Westmorland Cricket League review: Double over Warton pivotal for Shireshead

Shireshead celebrate winning the 2015 Westmorland Cricket League Division One title.
Shireshead celebrate winning the 2015 Westmorland Cricket League Division One title.

Summer bypassed this neck of the woods but there was plenty of heat generated on the fields of the 2015 Westmorland Cricket League.

The close of play final table was predictable on the one hand yet looks bizarre on the other. Remarkably the rain kept away most Saturdays.

By the half way stage it was looking to be a dog-eat-dog season and so it proved.

Outside the top three the average number of losses for the next nine was more than nine, unique in the modern WCL.

Out of this cauldron the cream rose to the surface and it was left to those best of enemies Shireshead and Forton and Warton to slug it out.

The better team won. The double over Warton was the clincher for Shires.

Since the recruitment of six players of proven pedigree over the last couple of years the Shireshead club has been transformed. Famine to feast so to speak.

Having defended their title their next goal will be to become just the third club in the 122 year history of the WCL to make it a hat-trick of championships.

Already it looks to be a foregone conclusion.

It was the two head-to-head clashes that separated the two.

In the first encounter that cricketing genius Peter Wilson chose his moment to return the all-rounders double reminiscent of his Westgate glory days.

By the penultimate game of the season it had come down to winner takes all.

It was the sweetest victory of the season for Shires and one of the most humiliating ever defeats for Warton.

In a superb exhibition of bowling Warton were dismissed in 67 balls for 23 runs.

The executioners were Dave Jack and James Rafferty returning to haunt his old teammates.

Jack has blossomed playing with class performers. For too long underrated he is now a star act in a team of stars.

Warton will not be too unhappy with the bridesmaid award. In Graham Crowther and Steven Beck they have what all teams need to be competitive.As opening bowlers both had 50 wicket seasons.

Ryan Nelson with more than 500 league runs is light years ahead of most village batsmen.

Arnside had a season of two halves. Pre-season high hopes were soon dashed with four losses in the first seven games.

You don’t recover from that but they will lick their wounds in readiness for next season. They are a good side.

With so many losses to their names the other nine clubs will be wondering where it all went wrong.

Westgate and Milnthorpe are rebuilding and can take comfort from the contributions of some promising youngsters.

The ‘everyday hero’ award granted to Westgate’s secretary was just reward for his selfless work for the club.

Heysham have mastered the art of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory otherwise they would have been top three challengers.

Burneside and Windermere were strengthened forces from last season but in both cases their glory days of yore are becoming but a distant memory.

If the League Management Committee plan to restructure the divisions comes to fruition it will be Ambleside, Sedgwick and Bare for the drop with Silverdale breathing a huge sign of relief.