Alderley Edge First XI made an emphatic start to the defence of their Cheshire Premier League crown on Saturday with a maximum points win over visitors Grappenhall.
Winning the toss captain Adam Worrall asked the visitors to bat in sunny, spring-like conditions with Moss Lane looking a picture for the beginning of the season. Things quickly turned decidedly murky for the visitors with an opening burst of 4 wickets from new Australian overseas player Hamish Winter-Irving reducing newly-promoted Grappenhall to 79 for 5.
Tight bowling from Charlie Reid and Tom Foreman helped consolidate Alderley's strong start and, despite handy contributions from the visitors' lower order, Alderley wrapped up the Grappenhall innings with 4 overs to spare and a total of 177 to chase down. Winter-Irving marked an excellent debut with 6-40, Foreman bagging 2-24 for the home side.
Openers Calum Rowe and Alan Day got Alderley off to a dominant start with the bat putting on a partnership of 102 for the first wicket, Day eventually departing for 47. Rowe built another good partnership with Khalid Sawas, falling for a well made 85 after a partnership of 69 all but saw the hosts across the line. Sawas finished on 30 not out with Alderley completing the chase for the loss of just two wickets. Alderley will face the other newly-promoted side from Division One this coming weekend with Didsbury the visitors at Moss Lane.
Alderley Edge Second XI started their season with a trip to Tattenhall which saw several youngsters making their debut for Jon Usher's side. Winning the toss and fielding Alderley reduced the home side to 241-7 off their 50 overs, Ben Lambert the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 19 off seven tidy overs, James Bateman contributing 3-51 in support.
Alderley's chase fell short with several batsmen making good contributions without any going on to make a match-winning innings. Adam Wildig top scored with 50, brother Tom posting 40 and youngster Ashray Bhamidipiti contributing 40 on his first appearance for the seconds. Alderley ended on the wrong side of a losing draw at 210-6 but with plenty of positive signs from a young, developing side.
In their first match in the round robin stage of the 3rd XI Cup, Alderley Edge lost to visitors Bramhall by 3 runs. Invited to bat, Bramhall lost two early wickets to the dangerous Will Fosbrook, but helped by consistent scoring through the order and a rusty Alderley attack, Bramhall totalled 147-7 in their 20 overs.
In reply, Alderley started well with Sam Perry to the fore. However, when he became the first Alderley batsman to pick out a boundary fielder, things started to become a little more difficult. Ben Lambert rallied with the middle order, but when he was dismissed in the last over, the line remained just out of reach. A disappointing result, but Alderley still have the chance to progress with a 'double header' next week, with away games at Macclesfield and Lindow.
Match report by Andrew Windle.