League lead­ers put Sale in a spin

Macclesfield Express - - MOTORS - MARTIN SAXON

VIVIO CHESHIRE CCL DI­VI­SION ONE MAC­CLES­FIELD ..... 247-4 SALE............................. 119

WITH­four­matches left in the sea­son and Mac­cles­field on top of the ta­ble by 24 points they boosted their ti­tle hopes with vic­tory over fourth-placed Sale.

With five wins in a row and ear­lier in the sea­son Sale beat­ing Macc they would have been com­ing to the match feel­ing con­fi­dent.

Sale won the toss and had no hes­i­ta­tion in bowl­ing with some cloud cover around.

They came out well and bowled tight but it wasn’t matched by their field­ing as they put down some early chances and let the open­ers set a plat­form.

With runs start­ing to flow open­ers John Bir­chall and Ben Mars­den pushed the score past 50 but it wasn’t un­til a change of bowler caused Bir­chall to sky one to mid-wicket for 35.

When Jack Ward came to the crease the run rate was lifted and as Mars­den passed 50 the to­tal passed 100.

Ward was soon dis­missed for 42 but Macc were well set at 140-2.

Mars­den was the next to go, try­ing to lift the run rate for a fine 66. With 10 overs to go and wick­ets in hand a score of at least 220 was look­ing achiev­able.

Six overs re­mained when Nick Ross was dis­missed for 31 with the score at 196-4.

Some great hit­ting from Tom Par­fett (30 not out) and Rob Porter (36 not out) pushed the to­tal to 247-4 off the 50 overs.

With runs on the board Mac­cles­field were keen to make a huge push to take 25 points and main­tain top spot.

Ian Tait struck early with a ball rear­ing up on the opener’s glove to slip but this was dur­ing an early on­slaught of lofty hit­ting from the Sale open­ers.

They came out pos­i­tively and were find­ing the bound­ary on reg­u­lar oc­ca­sions off the open­ers.

Sul­tan Raja came on early to change the pace of the game and he had an im­me­di­ate im­pact, claim­ing two wick­ets in his sec­ond over to put Sale on the de­fen­sive.

A tremen­dous run out by Par­fett of Sale’s over­seas man Michael Bar­ring­ton-Smith sent them to 85-4 and look­ing un­likely to be able to chase down the large to­tal.

When the other half of the spin-twin com­bi­na­tion, Porter, was brought on to bowl there was not much hope left for Sale.

Wick­ets be­gan fall­ing reg­u­larly un­til the last wicket fell in the 36th over when Alis­dair Barrowman left a sharp turn­ing de­liv­ery off Porter that hit leg stump and Sale were all out for 119.

Raja fin­ished with 5-29 from his 14 overs and Porter 3-32 from his six overs.

A great team per­for­mance and an­other 25 points means Macc main­tain their 24-point ad­van­tage on Chea­dle. HAD this ex­traor­di­nar­ily tense and dra­matic match gone the other way Poyn­ton would surely be fac­ing up to life in the TACS Cheshire League next sea­son.

But having scraped home by a sin­gle wicket, faint hopes of stay­ing in the Vivio Cheshire County League re­main, al­though a min­i­mum of three wins from the fi­nal four matches will be required.

Poyn­ton’s run chase fal­tered early on, with only Paul Lom­bardi (31) mak­ing dou­ble fig­ures in the top five.

Irby leg spin­ner Greg Shillinglaw took all of the first six wick­ets to fall, and at 65-6, what Poyn­ton re­ally needed was a lowerorder bats­man mak­ing a first 50 in the first team, and Joe Hop­kins duly de­liv­ered.

Hop­kins’ clean-struck 54 also cru­cially forced the Wir­ral side to with­draw Shillinglaw from the at­tack for a pe­riod, with just too many runs be­ing con­ceded off his bowl­ing.

Adam Wil­liams played no less im­por­tant a role,

Do­minic Sal­ter

●● Opener Ben Mars­den hit 66 as Mac­cles­field kept up their ti­tle bid by beat­ing Sale

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