Alderley Edge CC First XI's up and down start to the season continued with a resounding T20 victory on Thursday at Macclesfield followed by a frustrating draw at bottom club Grappenhall in Cheshire County League action.
Winning the toss and batting first at the Victoria Ground, Adam Worrall opened the batting with Calum Rowe who both quickly set about the Macclesfield attack racing to 55 before Worrall fell for 24 off 12 balls. Rowe continued to punish the home bowling going to his 50 off 42 deliveries adding 66 in partnership with George Bell who hit a quickfire 38 on debut for the first team. Ed Fluck, fresh from playing for Cheshire's T20 side helped to end the innings on a high with some lusty hitting to take the Alderley total up to 174-4. Former Alderley man Khalid Sawas claimed 2-31 from 3 overs for Macc on a rare outing with the ball.
Alderley were clinical with the ball in the second innings, restricting the hosts scoring and taking regular wickets. Worrall used 7 bowlers in total, Richard Wilkinson taking 4-17 from 4 excellent overs to account for Macclesfield's dangerous top three batsmen. Harry Elms, also on debut for the first team, impressed with 2 wickets in 2 balls to finish with 2-23. Macclesfield's captain Peter Barron hit a spirited 32 from 21 balls from number 6, but there was little resistance following his dismissal with Alderley accounting for the home side 57 runs short of their target.
On Saturday Alderley traveled to bottom club Grappenhall buoyed by the inclusion of Lancashire all-rounder Danny Lamb who was available for his first game for the club this season. Winning the toss Grappenhall elected to bowl first and quickly had Alderley in trouble at 7-1. Opener Alan Day and Lamb, batting at number 3, put on a superb partnership of 155 for the second wicket in response.
After Lamb was dismissed for 84 off just 92 balls, Day continued to push the score along adding 45 with Richard Wilkinson before departing for 86. Adam Worrall helped to end the innings with impetus hitting 34 from just 25 balls to push Alderley to 263-4, Wilkinson finishing on 48 not out. Gareth Burns was the pick of the home bowling with 3-58 from 17 overs.
In response Grappenhall seemed to change their mind a number of times as to whether the target was achievable or not. Lamb and Australian Keiran Elliott made early inroads with the new ball to leave the hosts at 31-3. Home captain Adam Roylance and Ben Bodha played patiently to frustrate the Alderley attack in a defensive display before opening up to more expansive play when an outside chance of victory seemed to be a growing option for the home side. The partnership of 141 was broken by Elliott removing Bodha for 64, and when Roylance was dismissed soon after for 78 the visitors pushed for victory but could not find a way through.
With five catches of varying difficulty dropped through the innings Alderley rued missed opportunities when Grappenhall's tail stood firm with Alderley managing to take 8 wickets and the lions share of points 14 to 6 with the hosts 26 runs short. Elliott again impressed with the ball to claim 3-71 for the visitors backed up by Tom Foreman and Alan Day with 2 wickets apiece.
In a nail-biting reverse fixture at Moss Lane, Alderley's Second XI claimed victory by 6 runs. Struggling at 55-5 having been asked to bat Alderley's lower middle order provided the key runs to take the hosts to 157 with captain Jon Usher hitting 43 and David Johnson 24. Ross Arrowsmith and Will Metcalfe claimed 3 wickets each for Grappenhall.
At 120-4 the visitors appeared to be cruising to victory but crucial wickets from Lancashire women's star Emma Lamb (3-58) and Mark Hutchinson (3-28) put the brakes on the response with 6 wickets falling for just 31 runs leaving Alderley to claim victory in the 46th over.
On Sunday Alderley's Third team faired well in a losing effort against a strong Didsbury outfit at Moss Lane. 59 from Nathan Pugh and Harry Elms' 58 from just 53 balls propelled the home team to a competitive 191-6 from their 45 overs, Dave Boorman the pick of the Didsbury attack with 2-64.
An opening stand of 125 set the visitor's platform for victory but Alderley showed good fighting spirit in claiming 3 wickets in the space of 10 balls to leave Didsbury on 125-4. Numbers 5 and 6 Jason Jeffrey and Chris Elsden played calmly to add the remaining 67 needed for victory by 6 wickets, Alex Murty taking 2-40 for Alderley.
Match report by Andrew Windle.