League leaders reach cup final
IT’S TURNING out to be a brilliant season for Macclesfield. Currently heading the Division One standings, Macc took maximum points from their league win at Christleton on Saturday, before causing an upset in the Cheshire Cup semi-final.
Their league victory, their 12th in a row, came after they’d limited their hosts to 158-7. That was only made possible as the hosts’ Naseer hit a 29-ball 42, including three meaty sixes.
The run chase started strongly with John Birchall and Ben Marsden putting on 44 for the first wicket.
Jack Ward (23) and Birchall took them to 80 and, althouigh Nick Ross, Birchall and Rob Porter all fell, Iroshan de Silva heavily involved in all scalps.
With Macc needing seven an over over the last five overs wicketkeeper James Cross showed a cool head under pressure with 22 from 11 balls. Although he was bowled trying to end it in style Peter Barron and Chris Moores took them over the line.
The next day Macc faced a strong Liverpool side in New Brighton, who’d knocked them out of the cup a year earlier.
New Brighton put Macc into bat but they didn’t get the assistance from the pitch they’d expected, as Birchall smashed a brutal 40 from 15 balls before he chipped one to mid-off.
Marsden and Porter then took Macclesfield to 102 but after Porter departed a flurry of wickets fell.
Regular losses and tight bowling saw the score slump to 131-6, having been 102-1 at one point. But Cross and Marsden knocked the ball around well. The rate started to increase with Marsden passing 50 and Cross running surprisingly well between the wickets. Marsden was eventually caught at midwicket for 86 and Cross and Moores took them to a competitive 218 at the close.
The reply started in similar fashion, with a string of boundaries, Ward making the first breakthrough at 62.
The visitors remained in the driving seat but Botes’ wicket, caught by Marsden, gave Macclesfield hope but they needed to take regular wickets to have any sniff of victory.
Fernando hit some welltimed boundaries but ran out two of his team-mates with some suicidal calls, though Birchall deserves great credit for one direct hit. As the score ticked past 150 the middle order started to up the run rate but when Birchall had Fernando trapped LBW those in the pavilion sensed victory.
From that point, with New Brighton on 168-8 Ward struck again.
With numbers 10 and 11 remaining Birchall secured the win with the final wicket, Tom Parfett taking the catch to earn them a spot against Chester Boughton Hall or Oxton in the final.
● John Birchall top-scored in Saturday’s win over Christleton. In a fantastic weekend for the Victoria Road side they also reached the final of the Cheshire Cup