There was high drama at Moss Lane on Saturday where an incredible last wicket stand of 98 between Keiran Elliott and Blair Campbell gave Alderley a dramatic victory over Marple. On an overcast afternoon Marple had won the toss and elected to bat first.
Former Cheshire skipper Andrew Hall and Jim Morgan gave the visitors a strong start adding 44 for the first wicket, Marple captain Mark Wood helping Hall push the score on to 118 before the latter was dismissed for 78, one of two wickets for Alan Day. With Wood removed soon afterwards for 33 the remainder of the Marple innings hinged on number 5 Mark Bennett.
The bowling of Charlie Reid continually removed potential partners as he swept the middle order to collect 6-62 but Bennett continued to hit out against the Alderley attack finishing with an unbeaten 60 from just 54 balls which pushed the visitors on to 213-9 from their 55 overs.
Alderley began steadily reaching 60-2 with Alan Day's 35 off 27 balls giving the home side the early momentum. Wood introduced himself to the attack with immediate effect, removing Ed Fluck and Richard Wilkinson with the score on 67 to put Alderley on the back foot.
Captain Adam Worrall joined number 3 Sam Perry to put on 46 for the 5th wicket with both looking assured as light drizzle began to fall. Wood's second double-strike of the day removed both with the score on 113, Perry for a patient 45. Marple's veteran spinner Andy Greasley then turned the screw on the lower order removing the next three batsmen in quick succession meaning Alderley had lost 5 wickets for just 5 runs.
The whirlwind of wickets left final pair Elliott and Campbell at the crease with 98 still required and a Marple victory seemingly inevitable. However the duo had other plans and playing with determination and poise, both kept the dangerous Greasley at bay and as their partnership developed began to play more expansively with Elliott showing his destructive capability in striking 14 boundaries and 1 six in his score of 75 not out.
Campbell blunted the attack for long periods supporting Elliott superbly in compiling 21 from the 55 deliveries he faced as the game continued through periods of fine rain. One final boundary from Elliott off fellow Australian Dylan Moroney sent the packed clubhouse into raptures as the home side registered an amazing victory from the jaws of defeat. Paul Wood claimed 4-62 and Greasley 3-52 for Marple who picked up 10 points to Alderley's 25.
In the reverse fixture at Bowden Lane Alderley's second XI claimed a thumping 9 wicket win. Captain Jon Usher won the toss and elected to bowl first with immediate effect, Marple losing their first 2 wickets with just 7 runs on the board. Marple's middle order rebuilt with 41 for number 4 James Massey and 51 for number 5 Stewart Bass providing the bulk of the hosts' runs.
Having removed Massey and Bass Alderley's attack squeezed the scoring from the lower order to contain the home side to 157-8 from their 50 overs, Mark Warnes the pick of the bowlers with 3-33 supported well by Ben Lambert's 2-23. In the second innings Alderley cruised to victory for the loss of just one wicket with opener George Bell leading the way with 71 not out and Jonny Scurrah unbeaten on 60.
On Sunday at Moss Lane Alderley lost their T20 2nd XI crown after losing in the first semi-final to Didsbury. In the first innings Alderley pressed a strong Didsbury batting line-up for the majority of the innings but at 110-2 after 16 overs a burst of 42 runs from the final 4 overs lifted the Wilmslow Road men up to 152-8.
Alderley began strongly in their chase and kept with the rate for the majority of the innings standing at 59-3 after 7 overs. Loss of wickets in the middle overs made a sustained chase more difficult and at 112-7 off 16 overs the final overs Didsbury were able to capitalise on in their innings told with Alderley finishing 25 runs short. Didsbury were defeated by 4 wickets in the final by Neston in a low scoring affair, Didsbury being bowled out for just 69 with Neston reaching 72-6 to claim the title.
Match report by Andrew Windle.
Photos by Kelvin Briggs.