Macc on slide af­ter Toft loss

Macclesfield Express - - SEARCH - PETER BARRON

MAC­CLES­FIELD re­turned to ac­tion with a short trip away to top of the ta­ble Toft where they suf­fered an eight-wicket de­feat.

The home side won the toss and elected to field first. Macc’s openers, Rob Keen and Peter Barron, looked to start pos­i­tively, tak­ing seven off the first over. It quickly be­came ap­par­ent that the wicket was in good con­di­tion and it seemed a per­fect day to set a big to­tal.

Keen went about hit­ting some lovely early bound­aries, whilst Barron sup­ported, hit­ting the oc­ca­sional four as well.

As the pair brought up a fifty part­ner­ship, Toft dis­carded of the seam bowlers and brought on the spin.

And this proved to be a key mo­ment in the match.

In the third over of spin, Barron (24) went to sweep the left arm ortho­dox bowl­ing of Jimmy Lo­mas, but was out LBW. The score now be­came 60-1 af­ter 17.1 overs.

Macc then con­tin­ued to look to be pos­i­tive against the Toft spin­ners, but Nick Ber­tus’ (11) at­tempted shot over the in-field was mist­imed, cul­mi­nat­ing in a good catch from the Toft fielder run­ning back at mid-on. Lo­mas (2-46) now had two wick­ets in his first few overs.

A cou­ple of overs later, Rob Jones, who op­er­ated in tan­dem with Lo­mas, joined in the wicket-tak­ing when his leg spin at­trib­uted for the dis­missal of first John Bir­chall, who was bowled for a duck and then Rob Porter (8), when he top edged a sweep to short fine leg.

Macc were now 105-4 around the mid­point of their in­nings, and as cap­tain Tom Par­fett came to the crease, a part­ner­ship was needed.

Keen and Par­fett started build­ing a very handy part­ner­ship in­deed. Keen added more el­e­gant bound­aries to his ear­lier tally and brought up his well-de­served 50 in the process. Macc moved on to 150-4 in­side 45 overs. How­ever when Par­fett (14) was caught on the bound­ary, the valu­able 46 run part­ner­ship came to an end.

With around 10 overs to go Macc were hop­ing for at least 220. They looked like achiev­ing this when Keen con­tin­ued strongly and in­com­ing bats­man, Alex Grif­fiths, sup­ported him well, busily go­ing about his in­nings at al­most a run a ball. The pair put on 26 runs in fairly quick time.

How­ever Keen, who was bear­ing down on what would have been a mag­nif­i­cent cen­tury, was caught for 88 as he tried to force the run rate on in the clos­ing overs. It was a tremen­dous knock, en­com­pass­ing both style and de­ter­mi­na­tion. Macc were now on 177-6.

James Cross was next to go when he was bowled for seven, but not be­fore he had hit a one-bounce four over mid-wicket off his first ball. Grif­fiths (14) was caught not long af­ter, whilst Will Smith and Chris Moores took Macc to the 200 mile­stone.

An un­for­tu­nate run out saw Moores (6) dis­missed and Macc were now 2009. Smith (13 not out) hit a strong bound­ary down the ground in the fi­nal over, but when Raja (3) was caught off Jones (5-42) with one ball to go, Macc fin­ished on 209 all out.

In re­ply, Toft had a shaky start when opener James Drum­mond was trapped LBW by Bir­chall for five, leav­ing the hosts 7-1. A few mo­ments later, Bir­chall hit the pads again, on the key man, Rob Jones. How­ever the um­pire waved away the strong ap­peals.

Jones then set about his in­nings, de­mon­strat­ing ex­pert tim­ing and strong hit­ting. He con­stantly drove good length balls back past the bowler.

Jones raced to 29, when in an event­ful over he hit one back at the bowler Chris Moores, who made, what ap­peared to be, a bril­liant low-down catch, only for the um­pire to ad­judge that it had touched the ground. How­ever Macc did get their man a cou­ple of balls later when Jones again timed another shot which was caught at mid-wicket. Toft were now 50-2 and Macc were right in the game.

How­ever, the away side just could not get that cru­cial next-wicket. The in­tro­duc­tion of spin from Porter and Raja, could not pro­vide the an­swer ei­ther.

Although Macc were bowl­ing well, the bats­men, Jake Han­cock and Henry Hughes, did not look like get­ting out.

The longer they bat­ted the more con­fi­dent they be­came. Han­cock be­gan pick­ing up the pace of his in­nings with some out­stand­ing sixes and the fifty part­ner­ship soon came up mid­way through the Toft in­nings.

The de­ter­mined Aus­tralian, Han­cock, played bril­liantly as he steered Toft passed un­der a hun­dred to win, passed the 100 part­ner­ship and to­wards his own cen­tury.

Mean­while Hughes was also play­ing some classy shots and brought up his 50. As the overs went by their part­ner­ship grew in strength.

Macc brought about a few bowl­ing changes; Will Smith, Keen and the rein­tro­duc­tion of Chris Moores, but none of them could get the vi­tal break­through. In­stead Toft held firm and Han­cock brought up his 100 with a fine pull shot. He ended on 104 not out, with Hughes on 59 not out.

The un­bro­ken part­ner­ship was worth 160, as Toft cruised to vic­tory in 46.1 overs, end­ing on 210-2.

Macc had come up against a very con­vinc­ing ti­tle con­tender and the eight-wicket de­feat means they only picked up six points, mov­ing down to eighth in the process. Next week they are at home to Grap­pen­hall, which is now a big game for the Vic­to­ria Road side.

Dar­ren Bolling­ton

●● Mac­cles­field suf­fered an eight-wicket loss against lead­ers Toft at the week­end

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