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