COLNE suffered a 109-run defeat in a rain-affected Fosters Lancashire League opener at home to Enfield on Sunday.
Traditionally the start of the Lancashire League season brings cold weather and rain. And sure enough, at 1 o’clock at the Horsfield on Sunday, the thermometer read 6.5 degrees and the covers were on.
But the rains cleared, and sterling efforts by the groundstaff made a start possible soon after 2 pm.
The wicket was astonishingly hard, albeit damp on top, but the outfield was very soft.
Colne skipper Matthew Wilson won the toss and asked Enfield to bat.
The season was off to a great start as Matthew Walker took the wickets of both openers to leave Enfield at 8-2.
But that was as good as it got for Colne, as Enfield’s new captain Adam Bracewell and professional Werner Coetzee put together a speedy partnership of 124.
Coetzee was bowled for 64 by his opposite number, Colne’s new pro Shadley van Shalkwyk.
Shadley showed signs that he will be a handful for opposing batsmen, especially when and if the weather dries up, but this was his only wicket of the day.
But this wicket served only to bring Joseph Wrigley to the crease, and he and Bracewell added a further 125 in quick time, taking brutal advantage of most of the Colne bowlers.
Six bowlers were tried, the last of them being 16-year-old Bradley Ramshead.
He was unlucky to make his debut bowling at Bracewell when he was very well set, but he fielded well and took took a good catch on the boundary.
The innings mercifully ended after the reduced 41 overs, with a huge score of 301-5.
Adam Bracewell made an Enfield amateur record score of 151 not out, from only 115 balls, with 10 sixes and 13 fours.
But at least the sun shone for much of the innings and the temperature reached 12 degrees by tea!
The clouds returned during Colne’s innings, and after 18 overs, hailstones drove the players off.
For the next hour, the Enfield team helped the groundstaff to keep the field playable - 20 overs are needed to make a match, and an abandonment would not only mean missing out on the win, but also Bracewell’s record score would be wiped out and the match replayed.
Eventually the rain relented and the umpires agreed to restart. Before the players came out, the rain started again, but Colne captain Wilson sportingly agreed to let the game continue, contrary to the league rules which forbid a restart while it is raining.
There was time for van Shalkwyk to be given out lbw before the end of the match, Colne finishing 109 runs short of the revised target.
Nelson’s game with Rishton was one of five games washed out and will be replayed on the first fixed date on Saturday, May 12th.
On Sunday, Nelson are at Rawtenstall, and Colne at Rishton.