After cancellations to their first two games of the season, Alderley Edge CC first XI began their season straight in at the deep end on Saturday against reigning Cheshire League Champions Chester Boughton Hall at Moss Lane.
Adam Worrall won the toss and elected to bowl first on what looked to be a helpful surface. Richard Wilkinson and new overseas player Keiran Elliott made sterling progress with the new ball reducing the visitors to 76-6 with the dismissal of dangerous opening batsman Warren Goodwin for 39. At 109-8 things were still looking good for Edge but a 9th wicket stand of 48 between wicketkeeper Alex Nash (16) and Tom Wyatt (52 not out) propelled Chester to a competitive 167-9 from their 55 overs. Australian paceman Elliott picked up 5-35 from 17 overs on a highly promising debut for the hosts.
Chester's seam attack made life difficult from the outset and at 38-5 the home side were in deep trouble with little possibility of victory, Chester captain Will Owen the man doing the bulk of the damage with 5-36. Elliott showed a good deal of fight with the bat to top score with 20 from number 8 in the order, absorbing 69 balls in the process to push Alderley towards a draw that would deny their potential title rivals the additional points for victory that could be extremely important come the end of the season. The Alderley tail stuck to their task in the face of some hostile bowling from Cheshire one-day captain Rick Moore whose late burst brought 2 wickets but numbers 10 and 11, Dan Fesmer and Adam Condliffe stood firm to deny the Chester attack to close on 83-9 taking 5 points to Chester's 11.
In the second XI fixture Alderley suffered a heavy loss, blown away for 88 in reply to Chester's 220-8. Winning the toss and batting, Chester's top 6 all registered double figure contributions with Dilruk Yahathugoda and Ed Roberts top-scoring with 37 apiece. Katie Haszeldine and the returning Jon Steele picking up 2 wickets apiece for Alderley. In reply opening batsman Mark Currie struck 21 for the visitors but an amazing 8 over spell from Robin Fisher in which he took 5 wickets for 1 run (including 7 maidens) stopped Edge in their tracks dismissing the visitors in 29 overs.
On Sunday the First XI returned to Moss Lane for their Cheshire Cup first round tie against Division 1 side Upton. Winning the toss, Alderley skipper Adam Worrall elected to bat first. The hosts progressed to 46 before losing their fist wicket, Calum Rowe's assault on the Upton bowlers bringing a quickfire 41 from 50 balls at the top of the order to give the innings momentum. On losing Rowe at 70-3 Alderley suffered an epic collapse, losing 6 wickets for the addition of only 10 runs as James Williams (4 wickets for 12 runs) and Ross Dixon (3 for 4) squeezed the life out of the middle order. Numbers 10 and 11, Dan Fesmer and Andrew Windle, added a composed partnership of 34 to give Alderley a chance in the game pushing the total up to 114 but crucially dismissed with a full 7 overs of their 45 remaining.
In response, the Alderley attack struck at regular intervals through Upton's innings and at 92-7 the game was on a knife edge with Alderley sensing a growing chance of victory. However, the visitor's Australian overseas opener Chris McArthur saw his team home for the loss of 8 wickets with an excellent unbeaten 71 from 83 balls. Alderley's bowlers fought valiantly with Richard Wilkinson taking 3-40 and Keiran Elliott and Charlie Reid 2 wickets apiece but the result means an early exit from the Cheshire Cup which they were hoping to advance to the latter stages of.
Alderley's Third XI provided the highlights of the weekend with victory on Sunday in the league and on Bank Holiday Monday in Twenty20 action. In the league match away at Sale, Alderley's team included a superstar cameo from ex-England captain Michael Vaughan playing alongside son Archie. Winning the toss and batting, the home side were on the rack with Will Fosbrook (3-30) and Siddant Kumar (2-22) keeping their progress in check. A battling 76 from home skipper Abas Rizvi at number 8 pushed Sale's total up to 151, a good performance with the ball from Alderley dismissing the hosts in 39 overs. In reply, Alderley always looked in control - 45 from Fosbrook and 37 from opener George Valentine providing the platform for the visitors, leaving Vaughan senior (batting at number 8) to hit the winning runs in the 43rd over giving victory by 4 wickets.
On Monday Alderley secured back-to-back wins in the round robin stages of the Twenty20 competition at neighbours Macclesfield. The hosts won the toss and decided to bowl, a decision they soon regretted as opener George Bell and number 4 Harry Elms plundered 91 not out and 84 not out respectively in an awesome display of hitting. Macclesfield opener Mitch Moores hit a creditable 69 in reply but Alderley's total of 215-2 was always out of reach for the home side, Macclesfield falling a huge 64 runs short in posting 151-4 from their 20 overs.
Match report by Andrew Windle.