Batting duo hit
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.
●● Above and left, Action from Macclesfield Cricket Club