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MACCLESFIELD’S lat­est test came away against fel­low strug­glers Grap­pen­hall.

The home side put Macclesfield into bat and Macc’s open­ing bats­men Ja­son Knight (14) and John Bir­chall (38) soon got to work, seiz­ing the early ini­tia­tive by pun­ish­ing any loose de­liv­er­ies from the Grap­pen­hall bowlers.

Macc once again raced to 50 with­out loss.

Af­ter a good start, a set­back arose, with Knight and Bir­chall both de­part­ing close to­gether, leav­ing the score on 58-2.

Nick Ber­tus and Jack Ward (spon­sored by East Cheshire Mort­gages) halted any fur­ther wickets and built a very good part­ner­ship tak­ing the score past 100.

Ber­tus hit plenty of bound­aries and made Grap­pen­hall pay for drop­ping him twice early on his innings.

Once Ward was un­luck­ily dis­missed for 18 the score had moved on to 116-3 and the run rate was still very strong. Rob Porter (15) hit a cou­ple of el­e­gant bound­aries and sup­ported Ber­tus well, who was now mov­ing through the gears, pass­ing his fifty.

Porter and Ber­tus added 46 be­fore the for­mer was bowled for 15.

A mini wob­ble en­sued with Par­fett also be­ing bowled for three, leav­ing the score on 168-5.

Ber­tus and Bar­ron (19) then stead­ied the ship for a few overs be­fore Ber­tus opened up his shoul­ders once more, rac­ing to­wards his sec­ond cen­tury of the sea­son and Macc’s 200.

Both th­ese feats were soon achieved and Ber­tus pro­vided more fire­works, tak­ing 15 or 16 runs off some overs at this point.

Even­tu­ally Ber­tus was caught, de­part­ing for a mag­nif­i­cent 134, hit­ting 11 fours and six sixes in the process.

Bar­ron then edged to the keeper, leav­ing the score on 268-7.

Cross main­tained the hit­ting pro­vided by Ber­tus in a late innings cameo of 29 off 17 balls hit­ting two very big sixes over mid­wicket.

Will Smith also added some valu­able runs in a stylish 11 not out, while Ian Tait summed up Macc’s innings per­fectly, hit­ting his first and Macc’s last ball of the innings for four. Macc fin­ished on 299-8 off their 55 overs.

In re­sponse, Grap­pen­hall’s task be­came even tougher los­ing two early wickets, both off the bowl­ing of Tait. With the score

Andy Lam­bert

●● Jack Ward

Do­minic Sal­ter

●● Open­ing bats­man John Bir­chall helped Macc get off to a good start on Satur­day

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