So, off to Rochdale for our first league fixture against one of the new teams to play a game that was expected to be hard fought but probably for different reasons than transpired.
A match played on a pitch that only a mother could love was always going to be difficult for the batsmen but, having won the toss, Tom decided to bat on a pitch that looked like it was only going to worsen as the match progressed.
The pitch seemed to have the upper hand initially with Steve Oddy bowling perfectly in the conditions and cleaning up most of Ramsbottom’s top order including the Pro for an LBW.
Through all this Parton prevailed. Playing and missing to some aplomb he managed to dig in and once joined at the crease by Robert Read, with the score at 34-4, the fightback began.
Having missed the opportunity to bat the previous day at Todmorden, the scene of their most lionised partnership, Parton and Read put up a dogged display reaching 72 before Bob was caught on 16. Fielding senior then enjoyed himself facing the spinner Avery hitting a quick-fire 25 and once he fell Dale came in to play his usual cavalcade of shots as he finished on 16 not out.
Playing what Michael Everett described as “the innings of his career”, Tom would finally be out after scoring 58 off 131 balls. Whilst hyperbole is sometimes cheap, this was, without doubt, a captain’s innings by Tom and setting the home team 142 to win, on a wicket that can only generously be described as bland, was a magnificent performance by the whole team.
Onto this pitch and into his bowling wet dream strode Matthew “The Bird” Burdaky. After taking a couple of overs to set his rhythm, Birdy really hit his stride. Supported by fellow opening bowler, Jonny Fielding, Matthew would grab his second senior five-for with a passing nod to a superb catch on the boundary by Simon Hanson which dismissed the Rochdale pro with mere inches to the boundary to spare. Fielding would end with figures of 3-16 whilst Seni, in his last game for Rammy would end on 2-8 of 3 overs as Rochdale were bowled out for 77.
With 12 points in the bag and only 8 points off the top of the league, this was a fine game to say farewell to the pro and whilst Burdaky rightly got the plaudits for his bowling, the stand between Parton and Read set the tone and foundations for a magnificent victory.
Finally, credit has to be given to the Umpires in getting the match played in poor conditions and an ugly forecast.