Macc left bottom after Cheadle loss
MACCLESFIELD were back on the road with a trip away to Cheadle at the weekend but returned home empty handed after a loss which left them bottom of the table.
On a warm, sunny day, Macc won the toss and elected to field first.
Oli Marsden and Barney Cutbill took the new ball and the Cheadle openers started as they meant to go on.
Dan Brown hit the first ball of the innings straight to gully, but it was travelling at such a rate that Parfett did well to even lay a hand on it, which stopped a certain four runs.
The Cheadle openers, mainly Brown, played aggressively, punishing anything loose by whacking it to the boundary. The margin for error became less and less for the Macc bowlers as Brown’s confidence grew and grew.
Captain Rob Porter introduced some spin bowling into the attack in the shape of leg spinner Ciaran Sanders. Sanders started well and seemed to be slowing the rate, until Brown and opener Greg Dixon, who ably supported Brown throughout, suddenly took a liking to him and scored a few more boundaries, compounding Macc’s dismal start.
John Birchall and Sultan Raja offered some hope for Macc and were bowling consistently.
Birchall induced some false shots from Brown, who was lucky not to chop onto his stumps on a couple of occasions. However, Macc toiled and toiled but just couldn’t get the breakthrough.
Cheadle brought up the 100 opening partnership and Brown continued in his ruthless fashion. A few overs later, he brought up an outstanding century just before the 30 over mark and didn’t look like getting out anytime soon, as Cheadle boasted a 150 opening partnership.
Macc did eventually get their first breakthrough however, when Harlan Greig tossed one up only for Dixon (51) to mistime a shot down towards long on, where Birchall held on admirably.
Cheadle’s opening onslaught had come to an end with the score on 1821. Not long after Macc were celebrating again as Greig claimed the huge wicket of Brown – who had danced down the track and missed the ball, allowing James Cross to whip off the bails.
Brown departed to a standing ovation for a truly magnificent 133, with the score now on 192-2. This soon became 196-3 as Raja and Cross combined for another stumping for Macc, who were now starting to get a foothold in the game.
Cheadle’s Fletcher threatened to take the game away from Macc again, as he hit some strong shots for six.
However, Raja claimed another wicket with a very nonchalant one-handed catch off his own bowling to dismiss the Australian for 24. Birchall came back into the attack and removed Yousaf for a duck. Birchall and Raja were now bowling very well in tandem, keeping things relatively tight whilst taking wickets.
Raja (3-54 off 17 overs) claimed a third wicket as his left arm spin continued to tie down the incoming batsmen.
Cheadle were now on 225-6 and suddenly well on their way to being bowled out.
The tail wagged somewhat with Dooler batting well to finish on 20 not out but Macc weren’t to be denied as Birchall (4-58) claimed three more scalps and a fantastic run out from Parfett/Cross meant the hosts were bowled out for 280 in the final over. .
Unfortunately, the momentum was short lived as Birchall was caught behind in the first over off the bowling of Lancashire second team player, Nathan Buck.
Through Bertus and Marsden, Macc fought back well and the pair added 60 before Cheadle claimed their next victim.
It was a big wicket as well, as Bertus was bowled for 31 and had been threatening another big score.
From the very next ball, Rashid Amin bowled Greig and Macc were really up against it when 60-3 became 86-5, as both Porter and Sanders couldn’t keep Amin’s (4-40) tricky swinging and seaming deliveries out.
Marsden and Parfett batted well together and offered some hope of a draw.
Parfett played some wonderful cut shots to the fence, while Marsden continued to look comfortable. The latter moved passed his 50 but was unfortunate to be caught not long after off a leading edge for 51, leaving the score on 128-6.
A couple of overs later, Barron was bowled for a duck playing an ugly sweep shot off the spin bowling of Holmes.
James Cross came to the crease and hit some strong pull shots off the bowling of Buck who had been reintroduced into the attack.
With three wickets left and around 10 overs to go a draw was still possible.
However, Cross (18) was unlucky to chop on to his stumps to see Buck claim his second wicket, leaving the score on 166-8.
Cutbill was LBW to Holmes (3-33) not long after and Parfett, who had batted with real resilience and style, was unfortunately the last wicket to fall when he was bowled by Buck for a brilliant 44. Macc finished on 177 all out off 47.1 overs.
It was a disappointing day for the 1st XI, with the 103-run defeat leaving them bottom of the league after six matches. The side will be doing all they can to climb the table in their next game which is away at Toft on Saturday.
Meanwhile the 2nd XI won again, at home to Cheadle. Craig Melrose was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 5-22, ably supported by Stuart Parks (3-44), as Cheadle were bowled out for 124 inside 40 overs. Macc knocked it off two down, as McCance (49 not out) and Alex Griffiths (41 not out) shared an unbroken 85-run third wicket partnership to guide the hosts to victory after 30.2 overs. The 2nd XI have now moved up to sixth in the table.
The thirds lost out in an entertaining game at home to table-toppers Haslington. Macc were chasing 206 to win and looked on course for victory as Nick McAndrew (85 not out) batted superbly.
However, two late-ish wickets meant Macc were bowled out for 197, losing by just eight runs.
●● Sultan Raja in action for Macclesfield against Cheadle at the weekend