Alderley Edge CC's First XI title ambitions took another critical hit on Saturday with defeat against relegation threatened Cheadle in the ECB Cheshire Premier League. Winning the toss, Captain Adam Worrall asked the home side to bat first on a green but firm pitch at the Kingsway ground.
The Cheadle top order mixed positive strokeplay with some good fortune in helpful bowling conditions early in the innings to reach 103-4 mainly on the back of opener Greg Dixon's contribution of 55. Alderley were left to rue missed chances to dismiss Cheadle skipper Dan Brown, dropped twice before reaching double figures, who went on to make an unbeaten 95 batting at number 5. Brown shared in the key partnership for the fifth wicket with Will Holmes (35), the pair putting on 80 and laying the platform for Brown to take Cheadle past the 200 mark with the home side's lower order eventually closing on 237-7 from their 55 overs. Andrew Windle was the pick of Alderley's attack, bowling his full 17 over allocation in claiming 3-54 including 6 maidens, Alan Day took 2-39 in a rare appearance with the ball.
The home side had the ideal start to their reply removing Alderley opener Calum Rowe with the second ball of the innings. Khalid Sawas, replacing Rowe, provided the backbone of the visitor's reply with 77 from 88 balls. When Sawas was 6th man out with the score on 141 the majority of Alderley's middle order had been swept aside by Henry Appleyard who claimed 4-61 for the home side. Number 7 Tom Foreman (32) and number 8 Charlie Reid (21) continued to take the fight to the Cheadle attack but when Reid and Hamish Winter-Irving were removed in quick succession with 47 still required Cheadle were on the brink of another upset win. Final pair Windle and Ben Lambert tested the home side's nerve hitting 5 boundaries between them in a final stand of 28 to give Alderley hope of a backs-to-the-wall victory, but when Lambert attempted one big shot too many to be caught at backward point, Cheadle completed victory by 19 runs which may prove crucial in their bid for Premier League survival. For Alderley, a third defeat in five matches has left them trailing leaders Chester Boughton Hall by 33 points with just 3 games remaining in the season.
Alderley's Second XI hosted Upton on Saturday, unable to secure victory by a margin of just one wicket. Winning the toss and electing to bowl first, the visitors were soon made to rue their decision as openers Ollie Hall (89) and George Bell (70) took Alderley to 149 before the fall of the first wicket. Quickfire runs from David Wright and Harry Elms helped accelerate the home side to 255-4 from 48 overs at which point stand-in captain Dan Fesmer took the decision to declare.
At 59-3 Alderley were well on their way to victory and regular wickets for Fesmer (2-41), Mark Warnes (3-58) and Ashray Bhamidipati (2-27) kept the visitors pegged back in their attempts to mount a serious threat to Alderley's first innings total. However, Upton's final pair, Joe Greene and Graeme Keenan, were to deny the home side victory, holding out for the final 5 overs of the game closing on 189-9.
On Sunday at Moss Lane, Alderley's Third XI hosted Nantwich who were contained to 155-9 by reliable spin duo Harry Elms (4-42) and George Bell (3-46) before the visitors final pair broke loose to carry them to a total of 225. Alderley knew they would need to bat well to complete the chase and all their batsmen contributed, in particular Ben Davis with 48 before being unfortunately run out and Henry Stevinson who made a stylish 41. However, it was opener Bell who was the rock of the innings carrying his bat for an excellent unbeaten 90 to take the home side to victory.
Match report by Andrew Windle.