Cricket: Champions Didsbury climb off the canvas to deal knock-out blow in season opener

22nd April

Cheshire County Premier League Champions Didsbury proved their mettle on Saturday seeing off a spirited Alderley Edge team in the opening match of the season at Wilmslow Road but had to earn it the hard way. Winning the toss Didsbury chose to bat first beginning steadily in making their way to 81-2 before Alderley's returning Kiwi James Naylor struck twice in an over to remove Cheshire batsmen Rob Sehmi for 25 (via an excellent caught and bowled) and Nick Anderson for a third-ball duck in picking up 3-62.

Didsbury's Australian overseas batsman Ed Newman chopping on to his stumps for 37 off spinner Charlie Barnard then prompted a lower order collapse with Barnard collecting another two scalps to finish with 3-70 off 17 overs and leave the Champions on 135-8 with Alderley well in control. The visitors, however, would fail to take another wicket as a 99-run partnership for the 9th wicket between Sam Leech (78 not out) and number 10 Liam Booth (50 not out) dragged the hosts out of the mire and on to a competitive total of 234-8 off their 55 overs.

Following their counter-attack with the bat the home attack began with a spring in their step in the second innings with captain Nick Anderson taking the first three wickets (3-31) as Alderley fell to 39-3 in reply. Ed Foster and Archie Vaughan steadied the ship in adding 45 for the fourth wicket before Steve Green claimed Foster's wicket to give him the first of seven in a match winning spell of 7-66 for the left-arm spinner.

After a watchful start Vaughan began to take the attack to the Didsbury bowlers making his way to 50 via a six off a sumptuous slog sweep and in tandem with Richard Wilkinson the pair began to wrestle Alderley back into the game with a partnership of 74 before Vaughan was stumped off Green for 69. From 158-5 Wilkinson effectively played a lone hand in amassing a superb 89 but the single-figure support from Alderley's lower order meant the required rate eventually became too much.

Wilkinson hit two towering sixes off Green in the 52nd over to keep things interesting deep into the contest but when Liam Booth held a good catch in the outfield to dismiss Wilkinson off Green the writing was on the wall for the visitors who were dismissed 23 runs short of victory with 9 balls remaining. Alderley took 6 points to Didsbury's 25 but will rue a missed opportunity to land a telling blow on the current champions at such an early stage of the season.

Alderley's Second XI had a brighter start to their season with a 5-wicket win over neighbours Bramhall. Winning the toss and electing to bowl first Alderley quickly reduced the visitors to 57-5 before James Patel, with 42, and 41 from Keiran Berrington helped to retore some respectability to the scorecard recovering to 119-6. A breezy 29 from number 8 Faizan Mir then helped lift Bramhall up to 174-9 with George Valentine taking 5-49 and Ollie Kenyon 3-49 for Alderley.

Contributions from all the Alderley top order helped to chase down their target in the 48th over with new skipper Andrew Kennedy notching 54 opening the batting and number three Callum Wilson weighing in with 36 to collect the 25 points, Tom Drury was the pick of the Bramhall attack with 3-41.

Match report by Andrew Windle.

Cricket, Alderley Edge Cricket Club