Positive opener for Macclesfield
EMPHATIC wins for all three Macclesfield Cricket Club teams ensured a positive start to the season.
The 1st XI travel to Neston on a glorious spring Saturday afternoon.
Following a warm up game the week previously against Congleton, Macclesfield arrived on the Wirral excited to be back in the county’s top division after their promotion last year.
Welcoming Nick Bertus, a 21-year-old batsman from Sydney, to the club and with Tom Parfett taking over as captain for his second stint, the squad remains very much unchanged from last year’s championship winning line-up.
Macclesfield won the toss and asked Neston to bat first, hoping to take early wickets and put the home side under pressure.
Ian Tait and Jack Ward took the new ball and started their season where they left off last year, bowling superb lines and lengths on a pitch that offered some sideways movement and some variable bounce.
Ward took two wickets in three balls in the fourth over to reduce the home side to 2-2, and in the sixth over he dismissed Neston’s skipper, Brad Donelan, leg before wicket.
In the last over of his spell he took the important wicket of Simon Stokes, caught by wicket keeper Cross, with the score at 22-4 after 10 overs.
Tait then joined in the action, taking a deserved two wickets including a sensational diving catch by Parfett fielding at gully.
All rounder John Birchall replaced Ward and in his third over took three wickets in four balls, taking the Neston score to 38-9.
The experienced Paul Stimson at number of 11 showed some fight and steered his side to a total of 56 all out in 22 overs after falling to Birchall thanks to another diving catch, this time from Chris Moores.
It was a fantastic performance by the bowlers, supported in the field by the whole side.
The Macclesfield opening pair of Jason Knight and Birchall confidently set about the low Neston total.
The pair took the attack to the Neston spinners, finding the boundary regularly to chase down the total in just 11.2 overs without losing a wicket.
Birchall finished the game in style with a six landing on the roof of the pavilion, to finish on 38 and Knight 20.
This weekend the 1st XI welcome Chester Boughton Hall to Victoria Road, hoping to get some revenge for last year’s heavy Cheshire Cup final defeat before they went on to become national T20 champions. The game starts at 12.30pm.
The weekend was complete with the 2nd XI successfully chasing down a total of 217 in the last over with a wicket to spare against Neston 2nd team.
The 3rd XI comfortably beat an Oxton side and followed it up with victory against Cheadle in the T20 cup competition on Sunday.
All in all, the opening weekend of action proved a successful one for Macclesfield Cricket Club.
●● Macclesfield bowler Jack Ward continued his fine form from last season