Chirk round off 2021 season on a high with outgoing skipper Swarbrick claiming 7-16

Andrew Swarbrick has had a phenomenal season – 794 league runs and 39 league wickets



Bomere Heath 1st XI (0) 61-10
Chirk 1st XI (20) 64-1

Report: Andrew Edwards

As another cricket season draws to a close, I always feel that an apt song to accompany the occasion and perhaps the melancholic feeling is “When An Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease” by Mancunian folk singer Roy Harper.

The end of a season means hibernation or the close of a chapter until the bright re-emerging and new beginning of Spring.

In his last match as Chirk Firsts captain, Andrew Swarbrick signed off this particular passage of his playing career with an immensely impressive bowling display of seven for 16 in 11 overs.

Four of Swarbrick’s victims were bowled as hosts Bomere Heath had no answer to Chirk’s talismanic all-rounder, the Shropshire villagers bundled out for only 61 in 24.4 overs.

These were Swarbrick’s top bowling figures of the season and the third best of his career.

As well as collecting 39 league wickets in 2021 – a total bettered only by his 48 in 2019 – the all-rounder also posted 794 league runs, the highest tally by far of any batsman in Division One.

He notched three centuries and three fifties – including a 99 – and averaged 72.18.

The highest partnership in Bomere Heath’s effort was 20 for the 10th and final wicket between Tom Davison (11 not out) and George Fry (8).

However, top scorer was Charles Wigley with 17, batting at number four, before being one of Swarbrick’s seven victims as he was snaffled up at gully by newly-appointed skipper for the 2022 season, Luke Gardner.

The defiant final stand was broken by George Collins with his first wicket for Chirk’s most senior team.

Collins was making his sophomore appearance for the firsts after an impressive second half of the season for the seconds.

Well batted: Liam Walker

In reply, Chirk knocked off the runs in double quick time in only 10.1 overs with opener Liam Walker hitting his best score for the firsts of 39 not out off only 34 balls.

The 17-year-old Walker completed an impressive season on a personal level for himself that included captaining the seconds and hitting a superb maiden hundred (133) at Quayside Cricket Club in June.

An interesting anecdote about his innings was that Walker, a lifelong Wrexham fan and season ticket holder, finished the match at 2.20 pm.

This would have enabled him to watch The Dragons’ impressive 1-0 win against Dagenham & Redbridge – albeit he would have had to attend in cricket whites to get to his seat on time for the 3pm kick off!

Wicket-keeper James Carter was also 22 not out from only 17 balls.

The firsts finished an impressive fifth in Shropshire County Cricket League Division One, the same position as the second team in Division Seven.

All in all, a total of six players from both Chirk teams hit centuries in the 2021 season – Andrew Swarbrick, Gareth Partridge (Division One best score of 156 not out), James Carter, Liam Walker, Nick Flack and Ian Skinner, skipper of the seconds.

In years gone by, players who achieved this feat were rewarded by the club with the purchase of a new bat. Of course, if this had been the case for the 2021 season, the club would have had to fork out quite a bit of money!

The club patrons present, including myself as Chirk Seconds home match was conceded by Shifnal Fourths late on Friday evening, then returned to Holyhead Road to happily reflect on the endeavours of a successful 2021 season where great fun and laughter ensued.

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