Rafferty takes five as Shireshead begin title tilt with Burneside victory

Shireshead captain Paul Yates.
Shireshead captain Paul Yates.

Title favourites Shireshead & Forton opened their Westmorland League Division One championship hunt with a 58-run victory over Burneside at Clifton Park on Saturday.

The hosts were invited to bat and began brightly with a flurry of early boundaries.

Paul Yates (31) and Liam Parkinson added 34 for the first wicket before Parkinson departed run out, bringing Peter Wilson to the crease.

Wilson (46) took the innings up a gear as he struck eight boundaries in a run-a-ball innings to leave Shireshead well placed at 104-1 from 27 overs.

S Airey (4 for 40) reigned the innings back and Shireshead’s middle order misfired slightly before Phil Oliver and Steve Yates rallied to post a respectable 171 for 8.

Shireshead’s new look opening bowling pair of James Rafferty and Danny Wilkinson began steadily, Rafferty removing J Ellwood as Dave Murphy took a sharp chance behind the stumps.

R Davies and M Oates (32) battled hard to add 37 for the second wicket but pressure applied by Wilson (2 for 18) and Oliver (2 for 16) eventually told when Davies was removed by an athletic Nick Rafferty catch and the innings slipped to 83 for 5.

The return of Rafferty (5 for 26) hastened the end as he bowled with good pace and accuracy to remove the Burneside lower order in quick time and give Shireshead victory with almost five overs to spare.