Cricket: All AECC teams going strong despite the June rain

June and early July has been one of rain affected matches mingled with some very exciting games across the club. The first team's unbeaten run came to an end against Chester Broughton Hall but victories in the Twenty-20 games has led to an opportunity this weekend to win silverware in the Twenty-20 finals.

Adam Worrall's men Twenty-20 run included wins against Northwich, who were unable to overcome the Alderley total of 153 and last Thursday a victory over Widnes. At Moss Lane the home side's ranks was boosted by former England star Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff playing his second game in the competition.

Captain Adam Worrall won the toss and elected to bowl first under leaden skies, the visiting side making steady progress against genuinely quick bowling from Flintoff to make it to 32-2. The middle overs saw Alderley's varied bowling attack keep the progress of the Widnes batsmen in check with only number three Fayaz Ughradar making an impression with the bat posting 23 from 21 balls. Andrew Windle, Tom Foreman and Chris Cook each claimed two wickets apiece in restricting the visitors to 83 from their 20 overs.

Alderley lost opener Calum Rowe with their total on just 8 allowing Flintoff to join Mark Currie at the crease. The pair embarked on some big hitting to ensure a finish to the game that the damp conditions were threatening to claim, which would have entailed a replay between the two sides. Flintoff was stumped for 21 attempting another big hit but Currie stayed to take Alderley home with 41 from 35 balls completing their successful chase in less than 12 overs. The win sees Alderley progress to the Cheshire Twenty20 finals day on Sunday 10th July where they will play either Nantwich or Weaverham in the semi-finals.

With Jordon Clark helping Lancashire win the Big Bash against Yorkshire on Friday night and Freddie Flintoff unavailable the Cheadle game on Saturday was back to normal service.

Having won the toss Worrall put Cheadle in to bat. Greg Dixon (31) and Nick Fletcher (31) put in a solid performance against the Alderley pace but wickets kept on falling. The regular fall of wickets left Cheadle on 117-6, leaving the tall exposed. With Charlie Reid (2 wickets for 9 off his 3 overs) bamboozling from one end and Smillie's (2 wickets for 57 off 15 overs) intimidating pace from the other it was not long before Cheadle were all out for 140 (39 overs). Andrew Windle was the pick of the bowlers bagging 4-35 (10 overs).

The now familiar pair of Callum Rowe and Alan Day strode to the wicket and their success continued. Rowe went on to make a match winning score of 68 (with 11 4's). Day and Charlie Reid (24 – all boundaries) secured the victory, which Adam Worrall and Mark Currie completed comfortably off 32 overs.

Two weeks of frustratingly cancelled games led to the one and only loss against Chester Broughton Hall, Alderley bowled out the visitors for 166. The success this year has been with the batters who never quite got firing, apart from Khalid Sawas (42), Mark Currie (28) and Thomas Foreman (22), being bowled out for 149.

The pain of this loss motivated the winners of Alderley to bounce back with a victory against strongly positioned Hyde. The visit to Hyde involved facing the ex-Alderley favourite of Jason Whittaker (4-39). Khalid Sawas (57) formed the batting backbone, supported by strong late hitting from Chris Cook (39). Smilllie's aggressive bowling ripped through the Hyde batting (6-51) setting Alderley up for victory bowling out Hyde for 151. Another 25 point in the bag setting up another top of the table game.

On Saturday Alderley were again at home, this time in league action against Bowden. The visitors began the day in second place and after winning the toss asked Alderley to bat first. Despite several interruptions for rain Alderley's top order began well with openers Mark Currie and Calum Rowe posting 78 for the first wicket. Rowe was joined at the crease by Khalid Sawas to take the score to 152-2 before departing for a well made 87 after being caught in the deep, Sawas falling shortly after for 44. Alderley continued to bat at pace in between rain breaks in an effort to secure maximum batting points, reaching 222 from their 55 overs, with Tom Foreman providing the final push with a quickfire 23 from 21 balls. Bowden's Australian overseas player Richard Carter captured 2-68 from his 17 over allocation.

Having lost overs due to the regular rain breaks, the hosts had been left with only 35 overs to attempt to bowl Bowden out. The visitors began steadily with captain Simon Marshall playing some expansive shots before losing opening partner Jack Tipton with the score on 33. The introduction of Andrew Windle in support of Australian overseas bowler Aaron Smillie saw wickets fall regularly as Alderley made further inroads into the Bowden batting order which slumped to 56-4, Windle claiming 3-19 and Smillie 1-25 from 9 accurate overs. Unfortunately for the hosts who were gaining the upper hand in the match, one final heavy rain shower proved to be too much for the ground to take and conditions were decided to be unfit to continue by the standing umpires. The result was a winning draw for Alderley giving them 11 points to Bowden's 7 from the day's play which allowed Alderley to remain at the top of the Cheshire County Premier League by 26 points ahead of a local derby fixture with Macclesfield next Saturday at Moss Lane.

Hopes were high for the second XI visit to Cheadle. With the return of Sam Perry and Ed Fluck (Lancashire academy players playing between GCSE's) the batting looked strong. Despite 46 from Perry and a good knck from Ollie Wildig (23) Alderley slumped to 135 all out. The well below par score was knocked off by Cheadle in 24 hours. With Alderley in top half of table and Cheadle towards the bottom it was a bad day at the office.

A visit to Chester boosted confidence again with a convincing win against Chester Broughton Hall. The bowlers held Broughton to 181. This time all the batters contributed to a victory with 5 overs in hand. The confidence led into another strong batting performance against Hyde 254 for 6 off 48 0vers – Adam Dinsmore (90), Adam Wildig (66), Jon Steele (28), And Jonny Scurrah (35). Hyde chased down the score with Glyn Peacock contributing a century.

Didsbury and Alderley are fighting for second place, behind league leaders Neston, so last week-ends game was a test of the Alderley mettle. The Alderley batters scored well but got out to bad balls with James Scott (38) leading the way, supported by Jonny Scurrah (34).

Oliver Towle and Dan Fesmer opened with a strong spell with 2 wickets but with limited bowling options after these two Didsbury made strong progress, Stoneman (63) and Whiteside (53) both hung around hitting our bowling attack all-round the park and over the club house on regular occasions.

Towle's 2nd spell was a fantastic display of line and length bowling removing Stoneman late in the innings to give Alderley a chance of winning the game and but by this stage there was only one winner. Oliver Towle ended up with a well-deserved 5-51, his first in senior Cricket.

During our strange summer the thirds had a Mediterranean day at Moss Lane as they hosted Stockport. Invited to bat, the visitors were initially severely tested by Alex Heaton (1-30) & Rhys Mallard (2-42), with the latter taking the first wicket with the last ball of his opening spell. Wickets fell at regular intervals, in trying conditions for the bowlers, but the innings were built around a fine 73 by Andy Tait. Katie Haszeldine (2-36) and Sid Kumar (2-19) made the difference taking important wickets at critical times restricting Stockport to reach 198 - 8.

The Alderley reply started solidly, before Harry Elms registered a rare failure, falling to a remarkable catch in the deep. Alex, the younger Heaton, joined Paul Heaton (50) and together they blunted the Stockport bowling. A 'momentum changing cameo' by Henry Scanlon (21 off 18 balls) tipped the balance towards the home side, after a mid-innings slump. However, Stockport must have felt that they were still in with a strong chance when Alex Heaton was dismissed for a solid 40, leaving Alderley to score a further 50 runs with just 3 wickets left. A match winning innings by Ollie Towle (38*), including four successive 4s in the 42nd over, led Alderley home to a close victory before an excited crowd.

After an abanded game against Marple the Thirds faced their toughest test for three years, Didsbury (league leaders away). The Didsbury team have been unbeaten in two years and are reigning champions.

A first ever meeting at this level between the league's top two, despite being played largely in poor conditions, produced a superb match which climaxed in a tense draw shortly after 9pm. Asked to bat, the hosts were not helped by a slow outfield which made boundary hitting difficult, but batted solidly to post a good total. Rain delayed the resumption until 6.30, leaving Alderley Edge 39 overs to chase. After an impressive start by the top four, built around Paul Heaton's composed half-century, Alderley Edge needed 79 off 66 with 8 wickets in hand, but a stirring fightback from the hosts who held on to some great catches, despite the wet ball meant that the runs/balls equation tipped in their favour. Sam Perry was 22 off 26 (before Battersby catch), James Cheetham 36 off 32 (before Bhasharat caught and bowled) Alderley Edge then calmly withstood a late clatter of wickets, Henry Scanlon 19 off 18, in gathering gloom in a wonderful match that neither side deserved to lose.

Confidence high the weekend brought the team back to earth. In another tight game, the 3rd XI lost by 2 wickets at home to Cheadle. Asked to bat, Alderley made a steady start with Henry Stevinson contributing 38. However, the innings was built around a fine unbeaten 72 from the evergreen Matt Cheetham, allowing the home side to close on a competitive 202-7.

After a tight opening spell from Alex Heaton and Ollie Towle, a fine 50 from the Cheadle captain revived the innings. However, inconsistent bowling and below standard fielding meant that Alderley failed to take their opportunity and the visitors squeaked home by 2 wickets with the aid of some lusty late order hitting.

For this young gifted team third place behind Hyde and Didsbury places them in strong position at end of first half of season, their first in the premier league.

Guest post by David Scanlon.

Alderley Edge Cricket Club, Cricket