League lead­ers reach cup fi­nal

Macclesfield Express - - MOTORS - NICK ROSS

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.

Do­minic Sal­ter

● 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

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