On another wet and dismal August Saturday, Alderley Edge 1st XI earned a very useful 12 points from a drawn game at Grappenhall, more or less ensuring their place once more in the top flight for next season and maintaining hopes of what would be a creditable top-half finish.
Despite a batting order re-shuffle, Alderley's top 5 again failed to fire, in several cases to some reckless strokes, and at 43-5 once again a recovery mission was needed. Sure enough the remaining batsmen didn't disappoint. Mark Currie, batting at 6 rather than his customary opening slot, played fluently on both sides of the wicket for a classy 76 as he put on a century stand with Charlie Reid for the 6th wicket. This feat was very nearly emulated by Reid (78 not out) and Jon Steele who crashed a lightning-fast 48 not out, with one of his three massive sixes going straight through a spectator's car windscreen. Alderley's innings ended on 244-7.
Hampered by an injury to strike bowler Simon O'Brien, Alderley's restricted bowling attack then toiled against the aggressive Green and McCoy, who both made half centuries. Grappenhall reached the situation of needing 90 from 19 overs when captain Green was bowled by Andrew Windle for a stylish 81. At this point, with 6 wickets still in hand, Grappenhall bewilderingly decided to shut up shop and settle for a draw when a win seemed well within their grasp. This led to a rather turgid last hour of play before a third bout of rain – mercifully, some might say – brought the match to a close 4 overs early.
More bad news for the 2nd XI as they lost a crucial relegation battle at home to Grappenhall. Set to chase 185, with 5 wickets for Mark Warnes, Alderley, despite fielding an apparently much stronger team than in the last couple of weeks, collapsed to 120 all out, the last wicket falling with just 8 balls remaining. Grappenhall thus narrowed the gap to 11 points and have two theoretically much easier fixtures than Alderley remaining.
On Sunday the 3rd XI brought their outstanding season to a close, registering a 13th victory of the campaign, by 125 runs against Cheadle Hulme Ladybridge. Sam Perry's prolific season ended with a flawless 95, run out just 5 short of what would have been a much deserved century as Alderley piled up 190-5 declared from 37 overs. In reply Ladybridge's top order could find no answer to the pace of Henry Scanlon (4-18), and they succumbed to a total of 65 all out. Under the inspirational leadership of captain Chris Smith, Alderley have won their division by not far short of 100 points and have played some adventurous and exciting cricket throughout, a great effort from a team which generally contained 8 players aged 18 or under.
Match report by Richard Davis.