Loss can’t take gloss off season
MACCLESFIELD’S season closed with a trip to Nantwich in what proved a disappointing end to a decent season.
Heavy overnight rain, which persisted into the morning, resulted in the square and outfield being extremely wet.
This meant the start time was delayed by 45 minutes and the overs reduced to 47 overs per side.
Nantwich captain Doyle won the toss and elected to bat first in what looked like tricky conditions to bat in. The Nantwich opening batsmen looked to be positive against Macc’s opening bowlers of Smith and Moores, with Simpson striking the first ball of the innings to the extra cover boundary.
Smith then produced the breakthrough having Simpson (18) caught by Barron which brought Lancashire player Livingstone to the crease.
He was immediately into his stride dispatching several enormous sixes into the adjacent fields and over the clubhouse.
Smith (2-54) stuck to his task and soon produced a good delivery which nipped back and bowled Rimmer (11).
Brown joined Livingstone at the wicket who had raced to his 50 at far better than a run a ball with powerful shots in particular down the ground and over the leg side.
Setting a field for the Lancashire player was near on impossible as he unfurled an array of inventive sweep shots over the keepers head and huge blows way over the fielders standing on the boundary rope who could only stand and admire.
Brown (20) began to look comfortable at the crease as the score progressed on to 113-2 before the seam bowling of Peal (1-53) accounted for his wicket as Smith took a good low catch diving forward at mid off.
The introduction of Birchall into the attack accounted for next batsmen Cook-Sievewright (8), bowling him with a quick, full delivery.
Ray Doyle then provided support to Livingstone who was showing no signs of slowing down as he raced to a hundred from just 60 deliveries including eight maximums.
Birchall then claimed his crucial wicket, shortly after he reached his hundred, with a delivery that bounced and rushed the batsmen causing the ball to hit high on the bat and was caught at long on.
Birchall (7-28) then produced a superb spell of quick bowling, having six of his seven victims bowled, sending stumps cartwheeling.
Doyle (30) produced some big hits late in the innings off the spin bowling of Porter before also being bowled by Birchall.
From being 180-5, Nantwich collapsed to 205 all out from just 32.2 overs, thanks mainly to the superb spell of bowling from Birchall.
Macc openers Keen and Barron looked to provide a solid platform as they began their pursuit of 206 for victory.
Keen (12) looked to be positive early on hitting boundaries through extra cover and mid on off the bowling of Syddall (1-31) before leaving one that jagged back and just clipped the off stump.
This brought Bertus to the crease in his final innings before flying back to Australia.
He also looked to be positive and attack hitting a couple of fours and a six in his cameo of 16 from 14 balls.
He then tried one shot too many as he looked to loft one over mid on off the bowling of Warrington only for the mid on fielder to stretch out an arm and cling on one handed.
Barron and next man Marsden were then involved in a mix up with their running which resulted in the latter being run out without scoring.
Barron (10) quickly followed, bowled by a deliv- ery that nipped back from Warrington which left Macc in a perilous position at 44-4.
Porter looked determined not to give his wicket away and Birchall at the other end managed to get away a couple of boundaries to stage a brief recovery.
Warrington then bowled Birchall (11), as Birchall had done to him in the first innings, and soon bowled Parfett first delivery with another ball that nipped back through the gate.
Porter and new man Cross then progressed the Macc score from 60-6 up to 99 battling through an excellent spell of seam bowling from Warrington.
Porter was finally undone as he was caught off a delivery from Warrington after surviving 59 deliveries for his 27.
Cross (15) then chipped a return a catch to the same bowler to take him to 77 league victims for the season.
The Macc innings then quickly came to a close, but not before an excellent little cameo from Smith who hit four consecutive boundaries off the bowling of Warrington as he was left unbeaten on 37 to boost the Macc score up to 162 all out from 40 overs, still well short of their target of 206.
A disappointing way to end the season for Macc with a loss in a game essentially won by a first class cricketer, but a successful season overall as they finish mid-table in seventh position in the ECB Premier League.
This match was kindly sponsored by East Cheshire Mortgages.
●● Macclesfield were beaten at Nantwich but enjoyed a good season overall