The long-awaited onset of summer coincided with a return to winning ways for Colne, as they achieved a comfortable six-wicket win at Rawtenstall in the league last Sunday.
Colne’s professional Shadley van Schalkwyk is now the team captain, and he began his captaincy in the approved manner by winning the toss.
On a good wicket under a hot sun, received wisdom is to bat first, but van Schalkwyk decided to field so Colne could chase a target rather than try to set one.
It was always likely to be hard to restrict run scoring, especially with a very short boundary towards Bacup Road.
However, Colne battled well and took wickets at crucial times, and Rawtenstall’s score of 221-9 was considered to be a decent performance by the Colne bowlers.
Van Schalkwyk bowled 17 overs, and his figures of 3-70 were perhaps a little less than he deserved for his effort.
He was admirably supported by Nathan Whitehead (3-44 from 11 overs), and David Wallbank chipped in with 2-15, including the vital wicket of Jandre Coetzee, Rawtenstall’s newly-arrived professional.
Kurrum Nazir took one wicket, but Colne couldn’t get the last man out for the two bonus points.
Colne’s innings started badly as Lewis Rimmer was dismissed without scoring.
Justin Nutter is growing into his new role as an opening batsman, and again provided a solid 27 runs to give the innings a good foundation.
Matthew Wilson, relieved of the burden of captaincy, scored 22 in style until unlucky to be given out lbw off what looked and sounded like an inside edge.
Then Whitehead and van Schalkwyk came together in a partnership of 120 which all but won the game for Colne.
Whitehead batted carefully and sensibly for 50, including just four fours, but pushing the ball around for ones and twos and keeping the scoreboard moving.
This was the first 50 by a Colne amateur this season. Van Schalkwyk scored 74 not out, his highest of the season so far, and he remained not out when Kurrum Nazir hit the winning six with seven balls to spare.
A busy weekend of cricket starts tonight, with a home game in the 20/20 against Todmorden, and Todmorden visit the Horsfield again for a league game on Sunday.
Then on Jubilee Holiday Monday, Colne travel to Nelson for the first derby match of the season.
Coincidentally, King George V’s silver jubilee holiday in 1935 also featured Nelson v. Colne at Seedhill, and let’s hope the excitement of that match can be equalled.
The game finished as a tie, both sides bowled out for 164.
Amar Singh took 9-61 for Colne, Learie Constantine scored 51 for Nelson.
One thing which will not be equalled is the crowd - over 14,000 people were at Seedhill.