Alderley Edge first team gained a hard-fought victory at Booths Hall on Saturday against a Toft side starting the day in third place in the Cheshire County Premier League. Winning the toss the hosts decided to bowl first and quickly had Alderley in check at 26-1. Opener Calum Rowe rebuilt with number 3 Sam Perry, taking the visitors to 58-2 before falling for 32. Perry provided the mainstay of the remainder of the Alderley innings with a superb knock of 98 from 116 balls but struggled for partners with the Toft attack striking regularly at the other end. Perry was the seventh Alderley wicket to fall having taken the score beyond 200 and Charlie Reid with 26 not out from number 8 pushed the visitors up to 230 before being bowled out in the final over of the innings. Andrew Jackson took 3-49 for the home side with Rob Jones, James Scott and Matthew Cornes all claiming two wickets.
A key opening burst from Alderley overseas bowler Keiran Elliott dealt a hammer blow to the home side at the beginning of their chase reducing them to 7-2, in the process bowling star batsman Rob Jones for just 1. At 24-3 Toft numbers 4 and 5 Robert Sehmi and Ed Stubbs began to rebuild the home side's innings taking them to 98-4 before a pivotal 5 minutes of play resulted in Sehmi being run out and Richard Wilkinson claiming 2 wickets in an over to reduce the home side to 103-6. The dangerous Andrew Jackson carried the home side's last hopes of salvaging a result, hitting some typically lusty blows from number 8 accumulating 54 from just 39 balls but Alderley kept their cool and kept taking wickets with Jackson the last man to fall in the 37th over with Toft 53 runs short of their target. Elliott led Alderley's attack claiming 3-49 with Reid and Wilkinson claiming 2 wickets each.
In the reverse fixture at Moss Lane Alderley's second XI fought hard but fell to a 4 wicket defeat against the reigning Second XI Premier League Champions. Winning the toss, Toft elected to bowl first but Alderley began strongly with the bat on the back of opener Dave Wright's 75. Ollie Wildig struck 25 from number 3 and 28 from returning captain Jon Usher at number 5 looked like setting a competitive score for the hosts but with the final 5 batsmen only able to muster 20 runs between them Alderley were bowled out for 180 in 43 overs. Veteran spinner Nigel Muirhead inflicted the majority of the damage for the visitors claiming 5-34. Alderley pushed hard for victory with the ball in the second innings with Jonny Scurrah's 3-37 putting them in with a chance but with consistent scores of 30 and above from Toft's upper order the away side had enough momentum to reach their victory target with Muirhead striking 35 not out to see them over the line for the loss of 6 wickets.
Next Sunday Jon Usher's team will be looking to defend their Second XI T20 crown as Moss Lane hosts the Second XI T20 finals day with both semi finals and final to be played on the same day. Alderley kick off the action at 10:30 in the first semi-final against Didsbury with Neston and Toft contesting the other semi final.
Alderley's third team maintained their hold on second place in the league on Sunday at Moss Lane with a comprehensive 7 wicket win over Marple. Alderley won the toss and elected to bowl first with George Valentine (2-24) and Ben Kersh (2-16) putting the visitors on the back foot at 51-4 with only Jonathan Arrowsmith providing a significant score from the top order with 24. Thomas Travis hit 31 from number 8 to give the Marple scorecard some respectability, eventually restricted to 134 with two wickets each for skipper Harry Elms and Alex Murty sweeping up the lower order to bowl the visitors out inside 30 overs. In reply, 63 from Henry Stevinson and 38 not out from Mike Higginson powered Alderley to victory with over 16 overs to spare.
Match report by Andrew Windle.