Domestic sports of the Plough Islands (read-only)

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The Plough Islands
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Democratic Socialists

Domestic sports of the Plough Islands (read-only)

Postby The Plough Islands » Wed Jan 01, 2020 4:50 pm


Hello! This thread will contain background information about the domestic sports of the Plough Islands (more information on the islands themselves can be found here) and, from time to time, results from competitions held within the country. The majority of posts will concern cricket, but future updates may contain other sports such as rugby football, curling, gymnastics, sailing, athletics, and potentially others. Please feel free to contact the author if you have any feedback or questions!

CRICKET (more information)

Cricket is by far the most popular sport in the country, approaching the point of being a national obsession. While it may seem odd that a game conventionally associated with class-based elitism and bourgeois recreation would be the national pastime in an egalitarian, socialist state, the sport has a rich history on the islands that is interwoven with the country's past. Cricket would have been known to the first British settlers of the Plough Islands in 1750, and it certainly seems to have been played on the islands for almost as long as people have lived there. Most settlers made a living crofting or fishing, with their leisure time strictly controlled by often exploitative relationships with the early colonial elite; under the circumstances, and aided by the long, cool, gently breezy, and rainless days of the Celestial Ocean spring and summer, cricket quickly became the sport of choice, and has been documented as early as the 1840s.

By the start of the 20th century, as in the motherland, cricket was firmly established at the centre of Plough Islander life, and the demographics and culture of the colony had caused the sport to develop in its own way, aided by the local environment being very different from much of Britain. The slow-growing grasses and lichen-heavy, spongy soil characteristic of the local flora gave rise to pitches that, compared to the parched strips at Ko-oren's Southbight Ground or the meticulously rolled track at Liventia's Park Central Oval, provide little pace but plenty of grip and turn on even a fresh ball. The typical Plough Islander bowling attack therefore often consisted, and often still consists, entirely of spin bowlers, which led to games being low scoring and dominated by long, tactically played innings.

With the formation of the Plough Islands Cricket Association in 1920 and the first formal, all-colony tournament in 1928, cricket became a national obsession and spectator sport on the islands, with thousands of people watching matches in the new Harrison Cup and the visit of a MCC team to play an exhibition match against a PICA Select XI drew 20 000 spectators to Sutton's Hanover Park ground; at the time, this represented the largest gathering of people in any place in the history of the colony. This record was only broken after World War II, when increasing left-wing agitation led by Gabriel Sutcliffe's Party of Socialists of the Plough Islands culminated in mass rallies in Sutton on the eve of the 1957 elections, which ultimately led to the islands attaining independence as a Marxist-Leninist socialist state in 1960.

The upheaval that immediately followed independence led to the departure of around a third of the newly independent country's population, predominantly the elite and landowning classes, and the expropriation of private property by the Socialist government. However, despite some initial fears, the Socialists prioritised the interests of cricket - many of the new cabinet being keen players, and Sutcliffe in particular recognising the potential of sport as a unifying force when having to essentially weave an independent Plough Islander identity from whole cloth. The newly state-owned PICA even maintained a relative independence rather than coming under the direct control of the Ministry for Culture and Society, as all other sports and leisure activities did. Indeed, Sutcliffe's social reforms almost enhanced the role of sport in the lives of ordinary Plough Islanders, with the new state's hostility to religion and control of the alcohol supply making the local sports club, rather than the demolished church or shuttered public house, the centre of social life in many small communities.

While at local level the game continued to thrive, the national team became somewhat moribund as the severing of the colonial and geopolitical relationship with the United Kingdom also meant the severing of all sporting links, and for the next few decades the Plough Islands Cricket Association existed for little else other than the maintenance and perpetuation of the domestic competitions. Though external developments did make their way into the country from time to time - a formal limited-overs competition and four-day first-class games arrived in 1970, and coloured uniforms for the latter were adopted in 1990, partially to coincide with the beginning of domestic colour television - regular international competition did not fully restart until Global Cricket Federation affiliation in 2018, which saw the revived national team make their full Test debut against Lisander that July.

That match, which ended in a draw, was watched by a capacity crowd at a specially enlarged December Park (as Hanover Park became known following independence) in the capital, and subsequent Plough Islander participation in international competition has been followed with great interest by their comrades and countrymen. With a small, isolated, and highly motivated community, the Plough Islands' connection to cricket often goes beyond mere interest; in a population of just a hundred and forty thousand virtually every household has or knows someone who plays competitively. This contributes to an often convivial atmosphere at games from Test match down to board league level, with little distinction made off the pitch between those playing and spectating.

There are two main domestic competitions run by the Plough Islands Cricket Association. The Harrison Cup is a first-class competition, made up of six teams, who represent regional cricket boards that are associated with one of the main islands in the chain, or - in the case of Sutton & Avalon and Swift - multiple islands or parts thereof. Players for the cricket board sides are drawn from clubs based within the area covered by each board, with a selection committee generally picking the team with input from coaching staff. These teams also contest the Sutcliffe Shield, the PICA's limited overs competition, which features four additional teams which represent the three branches of the Plough Islander armed forces and the University of the Plough Islands. These are restricted to recruiting from members of the institution in question; it is, therefore, possible for a player who happens to be a service member or student to represent one team at first-class level and a different team in List A games.

More information can be found below:

Despite the early popularity of cricket, most competition prior to the early 20th century was informal and highly local in nature, and often within or between cricket clubs that began to form in the main towns of the islands. It was not until the formation of the Plough Islands Cricket Association in 1920 that competition shifted from an inter-settlement to inter-island focus, with the first match featuring representative island teams being played in the 1919 season between Bradford and Swift. This was formalised in 1928 when Sutton-based merchant Godfrey Harrison sponsored the formation of an inter-island competition, donating the trophy that bears his name today.

Gradually, following a number of formats and a number of different amounts of teams in its early years, the competition solidified into a home and away league starting in the mid 1930s. This was played on alternate weekends to club matches during the summer months in the islands, and with the remote George Island (known since independence as Pine Island), who won their only games in 1933 and rarely played a full season, last playing a Harrison Cup match in 1951, the area ultimately became considered for cricketing purposes as part of Swift. As the area with the biggest player pool and containing many of the best facilities, including those in the colony's capital, Sutton, Swift dominated the competition in the years following World War II, and won 11 titles across the 14 seasons immediately preceding independence and the transformations that followed.

While all around it there were changes and departures, even of the cup itself (competitions since 1964 have been for a new, modernist trophy of the same name), the Harrison Cup title continued to be competed for and continued to evolve. With changes to working patterns, matches were optionally extended to four days, starting on the Friday of a weekend, beginning in 1964, and this was made a permanent feature in by the end of the decade. The most substantial change to the competition's format came in 1973, when the up to seven island-delimited teams were reorganised into six; Redcliff, Bradford, New Dalmatia and New Hibernia retained their teams, but the area of Swift surrounding and encompassing Sutton was split away from the Swift Island Cricket Board to field a new, merged team with nearby Avalon.

The basic format of six teams in a single league has persisted since then, with some minor refinements in the years since; the schedule has been through several iterations, most notably contracting to a double round robin in the 1990 season to allow for a summer break, although the number of games played by each team has varied at times. It is fom 1973 onwards that the 'modern' era of Plough Islander cricket has been generally defined, and this is the period that the Global Cricket Federation has retrospectively conferred first-class status on.

1973: Swift
1974: Swift
1975: Swift
1976: New Hibernia
1977: Swift
1978: New Hibernia
1979: New Hibernia
1980: Sutton & Avalon
1981: Bradford
1982: Redcliff
1983: Sutton & Avalon
1984: Bradford
1985: Bradford
1986: Redcliff
1987: Sutton & Avalon
1988: Swift
1989: Bradford
1990: New Dalmatia
1991: New Hibernia
1992: New Dalmatia
1993: Redcliff
1994: Sutton & Avalon
1995: Redcliff
1996: New Dalmatia
1997: Swift
1998: Redcliff
1999: Redcliff
2000: Sutton & Avalon
2001: Swift
2002: Sutton & Avalon
2003: Swift
2004: Bradford
2005: Swift
2006: New Dalmatia
2007: Redcliff
2008: Sutton & Avalon
2009: Sutton & Avalon
2010: Sutton & Avalon
2011: Swift
2012: Bradford
2013: Swift
2014: Sutton & Avalon
2015: Redcliff
2016: New Dalmatia
2017: Redcliff
2018: Redcliff
2019: TBA
Ironworks Ground, Redcliff

The banded crags and dips of the Great Red Cliff's rhyolite give Redcliff both its name and its worth; the iron and nickel-rich rocks make Redcliff the Plough Islands' industrial heartland, and its economy is heavily based on mining and manufacturing. Besides the shipyard at Marsh, the eponymous city of Redcliff - located inland and up on the slopes, just about where the bedrock changes - produces, according to some estimates, some 80% of the country's industrial and consumer goods, as well as hosting the country's technical skills college and one of two major hospitals. It was here, as well as among the intelligentsia of Swift and the farmers of Bradford, that Marxism first took root, and the sounds of revolution found and continue to find a ready audience among the highly practical population.
Redcliff have, in the Ironworks Ground, by some distance the most batting friendly wicket on the islands, and side after side has been built to exploit this to their advantage by taking their time to restrict their opponents while fielding, and simply playing them out of the game otherwise. And so it was to prove in 2018; despite the lack of a stable bowling attack, Graeme Holt and Adam Kalantas were able to score heavily in games where it mattered and Paul Donaghy's side lost just one match as they regained the title they last won in 2015. While the core of the team is starting to show its age - Donaghy says this will be his last season as captain - they remain a potent force, capable of batting deep into a match whoever their opponents.

Foxdale Sports Club, Foxdale - Crossroads Athletic Club, Crossroads

Even before independence, Bradford had a reputation for agriculture, and the collectivisation of the island's extensive wheat and potato fields and goat ranges only increased this; what had been an economy predicated on landowner exploitation of the peasant classes became the breadbasket of the new country, aided by the rich soils produced by the same quirk of geology that gives rise to neighbouring Redcliff's most distinctive feature. Farming dominates most of the landscape outside the central highlands, but the heart of the island is in the valleys of the west coast, with the gentle hollows of Foxdale and Silverdale being among the first to be inhabited by settlers, and it is from here that the earliest surviving records of formal cricket matches date.
Despite this importance, Bradford could be fairly said to have underachieved in domestic cricket through the years; the board and coaching teams in Foxdale have generally preferred to take a pastoral approach to player development and welfare rather than chase succes. However, with left-arm spinner Naomi Salisbury moving to join a small nucleus of national team players that includes combative all-rounder Audrey Leggett and wicketkeeper Leanne Martin, captain Kevin Laing has reason to be quietly confident about this season's prospects. Salisbury adds bite to what has always been an economical bowling attack, and the team can count on vocal and unwavering support from Foxdale and the rest of the island.

December Park, Sutton - Recreation Ground, Avalon

Sutton & Avalon are two very distinct regions; the former is the political, economic, and cultural capital of the Plough Islands, and to visitors can be the only part of the country - save possibly Redcliff - that feels anything but rural, with the city of approximately 30,000 having defined suburbs and even some relatively high rise buildings, with spikes of Stalinism and Brutalism nestling among the 18th and 19th century colonial architecture. Across the XXX Sound it faces Avalon, which despite its proximity to the capital is a quiet, sedate community even by local standards, so named for the island's initial appearance to the first explorers; bathed in light in the midst of an ethereal mist. (As guidebooks recount, this ultimately proved to be a lightning-sparked forest fire and the first colonial experience with the pervasive Plough Islands sea fog)
Despite its location and history - even discounting the capital's highest concentration of people in the country, Avalon in its own right has a strong cricketing tradition - the Sutton & Avalon Cricket Board have struggled to harness their available resources at times, and so it is proving of late. Despite the consistency of Andrew Baxter and David Heath with the ball, they have all too often suffered from top order weakness in their batting, and have also seen many of their games peter out into draws from a winning position on a flat and poorly suited December Park pitch. While new captain Robin McCulloch has been trying to pick and choose home grounds to their advantage, Sutton & Avalon could see their season hold or perish by their ability to put a total together.

Lainemouth Athletic Club, Lainemouth - Waterfalls Athletic Club, Waterfalls - Independence Cricket Club, Alioth

The 1973 reorganisation of the cricket board areas affected Swift the most; as the most populous and arguably most developed island in the chain and home to the national capital, Swift had a natural advantage in the competition, one which the splitting off of the Sutton area initially failed to correct. The area of the board now centres on the island's second city Lainemouth, a port and university town on the north coast founded by Finnish explorers in 1760, and also includes inter alia the natural wonders at Waterfalls and the oil processing former fishing community of Arcturus, reflecting the diverse range of human activity on Swift, as well as the hamlet of Alioth in the country's smallest district, Pine Island.
While since the turn of the millennium Swift had traditionally come off worse in the occasionally still bitter rivalry with the capital, in recent years there has been a reversal of the trend for promising players to switch their eligibility to Sutton & Avalon, largely due to the latter's inconsistency and the tactical soundness of Patricia Goldfarb's captaincy. A physical education lecturer at the University of the Plough Islands, Goldfarb has made good use of the university's resources to bolster Swift's first-class side, aided by the mercurial talents of national team all-rounder and university graduate Shauna Weaver and Liverpudlian import Tim Bleasdale, and Swift's team in recent years is a model of how to apply limited resources to full effect.

Highrock Athletic Club, Highrock - Eleuthera Cricket & Social Club, Eleuthera

From the ocean, New Dalmatia can appear to be solely granite cliffs and untidy peaks, and this owes much to its location; facing the prevailing wind and ocean currents from the East directly, it and its sibling New Hibernia undergo more erosion than the other islands in the chain, lending themselves to a more barren, less inhabited landscape. The island's recent history has been shaped by the presence of the Plough Islands Air Force headquarters in the south, and by Premier Janet Highland's Vital Skills Programme, which brought in hundreds of skilled Soviet bloc migrants in the 1970s and 1980s.
While these new Islanders were often willing to assimilate, learning English and becoming a permanent presence at the cricket clubs and hobby associations of their new home, they made profound changes to the culture of the country, and New Dalmatia in particular, with bread soup and shashlik being staple foods and Slavic surnames predominating in places, particularly around the town of Eleuthera where many of them were first settled.
New Dalmatia have been occasionally described as being a white-ball specialist side of late; the Sutcliffe Shield champions for four of the last seven seasons, they have struggled for consistency in first-class games and were only kept off the bottom of the Harrison Cup table in 2018 due to an imploding Sutton & Avalon side. The emergence of Alec Fedorov and newly appointed captain Trevor Hill as middle-order anchors was their one ray of light, and they will be able to make greater use of Colin McCarthy's pace bowling to unsettle opposing sides with no Tests scheduled for the summer; as always, the conditions at the Highrock Athletic Club will prove especially tricky for visiting sides to navigate.

Southport Athletic Club, Southport - Peaceful Atomic Energy Welfare Association Ground, Crabble

The most southerly of the Plough Islands, New Hibernia is also its most unevenly populated; most of its population of around fifteen thousand inhabit the valleys and mountain passes in the south, with the entire northern half of the island - its pine-blanketed granite highlands unsuited for agriculture - preserved since 1963 as the country's largest national park.
New Hibernians traditionally made their living on the sea, but the fishing industry declined post-independence as foreign markets were closed and domestic fishing consolidated around the major population centres, leaving Southport struggling to compete with Sutton and Lainemouth. However, this was balanced by the decision to site the new country's first atomic energy facility on the old harbour at Crabble, which remains the source of most of the islands' electricity through two major upgrades since it opened in 1964. Though opportunities are now more plentiful, it is still seen as something of a backwater even by Islander standards and New Hibernians remain a determinedly hardy and creative lot.
For some time after their entry into the competition, New Hibernia were seen as alsorans, but enjoyed more success in the decades following independence; they won the first-class championship in successive years in 1978 and 1979 and were the surprise runners-up in last year's Harrison Cup; a record-equalling spell of 8-28 by offspinner Sarah Ashe against Swift saw the New Hibernians take second place on the last day of the competition. Captain Colin Williams has settled well in his role following the resignation of Nigel Hunter, and is generally seen as one of the best opening batsmen on the islands.

Plough Islands Air Force Welfare Ground, PIA Ishtar

Presently the pre-eminent of the three armed forces in terms of both budget and geopolitical importance - it is, after all, faster to patrol the seas from the air than in a boat - the Plough Islands Air Force has its headquarters at PIA Ishtar on the southern portion of New Dalmatia, and primarily watches over the country's airspace with a motley collection of small turboprop aircraft and helicopters augmented by a wing of slightly anomalous (and entirely superfluous except to look cool) ex-Soviet MiG-25 fighters.
It was the cricketing exploits of the Air Force, winning three New Dalmatian one-day championships in the early 1970s, that helped to gain forces' sides admission to the Sutcliffe Shield to begin with, and they remain the only side outside the island boards to win the competition; Flight Sergeant Cedric Douglas' century carrying them to a victory over Sutton & Avalon in the 1982 final. Although their exploits have been far more modest of late, they generally perform the best of the additional sides and have upset close rivals New Dalmatia on numerous occasions. Among their former players is a Flight Lieutenant DA Piper, an opening batsman from 1988-1993 - best known on the islands today as the country's Premier since 2016.

Shipwright & Seaman's Welfare Association Ground, Marsh

At independence, the Plough Islands Naval Force was the most prominent branch of the new country's forces, having inherited a modern ship fitting facility and vessels from Britain, but as air patrols became more cost-efficient its role and size dwindled in the years that followed. Today it primarily aids the logistics of island-to-island travel and performs search and rescue operations, generally finding itself fighting fog and darkness more than any hostile incursion. Its headquarters are in Sutton, but the main nexus of naval activity is the national shipbuilding hub of Marsh on Redcliff island, and it maintains a presence at the other end of the chain on New Hibernia, in Southport.
Naval cricket has not generally been a core part of a seaman's development - largely because balls hit into the Celestial Ocean are usually lost forever - but that is not to say the sport is not played, and the force's team have been responsible for some notable results; they finished third in their first season in 1978 and knocked out champions Bradford in 2010. However, more often than not they have made up the numbers in the competition, with success usually being defined as not finishing last in their group.

Constabulary Cricket Club, Gloucester

One of the more consistently puzzling - to outsiders at least - aspects of the Plough Islands is that it has no ground army. The reason for this is that, as an insular and occasionally paranoid socialist island state with little land area, there is no need for one; the only purpose it would serve would be to keep order. It was decided upon independence to merge that function into the colony's police force, producing the military-structured gendarmerie that is the Plough Islands Constabulary, which retains its mundanely practical role to this day.
Unlike the other two forces, the Constabulary has a widely dispersed membership across the country with a centralised leadership, with its main barracks in Gloucester, just outside Sutton, but little else; consequently, most cricketers among their number play outside the forces' sporting structure, and assembling teams for Sutcliffe Shield competition has always been a challenge. While never quite a pushover, they have never qualified for the semi-finals under the current format, and suffer from a lack of consistency with the team at its worst treated as an afterthought within the structure of the force. At their best, though, Constabulary officers can play as well as any of the civilian team - ask current national team off-spinner Sarah Ashe - and they can usually count on at least some crowd support wherever they may play.

Unversity Ground, Lainemouth - Lainemouth Athletic Club, Lainemouth

The University of the Plough Islands has its roots in the Carnegie College, opened by notable philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in Lainemouth in 1910; the Lainemouth-based institution - the site allegedly chosen by Carnegie himself - offered further education courses through correspondence with Britain, and developed both a pastoral approach to teaching and a reputation for leftwing activity in subsequent years; upon independence, it became the country's national (and only) university, providing an education in the arts, sciences, and Marxist theory to almost a thousand students, still centred on the former Carnegie facilities.
The Plough Islands do not have anything like the culture of collegiate sport that nations in North America have developed, but what sporting activity does take place is taken seriously despite the almost total lack of spectators, and cricket is played at a high level; in addition to the Sutcliffe Shield team, the University have played occasional first-class matches against full strength island board sides, normally at the beginning of the season. In contrast to the forces sides, they can rely on a constant stream of young, athletic players, and although this does rob them of some consistency, many Plough Islander international cricketers have featured in the University side over the years.

The author wishes to thank the following people, without whom this would have not been possible.
The Plough Islands Cricket Association and the Ministry of Culture and Society of the Plough Islands, for their assistance in compiling the records and statistics above and below and for their inspiration and encouragement in this endeavour.
Apox, building on the work of The Babbage Islands, for writing and making available ApoxBaller for the NationStates cricket community and for his patient help whe#DIV/0!
Ko-oren for spurring me on to do this in the first place.
Eastfield Lodge, Equestrian States, Recuecn, The Sherpa Empire, Siovanija and Teusland, Starblaydia, Timuria, and anyone I've forgotten (sorry!) for their feedback as I figured everything out.
The Ross Isles for providing inspiration - your newswire is brilliant and trying not to look like a bad ripoff of you spurred me on to do better!

Nations other than The Plough Islands or a forum moderator performing official duties may not post in this thread. Unless otherwise stated, all events and persons referred to within this thread are a work of fiction, and any similarities to real life are coincidental. This is a constant work in progress and as such all information contained herein is subject to change without prior notice. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and accessibility of all information in this thread; should any difficulties arise, please contact the author for assistance. Failure to follow the instructions of the umpire may result in excessive heat, fire, and serious injury. Also contains lanolin.
Last edited by The Plough Islands on Sun Jan 19, 2020 12:16 am, edited 5 times in total.
National team
Test rank: 6th
ODI rank: 3rd
T20 rank: 5th
Commonwealth of the Plough IslandsPopulation: 139,550Golden age, revealed today
See also: overview factbook, national map, domestic sports

User avatar
The Plough Islands
Posts: 218
Founded: Dec 02, 2017
Democratic Socialists

Postby The Plough Islands » Tue Feb 18, 2020 1:58 pm

2019 - PART 1

158 (66.2 overs)
Mitchell Taylor 42
Naomi Salisbury 4-23
229 (67.5 overs)
Andrew Barrett 77
Ian Miller 4-49
196 (80.4 overs)
Kevin Laing 90*
Aubrey Wood 3-41
192-7 (61 overs)
Leanne Martin 67
Laura Andreyev 2-22
Bradford at Redcliff
5th through 8th April 2019, Ironworks Ground, Redcliff
Redcliff won the toss and chose to bat
Bradford win by 3 wickets
Redcliff 0, Bradford 5

As the new season dawned over the Ironworks Ground, Naomi Salisbury, who had moved from the Sutton Docks to Foxdale over the winter and now plays for the Wooldale Co-operative Cricket Club with national teammate Audrey Leggett, made an almost immediate impact in her first Harrison Cup game for Bradford; after joining the attack an hour into the hosts' first innings, she trapped Redcliff captain Paul Donaghy plumb in front with her third ball, going on to take 4-23 as the reigning champions were dismissed for just 158 in their first innings. Bradford struggled initially in reply on what was a relatively unforgiving surface, losing opener Brett Scarbeck to Aubrey Wood for a second-ball duck, but captain Kevin Laing - dropped by Donaghy on just three - went on to make a battling unbeaten 90 that saw them take a lead of 38 into the second innings. Redcliff then struggled as Bradford tightened their grip on the match, with Ian Miller (4-49) and Salisbury (3-51) bowling well on the third day, restricting Redcliff's scoring opportunities with some good variations as only opener Andrew Barrett (77) made it beyond fifty, to set the visitors 192 to win. On a dry and already cracking pitch, this proved a challenge as wrist-spinners Wood and Laura Andreyev were able to get ample turn and took wickets at regular intervals, but Leanne Martin defied them with a well-crafted 67, and a battling unbeaten 38 from Leggett helped see Bradford to the target just before tea for what was a perfect start to the season for the visitors, and far from what Donaghy or Redcliff would have wanted.

Sutton & Avalon
403 (111.4 overs)
Matthew Davy 130
Colin McCarthy 4-69
139-9 (49.1 overs)
Robin McCulloch 70*
Colin McCarthy 5-42
New Dalmatia
409 (149.4 overs)
Alec Fedorov 186
David Heath 4-97
no second innings
no second innings
no second innings
New Dalmatia at Sutton & Avalon
5th through 8th April 2019, December Park, Sutton
Sutton & Avalon won the toss and chose to bat
Match drawn
Sutton & Avalon 2, New Dalmatia 3

At December Park, the typically flat and well-used surface failed to produce much for either team's spinners as both Sutton & Avalon and New Dalmatian bowling attacks toiled away, save for Colin McCarthy's total of nine for 111, in a slow, high scoring game. Matthew Davy and captain Robin McCulloch both scored centuries for the hosts in their first innings as they posted a formidable 403. Apparently keen to go bigger in response, New Dalmatia's reply consumed the best part of the final two days of the match, as - despite some early setbacks, losing captain Trevor Hill to a first-ball duck, and at one point 77 minutes passing without a run being scored - the visitors' middle order dug in hard. Ilya Lebed and Brian Radburn both made fifties, while Alec Fedorov led the way with a typically patient innings that took 440 balls to accumulate 186, and almost held on to the very end; he was the final wicket to fall, lbw to Davy. With little prospect of a result, and the points virtually decided by New Dalmatia's first-innings total of 409 just edging the balance, the match ended in bizarre fashion; apparently in need of batting practice, and with four first-class debutants in their side, Sutton & Avalon's top order played with little regard for patient score-building, showing unusual freedom and recklessness against the New Dalmatian attack. Consequently, wickets fell rapidly, with only the captain (on 70 not out) and last man Andrew Baxter hanging on until the close of play.

73 (24.5 overs)
Shauna Weaver 25
Matthew Merchant 4-20
232 (60.2 overs)
Tim Bleasdale 98
Sarah Ashe 5-63
New Hibernia
111 (69.3 overs)
Colin Williams 39
Angus Whittall 3-32
100 (32.2 overs)
Colin Williams 30*
Peter Martin 4-26
New Hibernia at Swift
5th through 8th April 2019, Lainemouth Athletic Club, Lainemouth
Swift won the toss and chose to bat
Swift win by 94 runs
Swift 4, New Hibernia 1

Swift captain Patricia Goldfarb, who had based most of her judgment on a ground inspection the day prior to the match, had chosen to bat first at a foggy Lainemouth Athletic Club, but when the mist cleared enough to allow play to begin, the hosts suffered an almost immediate, and fatal, top order collapse. It was unclear what part of the carnage was due to early season nerves and what was due to the conditions, but only Shauna Weaver (25) and the captain herself (17) were able to post double figure scores as Matthew Merchant (4-20) and Sarah Ashe (4-23) skittled them for 73. New Hibernia, however, were unable to capitalise as much as they would have liked, with Colin Williams (39) settling well from the start but struggling to hold on to partners for any length of time; after he was caught out on the boundary by Richard Oakes after a frustrated swipe, the momentum fell out of the visitors' innings and they were all out for 111. They then saw skies clear on the third day as Swift were able to put together a far stronger innings, with wicketkeeper Tim Bleasdale falling just two short of a century, and a late ninth wicket partnership of 46 between Bleasdale and Richard Oakes made the target for the visitors that bit more daunting. Set 195 to win, New Hibernia started well, but the final day again saw interruptions due to poor weather, and they fell victim to the constant stopping and starting and the same nerves that had befallen Swift at the beginning - resuming on 38-1 overnight, Williams could only watch as teammates fell around him, and Swift's Peter Martin took 4-26 on his first-class debut as New Hibernia could only reach 100 and had the win snatched away from them.

1 Bradford 1 1 0 0 1 5
2 Swift 1 1 0 0 0 4
3 New Dalmatia 1 0 0 1 1 3
4 Sutton & Avalon 1 0 0 1 0 2
5 New Hibernia 1 0 1 0 1 1
6 Redcliff 1 0 1 0 0 0

(R)ank, (M)atches played, (W)ins, (L)osses, (D)raws or ties, (B)onus points, total (P)oints
Four points are awarded for a win; two points are awarded for a draw or tie.
One bonus point is awarded for a first innings lead, halved if scores are level.
One bonus point is awarded in the event of a win by an innings or ten wickets.
Should two teams have the same total points, the team with the most wins is ranked higher;
if these are also equal, the position in question will be shared.

New Hibernia
184 (65.5 overs)
Cassandra Leynthall 58
Audrey Leggett 3-21
259-8 (62 overs, following on)
Nigel Hunter 105
Naomi Salisbury 6-57
458-6 (188.3 overs, declared)
Kevin Laing 212
Andrew Moran 4-106
no second innings
no second innings
no second innings
Bradford at New Hibernia
19th through 22nd April 2019, Peaceful Atomic Energy Welfare Association Ground, Crabble
New Hibernia won the toss and chose to field
Match drawn
Bradford 3, New Hibernia 2

Although the Southport Athletic Club has fully reopened for play following the 2017-18 renovations, New Hibernia found their temporary home in Crabble a happy hunting ground and have continued to schedule Harrison Cup matches there. On this occasion, though, winning the toss was the only thing that went Colin Williams' way; having put Bradford in to bat, he could only watch as his bowlers had little answer to the immovable force that was Kevin Laing; ably supported by Leanne Martin (78) and later Ian Miller (a career-best 45), he crafted a superb double century before being run out on 212 on the Saturday afternoon. Following Laing's wicket, Bradford declared on 458, leaving the hosts with a mountain to climb; though they began strongly, after Audrey Leggett (3-21) removed both openers in the same over with her bit-part legspin the rest of the batting lineup failed to offer much resistance, Cassandra Leynthall top scoring with 58 as they stuttered to 184. By now, however, it was the fourth day of the match, so Bradford's main hope of a result lay in enforcing the follow on; New Hibernia therefore just had to hold out in order to secure a draw. With Nigel Hunter anchoring the top order down with an excellent, battling century, not even a deteriorating Crabble pitch and another brilliant spell (6-57) from Naomi Salisbury could make much difference, and tail-end pair Sarah Ashe and Charles Scott were able to see the game through to the end.

New Dalmatia
207 (73.1 overs)
Ilya Lebed 79
Shauna Weaver 3-14
163-5 (51.3 overs)
Trevor Hill 84*
Angus Whittall 2-38
165 (61.3 overs)
Shauna Weaver 48
Ian Weightman 4-55
203 (63.4 overs)
David Hadcroft 72
Colin McCarthy 6-70
Swift at New Dalmatia
19th through 22nd April 2019, Highrock Athletic Club, Highrock
Swift won the toss and chose to bat
New Dalmatia win by 5 wickets
New Dalmatia 5, Swift 0

In contrast to the other two games this weekend, the Highrock Athletic Club saw a rapid, lucid game unfold as Swift, opting to bat, lost wickets quickly after a strong second-wicket partnership between Daryl Westbrook and Shauna Weaver saw them pass 100 within the first hour of play; after Westbrook fell to a Colin McCarthy offcutter for 42, the remaining players could only stumble to 165 as McCarthy (3-31) and Ian Weightman (4-55) did the damage. It was a very bowler-friendly wicket and New Dalmatia never looked especially fluent in their own reply, but following a far from confident start, Ilya Lebed (79) and Alec Fedorov (a defensive, but defiant, 38) were able to hold down the fort and help the hosts to 207, before McCarthy took 6-70, including one sublime 12 over spell where he took 4-19 including a double wicket maiden, to set his team a target of 161 to win. The visitors' chase was not without drawbacks; captain Patricia Goldfarb gambled on opening the bowling with part-timer Angus Whittall, and the off-spinner duly oliged by removing opener Gregory Sorokin and the potentially dangerous Andrew Fairfield for single figures, before a promising stand between captain Trevor Hill and Lebed was cut short when the latter, in an uncharacteristic lack of coordination, lost his balance trying to hook a wayward full toss from Weaver and took out his own stumps. Despite this, New Dalmatia had enough time and enough resources that they never really looked in danger of not reaching the total, and did so just before the close of play on the third day with a swept six from Hill.

275 (109.3 overs)
Graeme Holt 100
Andrew Baxter 4-94
no second innings
no second innings
no second innings
Sutton & Avalon
424 (208.3 overs)
Matthew Davy 119
Aubrey Wood 3-78
53-1 (16.4 overs)
Matthew Davy 29*
Sarah Wilson 1-18
Sutton & Avalon at Redcliff
19th through 22nd April 2019, Ironworks Ground, Redcliff
Sutton & Avalon won the toss and chose to bat
Match drawn
Redcliff 2, Sutton & Avalon 3

Matthew Davy had been focusing more on his batting than his bowling pre-season, having struggled at times to balance his two roles at representative level, and the results were quite clear as he anchored a very strong Sutton & Avalon batting performance in the opening days of their game at Redcliff - dealing effectively with the reigning champions' bowling attack and scoring fluently, reaching his century just after tea at the Ironworks Ground. Though he fell just before the close, his comrades continued in similar vein with Hester Williams adding 67 and Steven Paglin hitting a run-a-ball 50, and combined with Redcliff's collective inability to apply the principles of death bowling to the tail enders, this led to the visitors accumulating 424 by the end of day two. Redcliff had a difficult task ahead to force any kind of result, and could only manage 275 in response - Davy's international opening partner Graeme Holt contributing 100 of those runs in his own century, before being caught going for a slog sweep the next ball - and, as the third day was interrupted by spells of rain and fog, it became increasingly clear that a draw was the only option on the horizon. True to form, by the time the last Redcliff wicket fell the sky was beginning to darken, and Sutton & Avalon's second innings only lasted less than seventeen overs before an early shower forced the teams off the field.

1 Bradford 2 1 0 1 2 8
= New Dalmatia 2 1 0 1 2 8
3 Sutton & Avalon 2 0 0 2 1 5
4 Swift 2 1 1 0 0 4
5 New Hibernia 2 0 1 1 1 3
6 Redcliff 2 0 1 1 0 2

Sutton & Avalon
301 (89.3 overs)
Robin McCulloch 101
Kenny Cunningham 5-65
116-4 (51.1 overs)
Matthew Davy 48
Naomi Salisbury 2-19
459-6 (128.3 overs, declared)
Kevin Laing 140*
Hamish Laing 3-108
213 (59.3 overs)
Brett Scarbeck 82
David Heath 4-56
Bradford at Sutton & Avalon
3rd through 6th May 2019, Recreation Ground, Avalon
Bradford won the toss and chose to bat
Match drawn
Sutton & Avalon 2, Bradford 3

Two themes of the early season continued at Avalon; those of dominant batting performances by Bradford - exemplified in this case by another Kevin Laing century in the first innings - and of the hosts being drawn into long innings without much hope of a result. Having won the toss and opted to bat, Laing's unbeaten 140 came sandwiched between big scores from opener Brett Scarbeck (88) and all-rounder Audrey Leggett (an unbeaten 102) in aid of a total of 459-6 declared on the morning of day two. Sutton & Avalon had started their reply much in kind, with their top order laying siege to the visitors' bowling with captain Robin McCulloch leading by example, falling just after reaching his own century, but a late collapse in which left-arm spinner Kenny Cunningham took the last four wickets for 22 runs left them on 301. Unable to enforce the follow on, Bradford then tried to raise the target as much as possible only for David Heath (4-56) to tear through the middle order, leaving Sutton & Avalon with all of the final day to chase 371 to win. Between the visitors and the weather forecast, it was not to be; tight bowling by spinners Naomi Salisbury and Jonathan Iddon kept the scoring rate low in the opening sessions, before a blanket of fog began to settle on the Recreation Ground shortly before tea and the umpires brought proceedings to a halt.

199 (62.3 overs)
Shauna Weaver 68
Andrew Stolkov 3-29
302 (89.5 overs)
Shauna Weaver 109
David Farmer 3-32
224 (86.3 overs)
Adam Kalantas 91
Shauna Weaver 5-40
278-7 (98.5 overs)
Graeme Holt 93
Neil Squirrell 3-22
Redcliff at Swift
3rd through 6th May 2019, Lainemouth Athletic Club, Lainemouth
Redcliff won the toss and chose to field
Redcliff win by 3 wickets
Swift 0, Redcliff 5

National team all-rounder Shauna Weaver, who plays for the Lainemouth Athletic Club, has been something of a centrepiece of Swift's Harrison Cup team of late, and the contrast between her and her comrades was brought into focus against Redcliff where she made 68 and 109 with the bat, and took match figures of 7-71 with the ball, while no other Swift player scored higher than thirty runs. In both innings she virtually carried her bat, as Swift fell one short of 200 and lost the first innings bonus point thanks largely to Adam Kalantas' grinding 91 on a spin-friendly Lainemouth pitch. Some lower order support from Richard Oakes and Jannie Hendricks helped Weaver to lever Swift into a competitive position going into the final innings, and although Redcliff had seemed comfortable early on, leg-spinner Neil Squirrell took two wickets in two balls, including the dangerous Graeme Holt trapped lbw for 93, and Weaver took an impossible looking catch from her own bowling to remove captain Paul Donaghy and set the stage for an improbable win. Redcliff bat deep, though, and Aubrey Wood (22 not out) and Matthew Bolton (17 not out) held on in the fading light to finally secure Redcliff's first win of the 2019 season.

New Hibernia
286 (99.2 overs)
Jeremy Chambers 99
Colin McCarthy 4-62
83-2 (29.5 overs)
Nigel Hunter 38*
Peter McKenzie 1-19
New Dalmatia
184 (67.2 overs)
Ilya Lebed 68*
Sarah Ashe 6-44
184 (90.4 overs)
Ilya Lebed 72
Andrew Moran 5-39
New Dalmatia at New Hibernia
3rd through 6th May 2019, Southport Athletic Club, Southport
New Dalmatia won the toss and chose to bat
New Hibernia win by 8 wickets
New Hibernia 5, New Dalmatia 0

At Southport, tourists New Dalmatia had opted to bat on what looked to be a green and playable pitch, but the ground has only seen two Tests and a handful of club games since its reopening and this proved to be deceptive; off-spinner Sarah Ashe took six wickets for 44 runs as, with the benefit of experience, she found all the most difficult spots for the New Dalmatians to defend against. Only wicketkeeper Ilya Lebed (left stranded on 68) and a late cameo by Andrey Evsyukov (26) offered much by way of resistance as New Dalmatia could only manage 184, and then saw the hosts make the surface look much more comfortable in establishing a 102 run lead, although Colin McCarthy was able to cause some problems with line and length and took the morale-boosting wicket of Jeremy Chambers one run short of his century. Unfortunately for the New Dalmatians, their second innings proved to be much a carbon copy of the first; Lebed (72) top scoring as only four of his teammates managed double figures, as they could only stutter to the exact same score with Andrew Moran (5-35) a constant thorn in their side. It left the hosts needing just 82 to win, and not wanting for time in which to do it; ultimately New Hibernia cruised to their first win of the season with captain Colin Williams bringing up the winning runs with a tip and run to third man.

1 Bradford 3 1 0 2 3 11
2 New Hibernia 3 1 1 1 2 8
= New Dalmatia 3 1 1 1 2 8
4 Redcliff 3 1 1 1 1 7
5 Sutton & Avalon 3 0 0 3 1 7
6 Swift 3 1 2 0 0 4

264 (68.3 overs)
Audrey Leggett 117
Colin McCarthy 4-65
146 (38.1 overs)
Kevin Laing 34
Peter McKenzie 5-29
New Dalmatia
288 (106.1 overs)
Trevor Hill 108
Jonathan Iddon 5-82
124-7 (47.3 overs)
Alec Fedorov 49*
Naomi Salisbury 4-16
New Dalmatia at Bradford
17th through 20th May 2019, Foxdale Sports Club, Foxdale
Bradford won the toss and chose to bat
New Dalmatia win by 3 wickets
Bradford 0, New Dalmatia 5

Having enjoyed an almost perfect start to the season, Bradford had perhaps been anticipating that 'what goes up, must come down'. Their match against New Dalmatia had started well enough; captain Kevin Laing had, for the first time this season, failed to deliver with a third-ball duck, but Audrey Leggett picked up the mantle and brutalised the visitors' frontline pace attack with an 89-ball century as the hosts set 264 on a below-par Foxdale Sports Club pitch. Though without quite as much abandon, New Dalmatia aimed to respond similarly, Trevor Hill leading the way with a determined 108 and last-wicket pair Colin McCarthy and Peter McKenzie adding 49 between them as they took a first-innings lead of 24. Even then, a seasoned observer would probably have attributed a slight advantage to Bradford, but leg-spinner McKenzie had other ideas; on a cold Sunday afternoon, he proved simply unplayable and took 5-29 as he gutted the hosts' top order; despite some signs of life in the tail they could only set 123 as a target for the New Dalmatians. Initially it looked like they would sail to victory, but Naomi Salisbury (4-31) took a hat-trick - dismissing Hill lbw, having Ilya Lebed caught by Laing at leg slip, and Dimitry Sidorov failing to connect with the next delivery and being clean bowled - and the visitors found themselves seven wickets down with thirty runs left to make, but led by Alec Fedorov's unbeaten 49, they survived; taking a vital five points as they reached the top of the table.

256 (70.1 overs)
Andrew Barrett 87*
Peter Hodgeson 3-23
264 (71 overs)
Graeme Holt 108
Sarah Ashe 3-52
New Hibernia
146 (77.2 overs)
Colin Williams 60
Aubrey Wood 3-19
111 (44.5 overs)
David Ball 29
Laura Andreyev 4-51
New Hibernia at Redcliff
17th through 20th May 2019, Ironworks Ground, Redcliff
Redcliff won the toss and chose to bat
Redcliff win by 263 runs
Redclff 5, New Hibernia 0

At the Ironworks Ground, Redcliff captain Paul Donaghy opted to bat on a pitch that was already showing some wear, and could have been forgiven for regretting his decision later in the day; his team could only score 256, with over half of those runs coming from openers Graeme Holt (stumped acrobatically by Cassandra Leynthall on 49) and Andrew Barrett (carrying his bat with 87), as Redcliff's batting order collectively failed to get going. However, if Redcliff had misfired, New Hibernia were suffering worse; with Colin Williams (60) the only player to score more than 22 and no partnership lasting longer than ten overs, Redcliff benefited from Aubrey Wood (3-19) and Laura Andreyev (3-44) wreaking havoc after a delayed start on the second day and found themselves with a 110 run lead. Holt's first century of the season, at the seventh attempt, then anchored the hosts to slightly improve on their first innings performance and leave New Hibernia chasing what looked in the context of the match like a mammoth target of 374. They failed to even come close; Williams, the first of four players to score ducks, was bowled through the gate first ball by Laura Andreyev, who took 4-51 as the visitors succumbed to the pressure of the scorecard and a healthy home support.

Sutton & Avalon
250 (73.3 overs)
Matthew Davy 84
Richard Oakes 4-71
176-5 (60 overs)
Robin McCulloch 88
Shauna Weaver 3-35
420 (207.3 overs)
Shauna Weaver 172*
Stephen Hove 4-120
no second innings
no second innings
no second innings
Swift at Sutton & Avalon
17th through 20th May 2019, December Park, Sutton
Swift won the toss and chose to field
Match drawn
Sutton & Avalon 2, Swift 3

The first Swift Island match of the season was a high-emotion affair from the start; having made the odd decision to put the hosts in to bat at December Park, Swift made good progress as Sutton & Avalon were reduced to 70-5, but Matthew Davy proved a thorn in the fielding side as he stayed at the wicket accumulating runs when all around him failed, and when he was finally dismissed for 84 - playing and missing at a Richard Oakes delivery that pegged back his off stump - Oakes made no secret of his delight, to Davy's face, and was warned by umpire David Sproston for excessive celebration. Excessive was what followed from Swift; after bowling out Sutton & Avalon for 250, their reply saw two and a half days' play consumed, fifty-six maiden overs bowled (predominantly by Davy and John Lacey), and a 360-ball innings of 172 by Shauna Weaver, who remained unbeaten as Swift accumulated 420 at just over two runs an over in a theatrical crushing of their neighbours' resilience. What this also crushed, ultimately, was any chance of a positive result in the match; with there being just two sessions left, Sutton & Avalon just needed to avoid capitulation to ensure a fourth draw in as many matches, and despite losing both openers early on, contributions from captain Robin McCulloch (88) and an unbroken 31 partnership between Hester Williams and Humphrey Stone saw the game through to the close.

1 New Dalmatia 4 2 1 1 3 13
2 Redcliff 4 2 1 1 2 12
3 Bradford 4 1 1 2 3 11
4 Sutton & Avalon 4 0 0 4 1 9
5 New Hibernia 4 1 2 1 2 8
6 Swift 4 1 2 1 1 7

236 (96.1 overs)
David Hadcroft 83
Jonathan Iddon 4-70
65 (21.5 overs)
David Hadcroft 18
Naomi Salisbury 8-11
412 (109.5 overs)
Leanne Martin 121
Neil Squirrell 4-110
no second innings
no second innings
no second innings
Bradford at Swift
31st May through 3rd June 2019, Waterfalls Athletic Club, Waterfalls
Swift won the toss and chose to bat
Bradford win by an innings and 111 runs
Swift 0, Bradford 6

Swift captain Patricia Goldfarb had not been enjoying the most auspicious of starts to her team's season, and despite winning the toss against Bradford, once again saw events turn away from her as, following an excellent second-wicket partnership between David Hadcroft (83) and Shauna Weaver (56), the hosts' middle order barely got going as the innings petered out. Even so, Swift had done well to get to 236, but had seen the opposition blaze away into the sunset somewhat in their innings, opener Brett Scarbeck making a run-a-ball 79 and Leanne Martin bludgeoning 121 from 123 deliveries as the Bradfordians made 412. Swift started out brightly in their reply, with Hadcroft hitting Iddon for successive sixes and leading Bradford captain Kevin Laing to throw the ball to Naomi Salisbury. When Salisbury handed the ball back thirty minutes later, it was all over; the left-arm spinner had taken four wickets clean bowled, two edges to Scarbeck at slip, one plumb lbw, and a catch off her own bowling as she recorded unprecedented career-best figures of 8 for 11 and Swift were dismissed for sixty-five runs in one hundred and twenty-nine deliveries. Goldfarb, Laing, and the spectators in attendance at the Lainemouth Athletic Club were almost stunned into silence, but the effect was six points to Bradford as they returned to the top of the league table.

New Hibernia
307 (75.3 overs)
Lindsay Weaver 78
Matthew Davy 3-30
110-4 (31.3 overs)
Peter Hodgeson 43*
Andrew Baxter 4-51
Sutton & Avalon
201 (73.4 overs)
Gabriel Edwards 56
Charles Scott 3-30
214 (62 overs)
Robin McCulloch 59
Sarah Ashe 5-49
Sutton & Avalon at New Hibernia
31st May through 3rd June 2019, Southport Athletic Club, Southport
New Hibernia won the toss and chose to field
New Hibernia win by 6 wickets
New Hibernia 5, Sutton & Avalon 0

The weather forecast predicted violent weather for Southport, and it was not kidding - the entire first day of the game against Sutton & Avalon had been lost to increasingly intense rain and wind, and it was only thanks to the ground staff at the Southport Athletic Club working in near-zero visibility to dry the outfield up when it was still misty that play got started on the second day before lunch. When it did, though, the hosts were eager to make up for lost time; Charles Scott (3-30) and Sarah Ashe (3-42) exploited the still drying pitch to full effect as the visitors could not effectively put together a decent partnership, with only opener Gabriel Edwards making more than fifty as they shouldered arms for 201. This enabled New Hibernia to start their reply early on day three, which proved crucial in the game context; with efficient rotation of the strike, they were able to score at slightly over four runs per over and posted a first-innings total of 307 with slightly over a day remaining. If Colin Williams's team could bowl out Sutton & Avalon quickly, then, they had a chance, which they took when Ashe's 5-49 set them a target of 108 to reach in the final session of the match. Williams himself fell early in the chase, bowled through the gate by Andrew Baxter, whose raw speed proved effective on the dry pitch and took four wickets in the session. Baxter could not control the economy rate, though, and the visitors kept bowling him rather than turn to spin, a slightly baffling decision that ultimately proved fatal as Peter Hodgeson (43 not out) hit the winning runs off practically the last over of the match, as New Hibernia completed an unlikely victory.

New Dalmatia
396 (131 overs)
Alec Fedorov 123
Aubrey Wood 4-102
275 (103.3 overs)
Andrew Fairfield 84
Sarah Wilson 5-30
233 (103.5 overs)
Graeme Holt 122
Ian Weightman 3-32
103-3 (48 overs)
Paul Donaghy 35*
Andrey Evsyukov 2-17
Redcliff at New Dalmatia
31st May through 3rd June 2019, Eleuthera Cricket & Social Club, Eleuthera
New Dalmatia won the toss and chose to bat
Match drawn
New Dalmatia 3, Redcliff 2

New Dalmatia set up camp in Eleuthera for the visit of Redcliff, the Eleuthera Cricket & Social Club not having hosted a Harrison Cup game in five years, and Trevor Hill's side took full advantage of the unfamiliar conditions on the first day by digging in and accumulating runs while the tourists figured out the ground conditions. Alec Fedorov top scored with 123, batting for almost two thirds of the innings, but there were important early contributions from Andrew Fairfield (58) and Catherine Honeyman (56) as the hosts eased to 396, and there was a noticable difference in performance between the players who were familiar with the ground and those not in Redcliff's reply; Graeme Holt (122) and Adam Kalantas (67) had both played here during Plough Islands Cricket Association training camps and were the only players to score higher than 20. New Dalmatia built on their 163-run lead on day three, but were restricted a little by the visitors as Paul Donaghy's side grew in confidence - off-spinner Sarah Wilson taking 5-30 as she took out most of the middle order - and ultimately opted to pursue the draw as it became increasingly obvious to players and fans that a result was unreachable. With a target, in theory, of 439 runs to win in little over a session, Redcliff were happy to use the session as batting practice instead, the moral defeat they had sustained being perhaps preferable to an actual one and two points being better than none.

1 Bradford 5 2 1 2 5 17
2 New Dalmatia 5 2 1 2 4 16
3 Redcliff 5 2 1 2 2 14
4 New Hibernia 5 2 2 1 3 13
5 Sutton & Avalon 5 0 1 4 1 9
6 Swift 5 1 3 1 1 7
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The Plough Islands
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Democratic Socialists

Postby The Plough Islands » Tue Feb 18, 2020 2:00 pm

2019 - PART 2

274 (83.1 overs)
Ilya Postukhov 88
Adrian Ryecroft 5-71
90-5 (30.4 overs)
Audrey Leggett 54*
Sarah Wilson 4-19
169 (56.3 overs)
Adam Kalantas 42
Ian Miller 3-38
194 (84.2 overs)
Arthur Donovan 59
Naomi Salisbury 4-31
Redcliff at Bradford
28th June through 1st July 2019, Foxdale Sports Club, Foxdale
Bradford won the toss and chose to field
Bradford win by 5 wickets
Bradford 5, Redcliff 0

It was a slightly depleted Redcliff squad that made the short trip to Foxdale after the mid-season break, with Adam Kalantas deputising as captain in Paul Donaghy's absence, but he ran into Bradford turning their very much full strength bowling attack to the matter of a threadbare Redcliff batting order; the result was the visitors surrendering for just 169 as Ian Miller (3-38) and Naomi Salisbury (3-40) took full advantage of a turning pitch at the Foxdale Sports Club. Bradford then laid down a considerable gauntlet thanks largely to a tenacious third-wicket stand of 128 between captain Kevin Laing (43) and opener Ilya Postukhov (88), the collective mechanic deputising as an opener and acquitting himself well. By the time Adrian Ryecroft (5-71) took the last two wickets of Jonathan Iddon and Salisbury back to back, Bradford had a 105-run lead, and further tight bowling in the visitors' second innings ensured their target would be a low one, Arthur Donovan's run-a-ball 59 the only bright spot for Redcliff as they were again thoroughly outfoxed by the Bradford spinners. Faced with defending a net total of just 89 runs, Redcliff did find another gear in the final session of day three and into the match's last day; either side of a delay to allow for fog to clear, spinner Sarah Wilson (4-19) took two wickets as Bradford's top order, even Postukhov and Laing, seemed to get their shot selection wrong. Bradford bat deep enough that this was not of major concern, however, and when a fired up Audrey Leggett came to the crease the result ended up being little in doubt; in typical fashion, the wild-haired all-rounder slogged her way to a 43-ball half century as she secured all five points for the hosts.

New Dalmatia
125 (43.4 overs)
Trevor Hill 31
John Lacey 4-28
137 (38.1 overs)
Catherine Honeyman 59
Matthew Davy 5-30
Sutton & Avalon
233 (78.5 overs)
Robin McCulloch 123
Dimitry Sidorov 4-31
83 (27.4 overs)
Humphrey Stone 14
Colin McCarthy 6-17
Sutton & Avalon at New Dalmatia
28th June through 1st July 2019, Highrock Athletic Club, Highrock
Sutton & Avalon won the toss and chose to bat
Sutton & Avalon win by 54 runs
Sutton & Avalon 5, New Dalmatia 0

Sutton & Avalon were still searching for their first positive result of the season, the capital having been left somewhat in the background to the substance of the title race. Hoping to find it at Highrock, Robin McCulloch's team were able to set a strong benchmark batting first, the captain leading the way with a gritty 123 in aid of 233 all out. Friday's play took place on a dry pitch; Saturday was plagued with light drizzle and typically impenetrable New Dalmatian mist, which held back the home team from adding to their 14 not out overnight. When play finally resumed on Sunday morning, the character of the pitch was immediately far more hostile to the batsmen, and John Lacey and Matthew Davy picked up eight wickets between them as they took full advantage, skittling New Dalmatia for just 125 inside 44 overs. McCulloch would have thought his wishes were coming true, but the hosts were perfectly capable of dealing the same damage. Colin McCarthy - the Highrock Athletic Club paceman on his home ground - picked up a hat trick, with McCulloch among his victims, and finished with figures of six for 17 as the visitors went for just 83, and New Dalmatia suddenly faced an eminently winnable match situation. There was a final twist in the tale, though; almost under the pressure of an almost expectant home crowd, the New Dalmatians crumbled, falling to 60-7 thanks to tight bowling and excellent fielding by the visitors, and though Catherine Honeyman led a rearguard action with a punchy, defiant half century, Matthew Davy returned and ripped through the tail end as the hosts were all out for 137. It had been a long time coming, but Sutton & Avalon finally escaped the indignity of being without a win.

New Hibernia
264 (67.4 overs)
Colin Williams 111
Shauna Weaver 3-46
131 (33.2 overs)
Cassandra Leynthall 40
Paul Hyam 3-17
288 (141.2 overs)
Patricia Goldfarb 66
Sarah Ashe 4-41
101 (27.4 overs)
Shauna Weaver 19
Andrew Moran 4-9
Swift at New Hibernia
28th June through 1st July 2019, Peaceful Atomic Energy Welfare Association Ground, Crabble
New Hibernia won the toss and chose to bat
New Hibernia win by 6 runs
New Hibernia 4, Swift 1

If events at Highrock had been tense, they still paled in comparison to what transpired at the Peaceful Atomic Energy Welfare Association Ground. New Hibernian captain Colin Williams, opting to bat, returned to form with a fine century, but after being dismissed lbw by all-round leg spinner Shauna Weaver the visitors suffered something of a collapse to 264 all out. Swift's reply relied less on individual brilliance than collective effort; five players scored more than 40 as they took a first-innings lead of 24, but an interruption at the end of day two brought on by light, dense, midsummer rain presaged what was to come. For their second innings, New Hibernia found batting on a damp, pockmarked surface a much harder prospect, and despite Crabble native Cassandra Leynthall (40) anchoring the innings, prospects looked bleak when Paul Hyam (3-17) and Angus Whittall (3-40) ran through the tail to set Swift just 108 to win. But in a final twist, further rain delays turned the pitch into a virtual quagmire around the creases, and under the circumstances Andrew Moran and Sarah Ashe were unplayable; they picked up eight wickets between them as Swift fell agonisingly short of the total, with the run out of Weaver proving crucial at the very end when the visitors came almost within slogging distance of the total. The very next delivery from Moran took a thick edge off Neil Squirrell's bat into the gloves of Leynthall, and the reaction was almost as much of disbelief as it was of jubilation or despair from either side; New Hibernia had taken the match by the thinnest of margins.

1 Bradford 6 3 1 2 6 22
2 New Hibernia 6 3 2 1 3 17
3 New Dalmatia 6 2 2 2 4 16
4 Redcliff 6 2 2 2 2 14
5 Sutton & Avalon 6 1 1 4 2 14
6 Swift 6 1 4 1 2 8

308 (105 overs)
Leanne Martin 116
Sarah Ashe 4-61
81 (35 overs)
Kevin Laing 22
Andrew Moran 5-26
New Hibernia
147 (56.3 overs)
Peter Whiterock 38
Naomi Salisbury 6-30
243-5 (75.3 overs)
Colin Williams 84*
Naomi Salisbury 3-42
New Hibernia at Bradford
12th through 15th July 2019, Crossroads Athletic Club, Crossroads
Bradford won the toss and chose to bat
New Hibernia win by 5 wickets
New Hibernia 4, Bradford 1

Bradford made their semi-annual trip out to the Crossroads Athletic Club hoping to keep their momentum going, and wicketkeeper Leanne Martin proved extremely able on her home ground; after captain Kevin Laing had opted to bat, and despite some early wobbles, Martin acted as the anchor around whom Bradford could build a strong innings, scoring opportunistically and holding her nerve as she made a composed century. Martin was the last out, edging to Cassandra Leynthall off Sarah Ashe (4-61) for 116, as Bradford accumulated 308 runs in all, and then left-arm spinner Naomi Salisbury promptly got to work on the visitors' batting; finding good turn on the Crossroads pitch, Salisbury took 6-30 and effectively neutralised New Hibernia's biggest threats as they could only manage 147. However, Ashe then struck again with her first ball in Bradford's second innings, and the wickets kept on coming between herself (3-22) and Andrew Moran (5-26), with the hosts just unable to even get started; they were all out for 81 after 35 bizarre and paranoid overs, and Williams' team suddenly scented victory. After a bright start, though, on a day four pitch New Hibernia were quickly reduced to 150-4, with Salisbury (3-42) leading the way for the hosts. In the middle, though, Williams remained strong, and as long as he remained at the crease there was a sense that New Hibernia might be able to manage this. With Ashe at the other end providing some stability and arresting the wickets, the captain continued to build an innings, fending off everything Bradford could throw at him, and it was just after lunch on the final day that the band of travelling New Hibernians celebrated as Williams, having reached 80 not out, brought up the victory with a four flicked back over the leg side.

201 (76.3 overs)
David Hadcroft 64
Colin McCarthy 4-78
145 (50.2 overs)
Shauna Weaver 93*
Colin McCarthy 7-69
New Dalmatia
274 (82.1 overs)
Verity Chambers 91
Peter Martin 3-23
93 (25.1 overs)
Ilya Lebed 22
Neil Squirrell 5-20
New Dalmatia at Swift
12th through 15th July 2019, Lainemouth Athletic Club, Lainemouth
New Dalmatia won the toss and chose to bat
New Dalmatia win by 21 runs
New Dalmatia 5, Swift 0

The Lainemouth Athletic Club has played host to several Brechtian dramatic farces already this season, and another followed as pace bowler Colin McCarthy, who finished with match figures of 11 for 147, twice tore through Swift's middle and lower order to swing the pendulum of an exciting three day match. New Dalmatia had started strongly, Verity Chambers falling in the nervous nineties as she spearheaded the visitors' batting on a less than friendly pitch, and in response to their 274 Swift fell short on 201, a strong 113 opening stand between David Hadcroft and Daryl Westbrook not being matched by the rest of the order. At this point, the match took a left turn; New Dalmatia sought to quickly build on their lead, and increase the chances of a result, but within an hour Swift were batting again; wicketkeeper Ilya Lebed (22) the sole holdout as most of the New Dalmatian team fell prey to misjudgments, anxiety, or the unerring accuracy of spinner Neil Squirrell, who took five for 20. Having added just 93 runs, the visitors left Swift just needing 167, but McCarthy was in stunning form and, bowling all through the innings, constantly picked batsmen off just when they looked settled. Shauna Weaver's heavy scoring and opportunism kept the Swift hopes alive, but she could never keep her partners around, and the target remained tantalisingly out of reach; Weaver would remain stranded on 93 as McCarthy's seventh and final wicket in the innings took out last man Squirrell's off stump and left the home side 21 runs short, and the visitors now just two points behind Bradford at the top of the table.

Sutton & Avalon
450-4 (143.3 overs, declared)
Matthew Davy 133*
Laura Andreyev 2-108
no second innings
no second innings
no second innings
219 (73.5 overs)
Richard Broadhurst 66
Andrew Baxter 5-62
243-4 (83 overs, following on)
Graeme Holt 83
Hamish Laing 2-15
Redcliff at Sutton & Avalon
12th through 15th July 2019, Recreation Ground, Avalon
Redcliff won the toss and chose to field
Match drawn
Sutton & Avalon 3, Redcliff 2

It was a game of contrasts for Sutton & Avalon, and particularly the Four Anchors Cricket Club all-rounder Matthew Davy; having struggled for form with the bat at times over the last few years, but having been put in to bat by Redcliff, he put together a fluid innings and played the tourists' spinners well. He had made 133 by the time his captain Robin McCulloch declared with the score at 450 precisely, and went straight back out again to open the bowling with Andrew Baxter, but three balls into his first over, he tried a quick run out of Andrew Barrett only to be involved in a three-way collision with the burly opener and umpire Rupert Chambers that left Davy temporarily unconscious. He played no further part in the match, being taken to the Commonwealth Hospital for observation, and without him the hosts' bowling attack lacked that little bit of depth. It affected them little in Redcliff's first innings; Baxter (5-62) and David Heath (3-47) kept tight lines and cleared up the visitors' middle and low order after a strong start. Having forced Redcliff to follow on after scoring 219, though, the hosts found themselves missing Davy's wicket-taking skills on a deteriorating pitch as the opening partnership of Graeme Holt (83) and Barrett (42) dug in. It took part-time offspinner Hamish Laing (2-15) to break the partnership, and even then Redcliff had enough sense in their top order to remain obstinate; with an eye on hanging on to the two points, captain Paul Donaghy (27 not out) and Richard Broadhurst (30 not out) raised the metaphorical drawbridge and saw their team through to the close of play without further incident.

1 Bradford 7 3 2 2 7 23
2 New Hibernia 7 4 2 1 3 21
3 New Dalmatia 7 3 2 2 5 21
4 Sutton & Avalon 7 1 1 5 3 17
5 Redcliff 7 2 2 3 2 16
6 Swift 7 1 5 1 2 8

Sutton & Avalon
264 (84 overs)
Hester Williams 84
Jonathan Iddon 4-40
125-1 (42.1 overs)
Robin McCulloch 59*
Audrey Leggett 1-9
145 (49.2 overs)
Malcolm Brayne 51
Andrew Baxter 4-37
243 (113.2 overs)
Leanne Martin 70
David Heath 3-48
Bradford at Sutton & Avalon
26th through 29th July 2019, December Park, Sutton
Bradford won the toss and chose to bat
Sutton & Avalon win by 9 wickets
Sutton & Avalon 5, Bradford 0

By opting to bat, Kevin Laing had been hoping to reap the runs while they were ripe on a rolled, rock hard pitch at December Park, but a near-capacity crowd at the national stadium instead saw Andrew Baxter wreak havoc instead. The Sutton & Avalon pace bowler has been in inconsistent form of late but was virtually unstoppable as he took out both of Bradford's openers for single figures, and was the pick of the bowlers with 4-37 as Bradford flamed out as they chased a score of any size. 145 was far too low a score, as the hosts proved when they came out to bat; Hester Williams led the way with an excellent 83, scoring heavily against Bradford's spin-heavy attack, but had good support as ten of Sutton & Avalon's XI made double figures in aid of 264. Again the Bradford openers went too cheaply, leaving wicketkeeper Leanne Martin to spearhead something of a mid-innings recovery; she showed a resilience lacking that day in Bradford's other players and her dismissal, edging David Heath to McCulloch, was swiftly followed by the remainder of the Bradford tail end as they fell short of what Laing would have liked, leaving the hosts just needing 125. The season had already seen several replays of this scenario, with the chasing team usually just falling short under pressure trying to reach a small target; Sutton & Avalon, though, went the opposite way, with only the wicket of Steven Paglin (18) being lost as patient scoring from Williams and Robin McCulloch saw them to a famous win.

402-7 (145 overs, declared)
Peter Murray 132
Neil Squirrell 3-69
no second innings
no second innings
no second innings
51 (23.3 overs)
Angus Whittall 13
Adrian Ryecroft 4-5
139 (63.3 overs)
Patricia Goldfarb 44
Matthew Bolton 4-29
Swift at Redcliff
26th through 29th July 2019, Ironworks Ground, Redcliff
Redcliff won the toss and chose to field
Redcliff win by an innings and 202 runs
Redcliff 6, Swift 0

Swift had already been on the receiving end of some thrashings this season, but none quite as brutal as what awaited at the Ironworks Ground; having been put in to bat on a drying pitch, Patricia Goldfarb indicated she would have preferred to field, and - in a way - she got her wish. Adrian Ryecroft took four wickets (for just five runs), Laura Andreyev and Matthew Bolton two each, and Aubrey Wood one, as Swift scored just fifty one runs; Redcliff could scarcely believe what was happening as they started batting having effectively made it very difficult to lose. That they then went on to score over 400 runs was in large part thanks to Peter Murray, a 30-year-old shipyard welder from Marsh, who accumulated 132 over two days in only his second first-class century. Andrew Barrett (68 not out) and captain Paul Donaghy (55) also contributed as Redcliff declared, after almost two days of batting, with a lead of 351 and with Swift still to bat at least five sessions to secure a draw. Goldfarb, true to form, refused to give up and top scored with 44 in an extremely stoic effort, but it was a lost cause from the start, with Redcliff ultimately rampant as Bolton took 4-29 to secure an innings victory.

New Dalmatia
362 (86.2 overs)
Andrew Fairfield 109
Sarah Ashe 4-84
no second innings
no second innings
no second innings
New Hibernia
137 (62.5 overs)
Kevin 47
Dimitry Sidorov 4-22
191 (90.5 overs, following on)
Colin Williams 84
Emily Piper 4-62
New Hibernia at New Dalmatia
26th through 29th July 2019, Highrock Athletic Club, Highrock
New Dalmatia won the toss and chose to bat
New Dalmatia win by an innings and 34 runs
New Dalmatia 6, New Hibernia 0

As Redcliff had been knocking ten bells out of Swift, over in Highrock the same scenario was playing out in shadow form; here, it was the hosts that batted first, but initially the stage did not look set for a dominant performance despite some obvious New Hibernian nerves. Colin Williams did not have his best bowling attack available, and so off spinner Sarah Ashe (4-84) ploughed an often lonely furrow bowling near-constantly to the New Dalmatians from the pavilion end, but her tight lines nonetheless caused problems for the hosts as she removed Trevor Hill and Alec Fedorov very cheaply. Andrew Fairfield was the unlikely hero of the hosts' innings, the left handed all-rounder slogging a century as his team reached a respectable 362, but in reply New Hibernia could offer little of substance, and the New Dalmatian bowlers took wickets almost at will. Dimitry Sidorov took 4-22 as he ripped through the tail end, as New Hibernia could only muster 137 and had to bat again, and though they made a far stronger start to their innings at the second attempt with Williams and Jeremy Chambers combining for a half-century opening stand, fatal psychological damage had probably already been dealt to the tourists' cause. Williams carried on after Chambers fell, but Emily Piper (4-62) and Colin McCarthy (3-48) continued to pick off his partners, and when Williams himself was run out on 84, it was all but over. New Dalmatia ultimately picked up maximum points with an innings win, and jumped to the top of the points table.

1 New Dalmatia 8 4 2 2 7 27
2 Bradford 8 3 3 2 7 23
3 Redcliff 8 3 2 3 4 22
4 Sutton & Avalon 8 2 1 5 4 22
5 New Hibernia 8 4 3 1 3 21
6 Swift 8 1 6 1 2 8

New Dalmatia
224 (64 overs)
Gregory Sorokin 56
Kenny Cunningham 4-43
134 (37.3 overs)
Trevor Hill 30
Naomi Salisbury 5-33
194 (46 overs)
Audrey Leggett 96
Ian Weightman 3-24
165-8 (100.1 overs)
Kevin Laing 63*
Colin McCarthy 4-52
Bradford at New Dalmatia
9th through 12th August 2019, Highrock Athletic Club, Highrock
New Dalmatia won the toss and chose to bat
Bradford win by 2 wickets
Bradford 4, New Dalmatia 1

Mindful that they had the chance to return to the top of the table at the Highrock Athletic Club, Bradford captain Kevin Laing took an almost full-strength side, but in bitterly cold weather, the visitors' bowling attack initially failed to find their collective mark as New Dalmatian openers Gregory Sorokin and Stephanie Smith slowly, but surely, shared a century partnership. A change to left-arm wrist spinner Kenny Cunningham (4-43) finally broke their resistance, and New Dalmatia could add relatively little after that and ended on 224 all out. Bradford then struggled in reply and could only manage 194, with only Audrey Leggett scoring more than 30; the right-hander bludgeoning an impressive 96, only falling when New Dalmatia captain Trevor Hill positioned himself at cow corner in readiness. The track at Highrock was developing open divots by now, though, and despite some repair work overnight on day two, provided ample opportunities for Naomi Salisbury (5-33) and Jonathan Iddon (3-19) as they skittled New Dalmatia for 134 in just under a session, giving Bradford a decisive advantage. It was one they lost almost instantly as, with Colin McCarthy (4-52) leading the way, Bradford found themselves six wickets down inside 30 overs. They had time on their side, though, and with Laing and Leggett leading the way as they patiently built a fifty partnership, the total came within sight. There was a scare on the final morning as Leggett and then Iddon fell, but with Ian Miller holding the line at the other end, Laing finally managed to scrape the winning runs after lunch, bringing Bradford just a point behind the hosts with one game to play.

New Hibernia
253 (66.2 overs)
Leigh Sable 75
Aubrey Wood 4-72
151 (35.1 overs)
Jeremy Chambers 41
Laura Andreyev 5-45
222 (75.4 overs)
Dale Smith 101
Sarah Ashe 4-68
291 (70.2 overs)
Graeme Holt 83
Paul Elsworth 3-36
Redcliff at New Hibernia
9th through 12th August 2019, Southport Athletic Club, Southport
New Hibernia won the toss and chose to field
Redcliff win by 109 runs
Redcliff 4, New Hibernia 1

Back in Southport for the first time since the spring, New Hibernia faced an obstinate Redcliff side with Paul Donaghy perhaps out to prove something; put in to bat, he chose to open alongside Graeme Holt in what was not a frequently seen partnership, and not an effective one either; Donaghy was run out at the non-striker's end after reacting very late to a call by Holt and left for just two. It preceded a slightly disappointing innings from the champions with Dale Smith's first first-class century (101) the only real highlight. Dismissed for 222, Redcliff then struggled to impose themselves on the game, unable to prevent New Hibernia taking a first-innngs lead of 31 thanks largely to a 118-run partnership between Leigh Sable and Peter Whiterock. The third day of the match saw a remarkable turnaround, though, as - with Sarah Ashe, who took 4-68 in the first innings, ruled out with a stomach upset - the hosts struggled to effectively restrict the Redcliff batting order, and led by Holt (83) and Arthur Donovan (56), they set New Hibernia 261 to win. Effectively starting with one wicket down already due to Ashe's illness, it proved a bridge too far for the New Hibernians; despite a bright start, after Colin Williams fell with the score at 48 it was a gentle but inevitable glide to earth, Laura Andreyev's leg breaks doing most of the damage as she took 5-45 and Redcliff won by 109 runs.

466/7 (151.5 overs, declared)
Shauna Weaver 202*
Humphrey Stone 3-98
no second innings
no second innings
no second innings
Sutton & Avalon
249 (65 overs)
Hester Williams 85
Shauna Weaver 4-50
112 (57 overs)
Hamish Laing 33*
Richard Oakes 4-32
Sutton & Avalon at Swift
9th through 12th August 2019, Lainemouth Athletic Club, Lainemouth
Swift won the toss and chose to field
Swift win by an innings and 105 runs
Swift 6, Sutton & Avalon 0

In the Swift Island match, not for the first time, all-rounder Shauna Weaver proved the difference between two relatively middling sides in the wider context of the season; accurate and uncompromising bowling from Weaver and Neil Squirrell gave few runs away despite some resistance from Hester Williams (85), and eventually bore fruit as the pair shared the last seven wickets, bundling out Sutton & Avalon for 249. It was then Weaver's turn to shine with the bat; on her home track her defence proved impenetrable and her drives back past the Sutton & Avalon bowlers became a regular feature of the innings. With patient backup from Tim Bleasdale (77), she scored increasingly heavily, passing her century and not looking back, and survived the new ball period before eventually being called back in by Goldfarb after passing 200. In reaching that metric she had virtually batted the visitors out of the game; Sutton & Avalon needed 217 just to make Swift bat again, and while batting out the remaining day of the game was a possibility, it would require a cohesion and proletarian determination that had been inconsistent in the hosts all season. True to history, they again fell short; barring some mid-innings rallying from Hamish Laing (33 not out) and Humphrey Stone (29), the hosts failed to last long, and could only reduce the margin of defeat to an innings and 105 runs. Swift were ecstatic; the first-class season may have otherwise been one to forget for the most decorated team in the competition, but to some members of the Swift Island Cricket Board, it is this fixture that matters the most.

1 New Dalmatia 9 4 3 2 8 28
2 Bradford 9 4 3 2 7 27
3 Redcliff 9 4 2 3 4 26
4 New Hibernia 9 4 4 1 4 22
5 Sutton & Avalon 9 2 2 5 4 22
6 Swift 9 2 6 1 4 14

211 (71.4 overs)
Audrey Leggett 71
Shauna Weaver 5-74
191/5 (51.5 overs)
Kevin Laing 66*
Neil Squirrell 3-40
244 (70 overs)
Tim Bleasdale 140*
Jonathan Iddon 4-63
157 (66.3 overs)
Patricia Goldfarb 48
Naomi Salisbury 5-34
Swift at Bradford
23rd through 26th August 2019, Foxdale Sports Club, Foxdale
Swift won the toss and chose to bat
Bradford win by 5 wickets
Bradford 4, Swift 1

Tightly contested Harrison Cup titles are far from a novel phenomenon on the islands, but the novelty never fades if your team is part of the contest - and it was a packed to the rafters Foxdale Sports Club that saw Bradford aiming to do all they could for their part in the race. Swift were considerably threadbare in personnel and in spirit, and made a very slow start as the by now outgoing captain Patricia Goldfarb opted to bat; Jonathan Iddon heaped further pressure on with the ball by removed three of the visitors' top order within four overs, and it looked like they might crumble as they had done before. Tim Bleasdale, though, was unmoved by both the context and the atmosphere of the game, and the relaxed Scouser took it upon himself to pull his team through the first day; he successfully tamed the Bradford spin attack to score only his second first class century before ending unbeaten on 140 in what was simply a heroic performance. When the hosts failed to summon anything similar from within their ranks, with the only standout performance in their 211 all out being the similarly unconcerned Audrey Leggett's 71, and too many players falling for the guile of Shauna Weaver (5-71), Kevin Laing's team were left needing another turn in the tale. It came initially via Salisbury; the left-arm spinner has adapted well to her new home in the Bradford dales and took 5-34 as Swift resumed the role many thought they would play in this season's conclusion. After running through the visitors for just 157, and with the news from New Dalmatia indicating stalemate was likely in that game, Bradford suddenly found themselves needing 190 to win the title for the first time in seven years. And, despite losing Ilya Postukhov first ball in the match's final innings, and Neil Squirrell (3-40) picking off his partners, Laing was unwavering in his determination to bring home the Harrison Cup. The captain ably negotiated the season-old, day four pitch to score a brilliant half-century, and with Leanne Martin (33 not out) providing vital support towards the end, fulfilled the dream of several years by driving Weaver back down the field for a four that released much physical and mental pressure within and without the Foxdale boundary rope.

Sutton & Avalon
276 (81.3 overs)
Graeme Crichton 72
Sarah Ashe 4-58
79/4 (20.5 overs)
Hester Williams 31*
Sarah Ashe 3-8
New Hibernia
222 (54.1 overs)
Colin Williams 82
Andrew Baxter 5-70
131 (44.1 overs)
Jeremy Chambers 36
Terry Gibbs 6-17
New Hibernia at Sutton & Avalon
23rd through 26th August 2019, December Park, Sutton
New Hibernia won the toss and chose to bat
Sutton & Avalon win by 6 wickets
Sutton & Avalon 5, New Hibernia 0

With little outside pressure on this game - neither team being within reach of the league leaders - both Sutton & Avalon and New Hibernia had taken the opportunity to experiment, with the latter missing several ever-present players and the former handing a first Harrison Cup game to Young Foxes spinner Terry Gibbs, who would prove decisive as the match unfolded. New Hibernia batted first and though they were far from lacking in urgency, scoring heavily off the hosts' spinners and in particular the unfortunate Gibbs, they collectively took too many risks on a season-old December Park pitch, and fast bowler Andrew Baxter took 5-70 as they stuttered to 222. Sarah Ashe caused serious problems for Sutton & Avalon as they began their reply, but a 130 partnership between Hamish Laing and Graeme Crichton rescued their cause somewhat as they edged in front, the hosts being all out for 276. In New Hibernia's first innings, Gibbs had gone for 77 runs without taking a wicket, but having picked himself up and dusted himself down he proved unstoppable in the second, the 17-year-old picking up six wickets for just 17 runs as New Hibernia folded for just 131, and there as a sense within December Park that, following on the back of his World 20-over Championship performances, a new star might just have been born. As it was, the surface that Gibbs had so much turn on benefited the opposition as well; Sutton & Avalon lost both openers cheaply, and Ashe at one point had three wickets having conceded exactly that many runs, but the target was too low for this to be an existential threat, with Hester Williams seeing the win through just before tea to end the capital's season on a high.

New Dalmatia
226 (106.2 overs)
Alec Fedorov 68*
Sarah Wilson 3-31
no second innings
no second innings
no second innings
305 (113.3 overs)
Neil Swain 120
Ian Weightman 5-67
185/4 (67.4 overs)
Paul Donaghy 73
Colin McCarthy 2-90
Redcliff at New Dalmatia
23rd through 26th August 2019, Highrock Athletic Club, Highrock
Redcliff won the toss and chose to bat
Match drawn
Redcliff 3, New Dalmatia 2

New Dalmatia were left with any one of a number of causes to pick from as to why their Harrison Cup season came up just short; the toss, which Redcliff captain Paul Donaghy called correctly and therefore had the best of the Highrock pitch to score on, was the start of a series of events that ultimately consigned the New Dalmatians to second place. The visitors themselves had a chance of retaining their title which hinged on taking five or six points, which influenced their approach with the bat; Graeme Holt (65) set the tone by turning the second delivery of the innings for four, and naval officer and sometime middle order batsman Neil Swain was particularly aggressive as he cut and thrust his way to a hard-fought century, as New Dalmatia's vareigated bowling attack failed to bear fruit. Redcliff's 305 ate up both runs and game time, though, and with poor weather forecast for Monday the hosts needed to be speedy in their reply. This was perhaps where the title was lost for both teams; after a quick start, captain Trevor Hill (49) and Alec Fedorov (68 not out) became bogged down as Aubrey Wood and Sarah Wilson delivered maiden after maiden, their fifth wicket partnership delivering 94 runs at a strike rate of less than 40 as they seemed to prioritise saving their wickets over the competition situation. A sudden collapse late in the New Dalmatian innings brought Redcliff in again with just one day remaining, and though Hill, aware that Bradford were heading for victory at Foxdale, threw every trick on the list at the visitors to try and force some sort of result, Donaghy (73), seemingly resigned to his own side's chances having faded, displayed a masterclass of aggressively immovable batting in what may well be his final first-class innings as a player, only falling when a drop in visibility led one of Colin McCarthy's inswingers to deceive him. Two balls later, the umpires felt rain in the air, and as the familiar fog and gloom enveloped the Highrock Athletic Club, so too it did the hearts of the New Dalmatians.

1 Bradford 10 5 3 2 7 31
2 New Dalmatia 10 4 3 3 8 30
3 Redcliff 10 4 2 4 4 29
4 Sutton & Avalon 10 3 2 5 5 27
5 New Hibernia 10 4 5 1 4 22
6 Swift 10 2 7 1 5 15
National team
Test rank: 6th
ODI rank: 3rd
T20 rank: 5th
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