After the glitz and glamour of last Thursday's celebrity charity T20 game, Alderley Edge CC's first XI returned to the grind of the ECB Cheshire Premier League with a trip to Didsbury presenting a potential banana skin to Alderley's league campaign.
After losing the toss Adam Worrall's side were asked to bowl first on a muggy afternoon after some early morning showers at the hosts' Wilmslow Road ground.
Didsbury's openers started positively but as in-form seamer Richard Wilkinson began to adjust to conditions he worked his way through the hosts' top order to leave them reeling at 52-5.
With the situation worsening for the home side at 64-7 Liam Booth joined Michael Taylor at the wicket and began to rebuild the innings in spectacular fashion. The two batted responsibly initially before expanding their range of shots in a remarkable counter-attack which put Alderley on the back foot.
When number 9 Booth was eventually dismissed for 86 from 93 balls the pair had added 166 for the 8th wicket and boosted Didsbury's total to 232. Taylor provided great support in compiling 68 with the pair being the only members of the home side to come to terms with Wilkinson who returned 6-52 for Alderley, Charlie Reid and Hamish Winter-Irving also picking up two wickets apiece.
With Didsbury dismissed in the 49th over Alderley had 61 overs in which to chase down their target. Steady progress was made throughout the early part of the innings with the majority of the visitor's top order registering scores in the 20s to leave Alderley at 102-5.
Youngster Ed Fluck entered the fray at number 6 for Alderley batting with great maturity in the face of a Didsbury attack sensing an upset to add 48 for the 6th wicket in quick time with skipper Worrall (24 runs from 25 balls) and then 60 in a key partnership with Tom Foreman (36 from 37).
When Fluck became the 8th wicket to fall having registered his 50 Alderley were still 19 adrift of their target with wickets in short supply. Reid and Winter-Irving withstood a late burst from opposing skipper Nick Anderson (3-39) to grind out the remaining runs needed with Alderley 8 wickets down and register a hard-fought 25 points to keep them at the top of the league.
Alderley's Second XI put in an impressive performance to also claim maximum points in the reverse fixture at Moss Lane. Winning the toss and batting Alderley scored steadily on the back of contributions throughout the order with Hall, Wright, Usher and Bhamdipati all getting starts without going on to register a big score. Number 8 Chris Cook applied some acceleration towards the end of the innings with a well made 47 propelling the home side to 212-9 off their 50 overs.
In reply Didsbury's top order were unable to withstand Alderley's opening pair of Cook and Dan Fesmer who quickly reduced the visitors to 31-4, a position from which they were unable to recover despite a spirited 58 from number 5 Hashir Khan. Cook claimed 5-16 from 8 excellent overs to skittle Didsbury for 107 with 24 overs to spare. Fesmer claimed 2-30 and young Ashray Bhamdipati 2-14 in support.
Chris Smith's 3rd team completed a clean sweep of victories for Alderley over the weekend with another solid display to defeat current league-leaders Sale. Sale were restricted to 185-9 by good bowling from the Alderley attack, in particular Rhys Mallard, Nathan Pugh and George Bell. When it was Alderley's turn to bat, Bell led the team home with a polished 79 not out with 2 overs to spare to register another 25 point win, Blair Campbell supporting well with 33.
Match report by Andrew Windle.