Macc return to winning ways
MACCLESFIELD picked up a valuable win in their home game against Grappenhall in a key bottom-half of the table clash.
Losing the toss, Macc were put into bat first on a wicket which would prove to offer encouragement for both batsmen and bowlers.
Macc’s openers, Peter Barron and Chris Thompson, set about the innings in a careful manner.
After a couple of early boundaries, the Grappenhall bowlers soon found their areas and scoring freely became a problem with the occasional ball also passing the edge.
However with the mix of the odd boundary, singles and watchfulness, the two openers built a solid, if not speedy, foundation for the innings. When Barron (37) was caught at first slip the score was 57-1 after 20 overs.
Thompson then continued to play a key anchor role for Macc, showing great patience and determination, giving the Grappenhall bowlers little impetus, whilst the incoming batsman, Nick Bertus, punished any loose deliveries for four or six. Bertus was playing well and was in the mood for some big runs.
He played sensibly and assertively. He raced on to 30, taking Macc past the hundred mark at drinks, still for the loss of only one wicket.
After drinks, Thompson was dismissed for 31 when he was caught at cover and Macc were now 1152. This brought captain, Tom Parfett, to the crease and he supported Bertus well, who brought up his 50.
The pair added 35 runs together before Parfett (13) top edged a sweep shot to deep square leg and was caught on the boundary. Macc were now 150-3.
Birchall came in for the home side and started well. With plenty of overs left Macc were hoping for a score of 250.
However, Grappenhall’s bowlers did not give in and were rewarded with the key wicket of Bertus for 55, when he edged to the wicketkeeper. Moments later Finlay McCance was out and Macc were now 167-5.
Macc continued adding runs, mainly through Birchall who was timing the ball well. Unfortunately the hosts also kept losing wickets.
Birchall was caught expertly on the boundary for a key contribution of 32 and Liam Markie (12) was also caught after hitting two big sixes, his first six coming off his first ball, which saw a good length ball dispatched over long off!
In the end though Macc just couldn’t muster up another big partnership and were bowled out for 217 after 54.4 overs, with Grappenhall’s Pennington being the pick of the bowlers with figures of 5-40.
In the field, Macc started very well through Ian Tait. After two weeks out with injury, Tait was raring to go and his third ball of the innings was a fast yorker, bowling the Grappenhall opener for a duck.
The destructive James McCoy then started taking the attack to Macc and moved the scoring rate on handsomely for Grappenhall. They reached 50 inside the first 10 overs and were well placed.
However that man Tait provided the much needed breakthrough of McCoy (37) when he went after one too many and hit one straight up, for wicketkeeper Cross, who took a good catch.
Tait was then in business again as he removed Pennington for a duck and now the score was on 54-3. Grappenhall responded well however and began to build a decent partnership, stemming the flow of wickets. Roylance and Green, batted conservatively but also found the boundary when they needed to.
They were well up with the required rate and were the favourites to win when they took the score on to 136-3.
But just after passing fifty, Roylance (54) top edged a sweep to Markie off Sultan Raja’s bowling and Macc were now back in the game.
Once Tait removed the dangerous Green for 40, the momentum swung back in Macc’s favour, with the score now on 138-5.
The required rate was now climbing and Sultan Raja claimed two more scalps in quick time, one bowled and one aided by a smart catch from Birchall. Liam Markie picked up a wicket from the other end to add more pressure on the away team.
Finally two more good catches in the deep, from Chris Moores and Liam Markie, off Raja’s bowling, sealed victory for Macc. Raja finished with figures of 5-50 as Grappenhall ended on 172 all out off 45.4 overs.
Much was owed to Ian Tait as well, who bowled with control, aggression and experience, claiming figures of 4-57 off 20 overs. Macc take a big 25 points and look ahead to next week’s game against Bramhall.