Lancaster University men’s cricket first team are hoping to put the disappointment of a narrow Roses defeat behind them, as they head to into the summer with hopes of league success. After two fixtures so far, both the first and second teams lie third out of the six teams in their respective divisions. It’s a case of mixed results for both sides, having each lost one and one won in their opening matches, meaning there is still a lot to play for in the rest of the season.
Despite a disappointing defeat in their opening fixture of the year to Liverpool firsts, Lancaster firsts were quick to bounce back with a commanding victory which took opposition Manchester thirds to the foot of the table. Lancaster batted first, getting bowled out for a solid 179 runs before dismissing their Mancunian opposition for just 106, to claim their opening victory of the season. Lancaster took the early advantage with the bat and put themselves in a commanding position through a 37 from Andrew Zimmer and an equally vital 34 from Dave Tubby. Star batsman Marley Ali was able to settle the nerves further, a comfortable 33 stretching the Lancaster total. Nevertheless, Manchester kept taking wickets and Lancaster were only able to reach 179 before being dismissed. The 179 total looked a difficult total for Manchester thirds to beat and so it proved. Some poor batting on Manchester’s part gave away early wickets, whilst a fine bowling display, particularly from Ben Ingham, put Lancaster in the driver’s seat. An impressive six wicket haul from Ingham stopped any Manchester hopes in their tracks, as they could only muster 106 all out.
Despite this impressive win for the firsts, it followed an initial setback of a poor defeat to Liverpool firsts the week previous. Tough Liverpool opposition stopped Lancaster from ever gaining momentum, and despite skill with the ball, they were unable to capitalise when in to bat. Wickets were spread around, with Basim Basheer, Adam Senn, Ben Ingham and Andrew Zimmer all in on the act, bowling Liverpool out for a very reachable 131. However, exquisite bowling from Liverpool and some sub par batting from Lancaster ultimately led to a defeat. The collapse of the top order started an inevitable decline and defeat for a team that struggled to get enough runs, bowled out for only 97.
First team bowler Sam Dyson spoke to SCAN, highlighting that with only two matches down there is still a long way to go, and the team must concentrate on each match as it comes. “Well we still want to push for the league and so it’s important we win the remaining games, with Manchester seconds and Man Met firsts in the next few weeks likely to be tough opposition.”
Despite some strong bowling displays, Dyson made it clear that he feels improvements need to made in the batting department. “Bowling and fielding wise we have been very good restricting teams to low scores and putting ourselves in a good position, but the batting is what has let us down the most so far, with no one having made a 50 or a decent score yet.” The first team showed their shortfall with the bat at Roses as well, finishing an agonising three runs adrift of York’s total.
The second team however made up for the Roses disappointment with victory over York, but have had similarly mixed results so far this year. The latest fixture saw Lancaster seconds unable to surpass Chester firsts’ 155-6 total, only being able to score 121 before being bowled out. This result was a setback after an impressive opening fixture, demolishing Manchester’s fourth team. Lancaster bowled them out for just 86 with Brindley and Baker each taking three wickets, as well as important quick wickets from Cooper and Guhatakurta. With the bat, Lancaster were equally impressive and able to easily surpass the Manchester total, making 90 for the loss of only two wickets.
Even with a mixed start to the season, Dyson hoped that the strength in depth of Lancaster’s squad can bring them league success, despite the difficulties of exam period. “The squad we have is strong and we have the potential to put out two very good teams each Wednesday, which would leave good players out, however availability at this time of the year is a major issue, which means this isn’t always possible.” The first and second teams both sit third in their respective leagues, but will be hoping for victories against Manchester seconds and Cumbria firsts respectively in their upcoming fixtures.