Ber­tus knock the high­light of clash

Macclesfield Express - - SEARCH - MACC CC

MAC­CLES­FIELD CC 1XI hosted star-stud­ded Ch­ester Boughton Hall CC on Satur­day in an im­por­tant ECB Premier Di­vi­sion match re­cently that saw glo­ri­ous sun­shine for the start of the game – but per­sis­tent rain and gloomy con­di­tions at its con­clu­sion.

Macc skip­per Rob Porter lost an im­por­tant toss and it was no sur­prise when vis­it­ing cap­tain Lee Dixon asked Mac­cles­field to bat first on a soft deck that would aid seam bowl­ing.

The vis­i­tors opened up with their Cheshire strike part­ner­ship of Owen and Davis bowl­ing with good pace and us­ing the con­di­tions well as they re­moved Bir­chall, Mars­den and Porter early doors.

Through­out this early loss of wick­ets, Macc’s over­seas player Nick Ber­tus stood strong as he started to com­pile what would be a top class in­nings. James Cross stood firm for a while as did Fin McCance, but when the later fell, Macc found them­selves in the per­ilous po­si­tion of 90-5 and in dan­ger of col­laps­ing for a low to­tal in the face of a qual­ity at­tack.

This brought Ciaran San­ders to the crease on de­but and to­gether with Ber­tus he in­jected much needed im­pe­tus into the in­nings as they stood tall to the Ch­ester bar­rage.

To­gether they com­piled a high qual­ity part­ner­ship of 90, graced with pow­er­ful hit­ting, smart run­ning and in­tel­li­gent cricket shots as they slowly got Mac­cles­field into a com­fort­able po­si­tion.

San­ders was even­tu­ally bowled for a su­perb 41, which in the cir­cum­stances was worth a lot more runs but left Ber­tus bat­ting with the tail as he tried to get a de­fend­able tar­get for the home side, as well get the cen­tury that he so richly de­served.

Smith and Moores came and went as they put to­gether use­ful stands with Ber­tus as Macc’s Aus­tralian passed his ton, but it was the ninth wicket part­ner­ship with Bar­ney Cut­bill that swung me­men­tun for Mac­cles­field as loose balls dis­ap­peared to the bound­ary and runs came at a rapid rate.

Macc fin­ished their in­nings with a to­tal of 239-8 from 55 overs with Cut­bill not out 18 and Nick Ber­tus fin­ish­ing on 121 not out com­pleted with a huge six into the hospi­tal from the fi­nal ball of the in­nings.

Ber­tus’s in­nings was a mix of watch­ful shots, in­tel­li­gent cricket and brute power as he re­strained his nat­u­ral ag­gres­sive play to build a truly bril­liant in­nings for his side when they needed him most at 15-1 and then 60-4 against a qual­ity bowl­ing at­tack.

As the two sides left the field for tea, Mac­cles­field felt they were on top as Ch­ester sensed a missed op­por­tu­nity of chas­ing a low score from their early dom­i­nance.

Owen was the pick of the Ch­ester at­tack claim­ing five wick­ets.

It should also be men­tioned that it took Ch­ester al­most four hours to bowl their 55 overs, some­thing that would come back to haunt them as the evening drew in later at the end of the game.

Af­ter a good tea, Macc knew they would have to bowl and field well to re­strict the pow­er­ful Ch­ester bat­ting line up.

That man Ber­tus took a smart catch at sec­ond slip to re­move Money off the bowl­ing of Bir­chall to give Mac­cles­field the per­fect start, but that brought to­gether the Cheshire play­ers Good­win and Moore who started to re­build and play some won­der­ful cricket shots.

How­ever, when ex-Lancs player Good­win was bowled by Cut­bill, Macc sensed a chance and when the same bowler re­moved Cheshire skip­per Lee Dixon LBW the home side looked to grab their op­por­tu­nity.

Moore com­piled an ex­cel­lent fifty but soon af­ter was bowled by left arm spin­ner Sully Raja and again Macc were on top.

Un­for­tu­nately, the rain then started to fall, and the large crowd dis­persed as the play­ers had to leave the field and the gloom en­gulfed the ground.

Ch­ester’s for­mer Glam­or­gan player Will Owen was at the crease and the vis­i­tors were favourites as the play­ers re­turned to the ground in the semi dark need­ing 50 from 8 overs.

The ball was like a bar of soap mak­ing bowl­ing very dif­fi­cult and field­ing even tougher in the dark.

Un­for­tu­nately, af­ter such a won­der­ful cricket match, the um­pires de­cided that it was too dark for the play­ers to con­tinue just af­ter 8pm and the game fin­ished in a draw as Ch­ester’s in­nings closed at 210-5.

A fan­tas­tic game of cricket was played in a “no quar­ter asked or given” men­tal­ity but fin­ished with Macc gain­ing a points ad­van­tage of 12-10 over their vis­i­tors.

The game will ul­ti­mately be re­mem­bered though for a sim­ply won­der­ful in­nings from Macc’s Ber­tus – it was an in­nings that should be used as a blueprint for how an over­seas player should bat to firstly get his side out of trou­ble, but then later play in a way that his nat­u­ral tal­ent should al­low as he hit the ball to all parts to en­able Macc to post a de­fend­able to­tal.

Un­for­tu­nately Mac­cles­field 2XI and 3XI both lost against Ch­ester B.H CC 2XI and Chelford 2XI re­spec­tively, but there were pos­i­tive per­for­mances from play­ers from both Macc sides to sug­gest the fu­ture bodes well. Spe­cial men­tion for Otis Palmes (14) on 2XI de­but who took 4 wick­ets, and Miles Bradshaw (13) with 3 wick­ets for the 3XI as they did their ut­most to help their sides try to win.

At the other end of the scale, Dave Cowen (fresh from 50th birth­day cel­e­bra­tions) smashed the ball to all parts for a bru­tal 50 not out for the 2XI.

A club spokesman said: “Thank you to The New Shal­i­mar Res­tau­rant Mac­cles­field for spon­sor­ing the match and their on-go­ing support of Mac­cles­field cricket.”

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