Salford Blue Jays moved to the top of the 8-a-side competition’s Manchester & Trafford B Division after two huge wins for Captain Ross Bloomberg’s charges.
The first came on a rain soaked evening at Parrs Wood against OL6ers. The artificial pitch allowed the match to be played through persistent rain and Salford’s batsmen seemed to enjoy the wet.
Openers Indy Samra and Daniel Bourke both made 50s, off 29 and 30 balls respectively, retiring as per the rules, before Jonny Wineberg (25 off 23) and Grant Pakter (33 not out off 22) consolidated the innings, two late wickets as the team pressed on left them on an impressive 165 for 2 after their 20 overs.
In reply, Bilal Qasim gave OL6ers some hope with 50 off 22, but Salford’s bowlers pegged the rest of the batsmen back. Bloomberg was particularly impressive only conceding 14 runs and taking 2 wickets in his 4 overs of off spin. OL6ers eventually finished on 150 for 4, giving Salford the 15 run victory.
On a brighter Tuesday evening at Cheetham Hill, a 35 run victory over Hickling’s Run Out Victims saw the Blue Jays hit the top of the league.
Despite winning the toss, Hickling’s surprisingly passed up the chance to make the best out of a slow, damp wicket and put Salford in to bat. Openers Daniel Bourke and Waseem Hassan strode out to bat both keen to add to previous 50s in the competition.
Runs were however slow to come by due in part to an accurate bowling attack and the slow outfield which never allowed Salford to get on top of their counterparts. Once Bourke (7 off 9) and Hassan (12 off 14) had been dismissed, Sunday Captain Josh Henry (40 off 36) and Fahar Niazi (12 off 18) added vital mid order runs along with debutante Richard Roberts.
This set the platform for some pinch hitting at the end of the innings by T20 Captain Ross Bloomberg (10 off 8) and the veteran Shimon Harris (8 off 11) who battled on as the last man stands. Harris was eventually bowled in the final over as Salford reached 105 for 8.
Salford took to the field relatively confident that their 105 total would be defendable on the deteriorating wicket and in truth Hickling’s never managed to get ahead of the run rate. With Hassan and Bloomberg both keeping it tight with their leg and off spin respectively, regular wickets fell with Niazi showing impressive fielding getting both a run out and taking a superb one handed catch at cover.
The stage was set for specialist death bowler Josh Henry to mop up the tail of the Hickling’s batting line up, taking a superb 3 for 6 of just 9 balls as Hickling’s finished all out for 70 runs in the 16th over.
“The lads have really taken to this format brilliantly,” T20 Captain Ross Bloomberg commented, “and we are looking sharper each and every game now. Right now we are focusing on keeping this good form going in LMS and making the top spot our own as we look to secure promotion to the top division.”
Salford Blue Jays next game in LMS is Wednesday the 20th of July against Fighting Lions at Parrs Wood.