Monday, 18 June 2018
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Sunday, 10 June 2012

MIKE Smith is the latest in a long line of top professionals to grace Towncroft, writes STEVE BOTT.

The South African all-rounder has already made his mark after just one season as he led Middleton to their most successful term for decades in 2011.

Steve Davey's men collected the 20/20 trophy after a marvellous day at their home ground and added to that with a Wood Cup final win.

It all happened in a year that will also be remembered because THE most famous name in Middleton CC history, Basil D'Oliveira, passed away too. The occasion was marked not just on the club but in Middleton in general.

Mixed emotions then at the club so far this year but its onwards and upwards at the moment as we are currently well into the 2012 season and, while the heights have yet to be hit, Middleton are there or thereabouts and could still add to that honours list all being well.

As professionals go, Smith looks to be a diamond. He was brought to Towncroft after three successful years at Lancashire League club Bacup where he amassed more than enough runs to attract the committee's attention.

He continued in that vein last season and smashed well over 1500 as those two cups were collected.

His strength is with the bat but he can also bowl and is a great asset and motivator in the field too. Another important facet of his impressive portfolio is his willingness to help bring on the club's younger players right through the age groups and whenever there is a nets session at Towncroft, Mike will generally be there.

John Burton, Roy Gilchrist, Kelvin Williams, Paul Rocca, Reuven Peiris and Brad Osborne are among the others who have filled the pro's role over the years at Middleton just before and since I joined the club as a lad way back in 1960 something.

There have been even bigger names at and on the ground too with Gary Sobers, Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall, Carl Hooper, Ian Botham, Graham Hick and the late Graham Dilley visitors and players over the years.

One of my favourite tales involving a pro and a Middleton player concerns my former next door neighbour on Springfield Road at the back of the ground, Gavin Deakin, and the West Indian pace ace Garner.

It was up at Littleborough and Garner had torn through the previous Middleton batsmen with consummate ease and not a little venom. In came Gavin who towered just above the stumps. Gav faced three balls from the giant Big Bird. The first whistled over his curly-haired head, the second skimmed a shoulder and the third bowled him clean out.

Sympatheitic applause accompanied Gavin back up the pavillion steps and one voice shouted: "Never mind Gav. You couldn't do much against that!" To which Gavin replied: "Yes, but that third ball was the first one I SAW!"

Home of the Moonrakers

Middleton C.C. currently have three senior teams competing in the Penine Cricket League, and five junior teams.

Senior matches take place on the majority of Saturday and Sundays.

The Junior sides play on various nights throughout the week, as well as the Under 13s playing on Sunday mornings.

We have a function room that is available for hire all year round. For more information click here.

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Club Opening Hours
Sat        12 noon-11pm
Sun        12 noon-11pm
Mon  8:00pm-11pm   
Tues  8:00pm-11pm   
Weds  8:00pm-11pm   
Thurs  8:00pm-11pm   
Fri  4:00pm-11pm
Play Cricket Website
For all fixtures, results and statistics please visit our Play Cricket website here.
Training Times
Senior Training
Mon/Tues   6pm-8pm
Thursday   6pm-8pm
Junior Training
Friday     6pm-7.30pm  
Club Membership

The Club is always on the look out for new members. Be it purely social or playing membership, we are always looking to expand our community.

Membership forms can be picked up from behind the bar or downloaded from here.

50/50 Club
The Club hold a weekly draw. The cost is £5 per month, and the weekly prize is £50. Anybody interested should contact Peter Collinson.
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