A magnificent hundred from skipper Sam Perry sealed a vital win in a high-scoring encounter for Alderley Edge First XI at neighbours Toft on Saturday.
Winning the toss Perry elected to bowl first on a muggy afternoon at Booths Hall with Chris Sanders striking early with the score on 9 when the hosts lost opener Phil Raikes caught behind. Fellow opener Jimmy O'Sullivan took the scoring on with 41 to take Toft past the 50 mark before he played on to Jimmy Naylor.
When Richard Wilkinson trapped Henry Hughes lbw with the score on 85-3 Alderley began to take back some control of the fast scoring rate Toft had shown at the start of their innings. O'Shay Reddy hit 46 from number 4 to keep the board moving for the hosts before falling to Charlie Reid who bowled a tight spell of 1-16 from 7 overs.
A 120-run stand between Rohan Fernando (78) and Gennaro Reddy (51) for the 5th wicket kept Alderley working hard in the field as the pitch continued to flatten out in the afternoon sunshine. A combination of Charlie Reid and Archie Vaughan's spin and some tight seam bowling from Andrew Windle began to restrict scoring opportunities for the pair, both of whom fell to Windle after attempting to target the shorter boundary on the leg side with Naylor and Vaughan both holding good catches to usher the hosts from 253-4 to 262-6 eventually closing on 281-6.
In reply Alderley started in customary quick fashion with Ben Kohler-Cadmore hitting 30 off 22 balls, including two maximums, in an opening stand of 41. Then followed a great partnership of 163 for the second wicket with Subhaan Mahmood hitting 70 as he and Perry took control of the chase with Toft finding no answer to the pair and suffering a further headache as overseas bowler Michael Dawson suffered an injury in his 7th over and was unable to bowl further in the match.
Perry completed his hundred in taking Alderley past the 200-run mark but the introduction of spinner Jimmy Lomas did begin to cause problems for Alderley as he accounted for Mahmood swiftly followed by Archie Vaughan and Ed Foster in picking up 3-53 as Alderley fell to 238-4 with the required rate still hovering around 5 an over.
Perry found a willing ally in Chris Sanders who hit a couple of crucial boundaries to settle the nerves in accumulating a composed 17 from 13 balls as the pair's unbeaten 45-run partnership saw Alderley to their target with two and a half overs to spare, Perry carrying his bat for 142 not out from 164 deliveries (11 fours, 5 sixes). The 25-point win kept Alderley in pole position in the Cheshire County Premier League with two games of the season remaining.
Alderley's Second XI were also involved in a nail-biter on Saturday narrowly losing out to Widnes by just 4-runs at Moss Lane. Winning the toss and bowling first Alderley had Widnes in dire straits at 57-5 before 74 off 63 balls from number 7 Attaul Hayee in partnership with Alex Curlett (35) rescued things for the visitors to allow them to close on 184-9 from their 50 overs. Alderley's opening pair of George Valentine and Ollie Kenyon took 4-39 and 3-53 respectively from their 15 overs.
In response Alderley found themselves in similar trouble falling to 37-5 before skipper Alan Day hit 32 from number 7 in adding 72 with number 5 John Steele. Steele continued to provide the mainstay of the reply hitting a superb unbeaten 87 but ran out of partners agonisingly close to Alderley's target with Daniel Weardon's 3-22 and two wickets apiece for Jon Osborne and Benjamin Hewitt doing the damage for Widnes who claimed victory with 3 balls remaining.
On Sunday Alderley's Third XI secured a precious 12-run win against fellow strugglers Bramhall at Moss Lane. Having been put into bat opener Liam Yahathugoda notched a brilliant hundred striking 102 off 106 balls and with Tejas Rao striking 58 at better than a run a ball Alderley set 213 as Ravi Patel claimed 4-11 to run through the tail who went in search of quick runs.
Bramhall's chase began steadily, reaching 114-2 on the back of Kenul Watawana's 66 from number 3 but 4 wickets from Joe Bailey-Heald put Alderley in the driving seat and two wickets apiece from Calum Wilson and Alfie Usher ensured the hosts sealed the win despite the best efforts of Patel with the bat, hitting 35 not out from number 7 in a losing cause.
Match report by Andrew Windle.