Rawtenstall followed by 71 against Enfield the next day. Sharp also trapped Brian Rutter without scoring at 58. Malcolm Taylor (18) helped his professional take the score to 108 with a 50 run stand for the 5th wicket. Pawley removed Taylor and Alan Richardson fell to Ian Houston one run later. Francis fell to Kenyon at 136 after hitting six boundaries in his innings of 68. Kenyon bowled Terry Neville for 3 at 140 leaving skipper Eddie Robinson (17 not out) and Ian Birtwistle (4 not out) to take the score to 152 and the declaration. The home side got to 38 in reply when Mike Crowther was run out for 16. Skipper Brian Ratcliffe fell to Alan Worsick three runs later for 21. Worsick also enjoyed his best ever season taking 83 wickets at 10.8 with seven five wicket hauls, winning the Lion Brewery Award. His figures of 8-53 against Haslingden were the season's best by an amateur. He also took 7-30 at Rishton and 7-50 at Bacup. In all matches Worsick took 98 wickets. With leg spinner Robinson also taking 75 wickets at 14.2, the pair took an amazing 158 wickets between them. Birtwistle also took 34 wickets at 16.6. Robinson had David Adams caught by Hayhurst without scoring one run later. Kenyon and Wayne Cooper (21) took the score to 92 when Cooper fell to Birtwistle. One run later Robinson held a return catch off Pawley (1). When Kenyon fell to Birtwistle for 28, East Lancs were struggling on 93-6. Ian Hope (2) was stumped by Terry Neville off Birtwistle at 104 to bring the wicketkeeper level with Jack Collier's club record victims of 40 set in 1960. Brian Bowling hit 19 before becoming Neville's record breaking 41st victim of the season off Robinson at 116. Things were going to plan for Accrington with East Lancs struggling on 116-8 but Houston hit a match winning unbeaten 32, adding an unbroken 37 with wicketkeeper Ray Kelly (4 not out) to secure a 2 wicket win in just 31 overs and consign Accrington to fourth place at the end of a memorable campaign. Scorecard

If you have any memories of 1970 please email Nigel Stockley