Bat­ting duo hit

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CHESHIRE COUNTY CRICKET LEAGUE BOW­DEN ...............164 AO MAC­CLES­FIELD ..... 165-4

MAC­CLES­FIELD en­joyed go­ing back on the road, with this trip to Bow­den.

On a warm, sunny day, Bow­den won the toss and elected to bat first.

Macc bowled tightly with Ian Tait and Chris Moores. The lat­ter struck first with the wicket of Bow­den’s Aus­tralian player, Richard Carter (13), when he was caught at slip by Macc’s Aussie, Nick Ber­tus. Bow­den then went about build­ing a part­ner­ship on a tricky wicket which had vari­able bounce and was not easy to score off.

Carl Hey and Jack Tip­ton bat­tled through and Hey started to score more freely as the overs passed by.

Bow­den slowly in­creased the run rate and reached 100 for the loss of only one wicket af­ter 30 overs.

How­ever, Macc did not let Bow­den get away and when cap­tain, Tom Par­fett, in­tro­duced the spin of Sultan Raja and Rob Porter from both ends, scor­ing runs be­came more prob­lem­atic for the bats­men.

Porter took the wicket of Tip­ton (28) when he was caught at mid-on try­ing to force the run rate and then mo­ments later Raja picked up the big wicket of ex-Lan­cashire player Si­mon Mar­shall for a duck, as he danced down the track only to miss the ball. Wick­et­keeper James Cross made no mis­take with the gloves, whip­ping the bails off to claim a good stump­ing.

Macc con­tin­ued to ap­ply pres­sure through plenty of dot balls from the two spin­ners, mean­ing Bow­den then had to try and force the pace.

When Hey went for 69 off the bowl­ing of Porter, Macc were con­fi­dent of re­strict­ing the home side to a to­tal of less than 200.

As it hap­pened, things got bet­ter for Macc as more wick­ets fell through smart bowl­ing and good field­ing.

This meant Bow­den went from 100-1 to 164 all out in 53.5 overs.

Rob Porter was the pick of the bowlers, claim­ing 6-46 with Sultan Raja bowl­ing an im­pres­sive spell of 2-30.

This was all set up by the tight bowl­ing of Tait and Moores up top, who de­served more wick­ets for their ef­forts and con­trol.

Af­ter the tea break it was Macc’s turn to ne­go­ti­ate the un­even bounce of the wicket.

Rob Keen and Peter Barron lasted a few overs be­fore they were dis­missed for three and seven re­spec­tively, leav­ing Macc 13-2.

The open­ing bowl­ing of Chris Ash­ling and Matthew Tully was tough to get away, but John Bir­chall and Nick Ber­tus man­aged to strike a few bound­aries and pa­tiently saw off the open­ing bowlers with­out los­ing another wicket.

They had taken the score onto 65-2, but Ber­tus was then out for 21 to the first ball against spin.

He tried to cut fel­low com­pa­triot Carter, un­for­tu­nately edg­ing to the keeper. A cou­ple of overs later, Bir­chall, who had added much needed im­pe­tus to Macc’s in­nings, was also out to the spin of Carter as he was stumped, for a key con­tri­bu­tion of 30.

This brought Rob Porter and Tom Par­fett to the crease with just less than 100 runs still needed for vic­tory.

The ex­pe­ri­ence of Porter and the pre­ci­sion of Par­fett proved to be a deadly com­bi­na­tion as the two of them dis­patched any loose de­liv­er­ies to the bound­ary.

They played the spin ex­pertly, through well­timed sweep shots and strong drives and cut shots.

The pair wasted no time in tak­ing Macc’s score past 100 for still the loss of four wick­ets and this forced Bow­den’s hand. Bowl­ing changes were made but the part­ner­ship re­mained and Macc now looked favourites.

As Porter and Par­fett brought up a 50 part­ner­ship, Macc’s scor­ing rate was in­creas­ing all the time.

The ques­tion now was not which team would win, but with both bats­men look­ing com­fort­able, which of the two would reach their 50 first.

Porter man­aged the feat with a few runs needed, end­ing on 51 not out, cap­ping off an ex­cel­lent in­di­vid­ual dis­play.

Mean­while, Par­fett ended on 42 not out, in what was another de­light­ful cap­tain’s in­nings and his third straight red-inker in the 40s, show­ing how good a fin­isher he is.

Macc reached the 165 tar­get off 40 overs, claim­ing another im­por­tant 25 points.

The six-wicket win takes them up to sev­enth in the ta­ble.

Dar­ren Bolling­ton

●● Above and left, Ac­tion from Mac­cles­field Cricket Club

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