Edge edge out Macc in opener
AFTER a week of glorious sunshine, the typical Macclesfield climate returned on Saturday, just in time for the first game of the 2016 Cheshire County Cricket League.
Macclesfield welcomed Alderley Edge to Victoria Road for the season opener, in a match sponsored by The Chilli Banana Thai Restaurant Macclesfield – and the word ‘chilly’ was certainly being used from 2pm onwards!
After a minute’s silence held in memory of Rick Davis (former panel umpire and Alderley Edge fixture secretary), who died suddenly in Macclesfield General Hospital last month, the two sides soon began their new campaign.
Alderley won the toss and elected to field first. Lancashire all-rounder Jordan Clark took the new ball for the visitors along with Tom Foreman.
After a few early boundaries from John Birchall and Peter Barron, Clark struck twice in his opening spell, first by trapping Birchall (13) LBW and then a few overs later removing Barron (21) who dragged a pull shot onto his stumps.
This left Macc on 55-2, with the Australian, Nick Bertus, and debutant Oliver Marsden now having to steady the ship somewhat.
The pair managed to add a further 27 runs before last season’s overseas hit a full toss to backward point in an unfortunate dismissal. Bertus had made 29, showing glimpses of some of his expert timing from last year.
Marsden continued to look comfortable and new captain Rob Porter, helped to push the score along. Macc were in a strong position come the drinks break and soon reached 134-3 with plenty of overs to go.
However, a collapse ensued, which saw Marsden (30) play on to his stumps off the spin of Charlie Reid, Porter caught on the boundary for a very entertaining 31 and James Cross given LBW. Macc were now in a spot of bother at 136-6.
That soon became 1518, as the re-introduction of Clark (4-54) claimed the wickets of Parfett (5) and McCance (6).
Enter Barney Cutbill, who reminded the Macc faithful what he is all about.
He took on Clark who was fired up and looking for his fifth victim.
Cutbill dug in before hitting Clark for six over deep square leg, while adding boundaries off the other bowlers.
He moved on to 22 off 25 balls, before being caught on the boundary, but it was his fighting spirit which added extra impetus to Macc’s innings and this was evident in the final 23-run partnership between Chris Moores (15 not out) and Sultan Raja (16), who both fought admirably and showed stylish stroke-play to take Macc up to 201 all out off 50.5 overs.
Alderley started their innings brightly with a few early boundaries through Calum Rowe (15) and Alan Day (22).
But Birchall claimed the first scalp of the season for Macc when he had Rowe caught behind off a sharp catch from Cross, who had moved up to the stumps.
Former Macc player Khalid Sawas then came to the crease and hit three classy boundaries and was looking dangerous.
However he became Marsden’s first wicket for the East Cheshire club when he was caught by Cutbill at mid-off. This left Alderley on 34-2.
That man Clark then came to the crease and built a partnership with Day. Clark worked hard, applied himself and didn’t look like giving his wicket away.
Day and Clark hit the occasional boundary but mainly pushed the singles around and added a valuable 50 partnership for the third wicket.
Chris Moores changed the script though when his left arm seam bowling turned the game momentarily. Day first of all mistimed a drive to mid-off, where Cutbill hung on again, and then he claimed the wicket of Wilkinson for a golden duck, trapping him LBW with a superb swinging delivery, back into the right hander.
That meant Alderley were 89-4 and in need of a couple of big partnerships if they were to start the season with a victory. And that is what happened.
More experience in the shape of firstly Worrall (35) and secondly Currie (20 not out) supported Clark commendably over the next 15 overs.
Clark continued to look comfortable against Macc’s attack and his partners didn’t let the pressure build.
When Worrall departed off Marsden’s bowling the score was 137-5 and when Clark finally went for a match-winning 75 off the bowling of Cutbill, Alderley were 183-6 and almost home.
Macc pushed right until the end searching for another breakthrough, but Alderley just had too much quality batting left. Charlie Reid (14 not out) hit the winning runs after 41 overs, meaning Macc’s first game ended in defeat, but a defeat filled with much optimism. Alderley took the 25 points, to Macc’s eight.
●● Barney Cutbill hit 22 off 25 balls for Macclesfield