Westmorland Cricket League: Shireshead maintain fine start to season in defence of title.

Shireshead's Nick Rafferty on his way to 75 against Silverdale.
Shireshead's Nick Rafferty on his way to 75 against Silverdale.
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Shireshead continued their fine start to their defence of the Westmorland Cricket League Division One title with a convincing victory over Silverdale at Clifton Park.

Silverdale had no hesitation in asking Shireshead to bat first upon winning the toss with the threat of rain in the ai, but Phil Oliver (20) and Phil Bovis had added 27 in quick time before Oliver fell in the fourth over.

An athletic catch accounted for Bovis before Nick Rafferty (75) and Simon Gould added 59 in 10 overs to strengthen Shireshead’s hand.

Rafferty played the innings of the day as he struck 13 boundaries all round the wicket in a fine run-a-ball innings, but when he was one of three wickets to fall in the space of just 17 balls the momentum threatened to stall at 138 for 6 from 23 overs. However skipper Paul Yates (25 not out) and Dave Jack (23 not out) calmly added 47 in just seven overs to re-establish Shireshead in the ascendancy before steady drizzle halted proceedings at the 30 over mark and forced a declaration at 185 for 6.

The Silverdale reply was reduced to a 32 overs which started badly as James Rafferty (5 for 27) began with a wicket in each of his first two overs.

When Jack chipped in with two more wickets in his second over the Silverdale reply was reeling at 14 for 4.

The introduction of leg-spinner Rowan Upton (3 for 22) provided no respite as the youngster was straight in to his stride.

Steven Creed (50) was beginning to counter-attack gamely, however, as he took the attack to the Shireshead bowlers.

Creed struck the ball powerfully and played some glorious strokes in his half century before Rafferty returned to wrap the game up in the 20th over as Silverdale were dismissed for 95.

The rest of the league programme was decimated by the weather on Saturday.