Alderley Edge First XI's Cheshire Cup campaign came to an end on Sunday in a closely fought quarter-final encounter with New Brighton. With the start delayed by rain New Brighton captain Andrew Clarke won the toss and decided to bowl first in a contest reduced to 40 overs per side at Rake Lane on a green looking pitch.
Mark Rowland struck early for the hosts removing opener Calum Rowe with just 6 runs on the board. George Bell and Sam Perry scored steadily to lift Alderley out of their sticky start pushing the score on to 49 before Perry edged to slip giving the first of 5 wickets for spinner Ashraf Nawab.
Bell continued to provide the momentum for Alderley's innings, maneuvering the ball well with boundaries hard to come by on a slow outfield and with New Brighton setting fielders on the square boundaries from the outset. A partnership of 36 between Bell and Richard Wilkinson for the 4th wicket helped Alderley past the 100 mark before Wilkinson fell for 20 with the score on 111.
Alderley lost their captain shortly afterwards in unusual circumstances, Charlie Reid forced to retire injured after being struck on the elbow at the non striker's end by a fiercely hit drive from Bell who was continuing to provide the impetus to Alderley's innings. Bell was eventually dismissed for 45 off 85 balls, well caught by Nawab off his own bowling to leave Alderley 129-5.
Number 7 Tom Foreman picked up the scoring mantle, adding 15 not out from 19 balls and, in combination with number 10 Dan Fesmer, pushed Alderley's total up to a competitive 160-7.
New Brighton's openers came out of the traps quickly in the second innings, Mark Rowland hitting a quickfire 28 from 29 balls before falling caught behind to Jake Hill with the score on 41.
With Alderley showing good discipline with the ball, backed up by energetic intent in the field the pressure began to tell on New Brighton's batsmen as runs became harder to come by. With Andrew Windle bowling bowling economically from one end, Tom Foreman struck regularly from the other, taking 3 quick wickets to reduce the hosts from 73-1 to 91-4.
New Brighton skipper Clarke kept a cool head amongst the tumble of wickets and, finding an ally in number 6 Tom Horrocks, began to up the scoring rate with three boundaries breaking the shackles on the scoring. Foreman returned to have Clarke caught in the covers for 38 with the score on 137 to set up a tight finish with the hosts still needing 24 runs from the final 5 overs.
Horrocks stood firm with number 7 Armand Rabot given license to play the attacking strokes to take New Brighton home on the final ball of the penultimate over finishing on 18 not out from just 13 balls, Foreman finishing with 4-28 as the pick of Alderley's bowlers. The 5 wicket win takes New Brighton through to the semi-finals of the cup competition where they will face Chester Boughton Hall.
With the First XI's league fixture at Hyde falling victim to the rain on Saturday , Alderley's Second XI took centre stage at Moss Lane, managing to complete their fixture amidst the afternoon showers. James Bateman struck early for Alderley in reducing Hyde to 16-1 before rain interrupted proceedings.
Upon resumption George Baker and Ben Balderson added 41 for the second wicket before Balderson was bowled by Andrew Windle for 32, Baker following shortly after for 35 dismissed via the same means. Number 4 Ben Turner was looking dangerous in compiling 31 before being run out via some sharp fielding in the outfield from Blair Campbell leaving Hyde on 96-4.
Windle continued to squeeze the visitor's scoring rate in tandem with David Johnson and struck again to remove veteran Dave Leighton, well caught by wicketkeeper Joey Chong for 8. Some powerful hitting from number 7 Hri Nath lifted Hyde to 128-6 before being trapped lbw by a clever slower delivery to give Windle his fourth wicket. Windle completed his 15 over spell claiming two wickets with his final two balls to finish with 6-44 in reducing the visitors to 167-9. George Valentine then claimed the final wicket with his first ball of the game, well caught in the deep by James Davidson, without any addition to the score.
Alderley's reply was dominated by a superb knock of 92 from opener Chong, a partnership of 122 with number 4 Jonny Scurrah (35) breaking the back of the chase after an initial scare at 16-2. Chong was eventually the 6th wicket to fall with 17 still required for the win which were calmly knocked off by skipper Jon Usher and Campbell who finished on 9 and 8 not out respectively to claim victory by 4 wickets. Ben Balderson picked up 2-40 in a fine all-round effort for Hyde.
Match report by Andrew Windle.