League leaders put Sale in a spin
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,
●● Opener Ben Marsden hit 66 as Macclesfield kept up their title bid by beating Sale