After such an excellent first half of the season, Alderley Edge 1st XI will be disappointed with how the latter stages of the campaign have gone, especially after a 4-wicket defeat on Saturday by next-to-bottom Marple.
In truth, this margin of victory does not accurately convey just how comfortably Marple won. Put into bat on a slow, seaming track, Alderley's batsmen never really got the upper hand against a steady and consistent bowling attack, and in a total of 183 all out, although several batsmen got starts, Alan Day's 36 was the top individual score.
Marple were always up with or ahead of the required run rate; the experienced Andrew Hall applied himself well in making 70, and Marple coasted home with 4 overs to spare, having really been fed too many 'boundary balls' by Alderley's attack. Alderley will be very keen to win their last match of the season next Saturday at Bowdon in order to cement 4th place, which would still be a highly creditable achievement.
The 2nd XI have, on the other hand, rallied commendably as the season reaches its conclusion, a comfortable victory on Saturday against Marple by 88 runs, consolidating their place in the top half of the table. Adam Wildig blasted 69 as Alderley reached 198, before Marple were shot out for 110.
The 3rd XI, already assured of their second successive championship, pulled off perhaps their best result of the season against a very strong Haslington team. Set to chase a daunting 240 from 40 overs, a consistent top order performance led by Harry Elms with 53, well supported by, amongst others, Henry Stevinson and Jonny Scurrah, got Alderley home by 3 wickets with just 3 balls to spare in a nail-biting finish.
Alderley now face a play-off next week with promotion to the 3rd XI Premier League the prize.
Match report by Rick Davis.