to the Test (1990 - 1999)
the heady days of 1989 when Accrington were runners up in both competitions,
apart from 1990, the club has gone through its leanest period on the
field since the Second World War. The club has however, employed the
services of two young players in this period who have gone on to become
leading Test players.
losing the first game of the 1990s, Accrington won the next three. Andy
Barker scored 101 not out in the home win over Ramsbottom to become
the first amateur to score a century for the club since Graham Beech
in 1981. Barker and Billy Rawstron put together an unbroken 2nd wicket
stand of 144 to win the match. Accrington finished 4th in the league
with 80 points which included 17 wins and a tie. The tied game was the
last match of the season at runaway champions East Lancs. Needing 214
to win, Accrington were coasting at 170-3 after 39 overs with Billy
Rawstron and Robert Haynes in control. Rawstron (57), Mark Demaine (0)
and Haynes (26) were dismissed to leave Accrington 190-6 with three
overs left. Paul Barratt took 13 off Paul Reiffel's 19th over which
meant that 11 runs were needed off two overs. Six runs came from Haworth's
last over leaving Accrington needing 5 to win with 4 wickets standing.
Panic set in and three run outs in the last over meant that the game
ended in a tie with only 4 runs being scrambled. Robert Haynes scored
691 runs and took 88 wickets in his last season as professional. Andy
Barker achieved the club's second highest ever amateur run aggregate
with 763 runs at 38.2 and Billy Rawstron (423) and Nick Marsh (468)
also passed 400 runs. Mark Greenhalgh had a good first season with 18
wickets and Ian Birtwistle (36 wickets) and Steve Juliff (25 wickets)
supported the professional very well.
A young unknown Australian leg spinner from Victoria was signed as professional
for 1991. Shane Keith Warne enjoyed a good season with the ball, taking
73 wickets at 15.4 each, but he only scored 330 runs at 15.0 The season
started badly with four successive defeats in the league. On Sunday
May 12th, Accrington entertained Ramsbottom in the 1st Round of the
Matthew Brown Worsley Cup. Accrington batted first and made 166 all
out. Paul Barratt (30), Nick Marsh (26), Mark Greenhalgh (23) and Mick
Wilson (19) in a rare appearance, were the main contributors. Ramsbottom
seemed to be coasting home at 78-0 when Accrington captain Andy Barker,
after trying five different bowlers, turned out of desperation to Nick
Marsh who had never before taken a wicket at 1st team level. Marsh obliged
by having Ian Bell caught behind by Mick Wilson for 43. Even though
Shane Warne dismissed Ashworth at 94, it seemed a mere hiccup. Rain
intervened and play closed at 107-2 after 32 overs.
resumed on the following evening with Ramsbottom needing 60 runs to
win off 18 overs with 8 wickets remaining. Martin Whittle dismissed
Heaton and Simpson and then Shane Warne returned to have Brian Taylor
stumped by Wilson without scoring. In a superb spell, Warne dismissed
both Bryson and Dearden to leave the game in the balance. With one over
to go, Ramsbottom needed 9 to win with 3 wickets left. Warne's first
three balls beat the bat but Fielding hit the fourth ball for six. In
trying to repeat the shot, Fielding was stumped by Mick Wilson to leave
Ramsbottom needing 3 to win off the last ball. Warne's delivery was
missed by Haslam to give Accrington an unlikely first win of the season.
went out of the cup in the next round at Burnley when Warne (51) scored
his first half century for the club. Illness and abandoned games meant
that Shane only played in one more game before June 29th, the first
league win of the season against East Lancs at home when he took 4-44.
The break seemed to do him good because in his next two games he took
eleven wickets, 6-63 at Rishton and 5-35 at Ramsbottom, but unfortunately
the team weren't winning. The second victory of the season was at home
to Enfield with Warne taking 2-36. He also enjoyed a good game at Rawtenstall,
taking 6-49 and scoring 33. The beginning of August at last brought
another win, again at home, with Warne taking 5-36 against Colne. He
also took 5-69 at Bacup the following day, but once again Accrington
were beaten. In the next double header a fortnight later, Warne took
9 wickets, 4-58 against Rishton and 5-50 at Haslingden when he also
scored 51. Colne were again defeated the following week when Warne took
6-33. Shane was called home early to prepare for a forthcoming tour,
so he played his final two games for Accrington in the last weekend
in August. He took 6-27 at Lowerhouse and the following day at home
to Burnley, he took 1-72 in 20 overs and scored 27, batting at number
four. Soon after leaving Accrington he gained a place in the Australian
Test side and has since gone from strength to strength. A highly successful
tour of England in 1993 brought him 34 Test wickets, including the legendary
ball that turned the series against Mike Gatting. Shane took his 200th
Test wicket in his 42nd Test in late 1995. Accrington finished the 1991
season in 13th place, having won only five matches. Paul Barratt had
his best season, scoring 597 runs at 24.0, Billy Rawstron scored 537
runs and Nick Marsh 466 runs. The bowlers struggled with only Paul Seedle
taking 20 wickets, but at a very high cost.
Dipak Patel, the former Worcestershire all rounder, was signed up for
the 1992 season. Dipak, 33, had emigrated to New Zealand where he went
on to play Test cricket for his new country. He was a right handed middle
order batsman and an off spin bowler. Opening batsman Bob Collins had
joined the club from Haslingden and Andy Barker and Billy Rawstron left.
Accrington had another poor season, finishing 10th in the league. Patel
scored 720 runs and took 66 wickets. Nick Marsh (509 runs) and Bob Collins
(556 runs) had excellent seasons, but generally lacked support from
the other batsmen. Mark Greenhalgh continued his progress, taking 35
wickets and scoring an excellent 51 not out against Rawtenstall. The
season ended with a convincing win over champions Ramsbottom with Robert
Haynes returning in place of the injured Patel to weave some of his
old magic. He scored 53 and took 4-55 in a 51 run win.
1993 saw a slight improvement with the team notching ten wins and securing
9th place in the table. The professional was 23 year-old Neil Johnson
from Natal. Johnson, a left handed early order batsman and right arm
fast medium bowler, scored 806 runs and took 70 wickets. Last seasons
stars shone again with Bob Collins (466 runs), Nick Marsh (357 runs)
and Mark Greenhalgh (34 wickets, including a hat-trick at Nelson) again
leading the way. Young off spinner Justin Greenwood made his mark towards
the end of the season and finished on top of the Lancashire League bowling
averages with 10 wickets at 9.9 each. All Justin's wickets came in September,
the outstanding performance being his 5-28 at East Lancs.
The 1994 and 1995 seasons were virtually identical, bottom of the league
with four victories in both seasons. Barbadian Sherwin Campbell was
signed as professional for 1994 with high hopes. A 23 year-old early
order attacking batsman, very highly rated in the West Indies, Sherwin
didn't fulfill the club's expectations until the following season when
he had a very successful tour of England with the West Indies Test team.
In his season at Accrington, he scored 495 runs at an average of 21.5.
In the 1995 Test series, he scored 454 runs at 45.4 for the West Indies
against England. Mark Aspin returned to the club at the beginning of
the 1994 season. He had an outstanding season, scoring 624 runs at an
average of 31.2 and taking 41 wickets at 26.6 each. Mark also took over
as captain part way through the season after Nick Marsh resigned. Martin
Whittle (469 runs) and Paul Barratt (431 runs) also had excellent seasons.
Bob Collins suffered a broken finger in the second match and missed
the rest of the season. Mark Greenhalgh also suffered injuries which
restricted him to eight matches, although he still managed to take 27
wickets at 12.8 each.
first win of the season was at Church. Accrington batted first and scored
136 with Whittle (38), Campbell (26), Aspin (26) and Barratt (22) being
the main contributors. Church were 20-5 in the 11th over with Mark Greenhalgh
having the outstanding figures of 5-9 in 6 overs. He finally finished
with 7-26 as Church were bowled out for 112. The other high spot in
the season was the home win over Enfield in August. Enfield were bowled
out for 183 with Mark Aspin taking 5-65. Accrington won the match by
4 wickets thanks to 76 not out by Aspin. Russell Edmonds, Tofiq Khan
and Justin Greenwood all gained valuable experience in the 1st team.
All rounder Colin Miller from Tasmania and South Australia was signed
for the 1995 season. 31 year-old Miller, a right handed lower order
batsman and right arm medium fast bowler was only the third player in
the history of the Lancashire League to do the double of 1,000 runs
and 100 wickets when he was professional at Rawtenstall in 1990. Colin
had a fairly successful season at Accrington, scoring 628 runs and taking
68 wickets, in spite of missing five matches through injury. Mark Greenhalgh
joined eventual champions Rishton at the start of the season and Mark
Aspin left the club in July. Colin Miller scored the first century for
the club by a professional since 1988, when he hit 103 at Colne in the
Worsley Cup and Paul Barratt scored a career best 103 not out at Rawtenstall
in July. Paul's century made him the first player to score a hundred
for the club at 1st, 2nd and 3rd team level. Russell Edmonds (65) hit
his maiden half century in the win over Colne, and in July, Len Dewhurst
took a hat-trick in his 5-93 at Nelson. Of the four victories, two were
over Enfield. Paul Barratt scored 70 in the 4 wicket home win and Colin
Miller scored 77 not out in the 7 wicket victory at Dill Hall Lane.
Colin's final wicket for the club in the 9 wicket defeat by Ramsbottom
was a collectors item. Changing to left arm over the wicket, he trapped
Ian Bell leg before. Colin had an Indian summer to his career after
taking to bowling off spin, he went on to play Test cricket for Australia
after switching states to Victoria. During the season, Mark Aspin scored
367 runs, Russell Edmonds 308 runs, Martin Whittle 282 runs and Brian
Holmes 239 runs, including a 33 ball half century at Burnley.
In 1996 the club celebrated its 150th year. On the field, Accrington's
103rd Lancashire League campaign was not a successful one. Once again,
the team finished in bottom place, winning five matches and gaining
3 bonus points to earn a total of 23 points. The season was beset with
problems. Attempts to sign a top class professional, in first Shane
Warne (who initially approached the club) and then Peter Sleep, both
ended in failure.
eventual signing of South African Chad Grainger was so late that a substitute
professional in Steve Dublin, had to be engaged for the first fixture.
Availability of players was also a problem and the appointed captain
Brian Holmes resigned in mid season and did not play again. His successor
Paul Barratt had limited availability due to family commitments, so
Mark Stevenson was asked to captain the side. Professional Chad Grainger
was a right handed batsman and a right arm medium pace bowler, who in
the 1994-95 season had scored 588 runs at 45.2 with a highest score
of 233 for Transvaal back home in South Africa. Chad often got out going
for big shots when a steady innings was needed. Although he did not
tailor his batting to the needs of the team, he did score 828 runs at
34.5, including a century at Nelson, and he also took 37 wickets at
Innings of the season
outstanding innings of the season was Russell Edmonds' 101 at Colne.
At 18 years, 11 months and 11 days, Russell became the youngest Accrington
player to score a Lancashire League century. Russell also won the Lancashire
League Under 23 Player of the month award for August. During the season,
Russell scored 305 runs at 17.9. Paul Barratt (422 runs at 26.4) and
Mark Stevenson (360 runs at 15.6) were the pick of the batsmen and Scott
Greaves, who along with Stefan Heins and Wayne Roberts was one of three
recruits from Rishton, took 26 wickets at 27.3 was the pick of the bowlers.
season began with five defeats in the league. The first win was in the
Worsley Cup against Colne, when a good team effort secured a 2nd Round
tie at Bacup. Scott Greaves took 5-66 in Accrington's 3 wicket win.
The first league win was a low scoring affair over East Lancs. The second
was a convincing 7 wicket win at Church when an inspired spell by Scott
Greaves reduced Church to 5-4 and 29-6. Scott eventually finished with
6-37 as Accrington won again at Rawtenstall, but normal service was
resumed when the next five matches were lost. The low point in the season
was the home defeat by Rishton, when Allan Donald took 7-3 to dismiss
Accrington for a miserable 18.
loomed again in the next home game when Ramsbottom needed 4 runs to
win and the heavens opened. The game was replayed the following Saturday.
Ramsbottom batted first and were soon in trouble at 61-5. Chad Grainger
scored 94 to help his team to a 5 wicket win. The final victory was
in the last match at Burnley when a good team effort saw Accrington
end 1996 in style.
New Zealand Test batsman Nathan Astle was signed as professional for
1997. At 25 years of age, he was rated as one of the top One Day batsmen
in World Cricket. Nathan only played 7 innings in the league due to
international calls and then Nottinghamshire wanted him as a replacement
for their injured overseas player. The club agreed to his release and
were financially compensated. Peter Sleep took over, scoring 382 runs
at 34.7 and taking 49 wickets at 16.9. After a promising start with
Astle in good form, the club finished in 11th place with 47 points.
Eight matches were won and there was one tie, the first since 1990.
An Astle century at Burnley in the second match helped Accrington to
their first win of the season, but apart form the returning Billy Rawstron,
the other batsmen weren't offering much support to the professional.
After losing to Werneth in the new Inter League Challenge Trophy and
Enfield the following day, Mark Stevenson resigned the captaincy and
was replaced by Billy Rawstron. The club had an influx of players from
Enfield. The experienced Mahsooq Ahmed, Mushtaq Ahmed, Kazar Shazad
and Zahir Afzal made their league debuts for the club. Leading amateur
run scorer was Billy Rawstron with 349 at 24.9 with Mas Ahmed hitting
256 at 32.0 and Stefan Heins 202 at 14.4. Nathan Astle managed 327 at
46.7 and 21 wickets before departing for the Midlands. Tariq Hussain
took 32 wickets at 13.7, Steve Juliff 29 at 16.4 and Scott Greaves 22
at 17.7. Russell Edmonds left to join Enfield in August and there were
debuts for Adam Greenwood and Richard Burrows.
Professional for the 1998 season was Western Australia wicketkeeper
Ryan Campbell, who came to the club with a reputation for quick scoring.
Campbell scored 824 runs at 45.8, including an unbeaten 157 at Rawtenstall
and 108 at Colne. The match at Rawtenstall was won but the game at Colne
was drawn in line with revised rules that had been brought in at the
start of the season. Campbell's innings at Rawtenstall lasted 34.2 overs
and his runs were made out of a score of 203-3, batting second. In the
match at Colne, Campbell and Paul Barratt (71*) put on a club record
140 for the 4th wicket. Another spectacular piece of batting saw the
club win an Inter League Challenge Trophy match for the first time at
Heywood. Chasing 191 to win, Campbell smashed 148 with 15 boundaries
and six sixes in a 4 wicket victory. Campbell missed five matches in
August to join an Australia A tour of Britain. In addition to his firecracker
batting, he also picked up 37 wickets at 19.8 each. Steve Juliff was
the only amateur bowler to take 20 wickets. Paul Barratt was top batsman
with 352 runs at 23.5 with Zahir Afzal contributing 213 runs down the
order. Steve Juliff took over the captaincy from Billy Rawstron, who
retired again due to work commitments. Three wins and 11 defeats meant
a return to the bottom of the table with a total of 69 points.
In 1999, New Zealand professional Mark Bailey became the seventh player
in the history of the club to score 1,000 runs in a season. Bailey was
28 years-old and had played for New Zealand in One Day cricket. Back
home he played for Northern Disticts and was a right handed batsman
and right arm medium pace bowler. Although the club finished just one
place higher up the table with a total of 116 points, there were many
memorable moments. Bailey finished up with 1049 runs. At one stage it
looked as though he would threaten Bob Simpson's 40 year-old club record
after a golden fortnight in July when he scored all three of his centuries.
The sequence began at Bentgate with Bailey hitting an unbeaten 141 in
a match that was lost by 7 wickets. The following Saturday, Bailey made
an unbeaten 74 in the defeat at Nelson, but the following day, things
took a turn for the better with a huge win at Rishton. Batting first,
Accrington made 238-5 with Bailey hitting 147 and Mas Ahmed 62 in a
club record equalling stand of 221 for any wicket. The team score was
also a club record for overs matches in the Lancashire League.
Another win over Rawtenstall the following Saturday saw Bailey score
his only century at Thorneyholme Road. An unusual feature in this match
was the fact that two amateurs, left arm spinner Damien Clarke and Zahir
Afzal, both took 5 wickets. The professional had a quiet spell after
that, in fact he didn't pass 50 again as he crawled past 1,000 runs.
Bailey also took 41 wickets during the season at 24.9. Tariq Hussian
(49) and Zahir Afzal (42*) put on a club record stand of 85 for
the 8th wicket against Lowerhouse at Accrington. Wicketkeeper Mark Burns
and Matt Wilson, who would take up the gloves the following season,
both joined the club. Burns had an excellent season, finishing with
31 victims and 226 runs. Wilson hit 227 runs, Mas Ahmed 484 runs at
30.2 and Mus Ahmed 301 runs, including a superb unbeaten 73 in the final
match at Turf Moor, when Accrington beat Burnley by 1 wicket in a nail
biting finish. There was another change of captain during the season,
the sixth successive season that this happened, with Mas Ahmed taking
over from the injured Steve Juliff.
New Millennium (2000 - 09)
Back to Earth (2010- )
and District League Days
Days (1846 - 1890)
league with the best (1891 - 1910)
road to glory (1911 - 1916)
the wars(1919 - 1939)
and rollin' into the 50s (1940 - 1958)
again (1959 - 1964)
stars (1965 - 1973)
Worsick Era (1974 - 1983)
Bumble is back (1984 - 1989)
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