Pos­i­tive week­end for Mac­cles­field

Macclesfield Express - - SEARCH - JOHN BIRCHALL

MAC­CLES­FIELD started an ac­tion packed week pos­i­tively on Thurs­day evening with a home win in the T20 Cup against newly-pro­moted Bar­row who of­fered lit­tle com­pe­ti­tion for the im­prov­ing Premier League club.

Skipper Rob Porter won a rare toss and asked the Bar­row men to set a score.

San­ders and Birchall im­me­di­ately had the vis­i­tors reel­ing at 5 for 3 be­fore key bats­men Iroshan De Silva (62 off 48) struck back for Bar­row, but re­sis­tance was fu­tile as Bar­row mus­tered a be­low par 115 for 9 off their 20 overs.

No­table bowling per­for­mances, San­ders 2 for 16 off 4, Birchall 4 for 14 off 4 & Moores 2 for 14 off 2. Mac­cles­field set about the low to­tal pos­i­tively and were never in any trou­ble Birchall hit­ting a brisk 34 off 21 with three sixes, be­fore Mel­rose and Porter fin­ished off with 29 not out a piece.

Satur­day brought drama for the Macc boys as they nipped to Toft for a Premier League game with a twist. On a flat, hard deck Toft skipper Toby Drum­mond won the toss, elected to bat and started well hit­ting cleanly around the ground reach­ing 83 with­out loss.

Cue the in­tro­duc­tion of Craig Mel­rose who swung the ball at will, bring­ing the break­through Mac­cles­field so des­per­ately needed with two wick­ets in two balls.

Chris Moores toiled in the heat, pro­duc­ing some pres­sure build­ing overs and al­low­ing the other bowlers to pick up reg­u­lar wick­ets and keep the Toft bats­men at bay.

Toft skipper Drum­mond fell on 140 for 3 for a well struck 71, al­low­ing Mac­cles­field to seize the mo­ment and take the next four wick­ets for 40 runs. But the heat took its toll on the Mac­cles­field field­ing as four catches went down and Toft fin­ished on a re­spectable 228 all out.

Wick­ets were split evenly among the Mac­cles­field bowlers, Mel­rose with 2 for 39 off 10, San­ders 2 for 16 off 6, Raja Boss­man 2 for 62 off 13 and Birchall 3 for 26 off 5.3.

The Mac­cles­field run chase started with a bang as Birchall struck two fours in the first over be­fore a freak down­pour halted pro­ceed­ings, cost­ing Mac­cles­field six overs off their al­lot­ted 55.

Birchall at­tempted to gather mo­men­tum af­ter the break with a huge six be­fore giv­ing his wicket away cheaply with the score just 23 for 1.

En­ter Nick Ber­tus – pic­tured above with his Chrome Mo­tors spon­sored car – whose rich form con­tin­ued as he eased his way to yet an­other 50 with Marsden in sup­port.

Marsden fell on 38 with the score on 95.

Skipper Rob Porter and Ber­tus scored freely reach­ing 187 be­fore the skipper failed to clear mid-on.

With the fin­ish line in site and Ber­tus set on 76 and just five an over needed, the tal­ented mid­dle or­der came apart as Mac­cles­field lost five wick­ets for just 10 runs, James Lo­mas do­ing the most dam­age with 4 for 49 from 15.

The score now 197 for 7, James Cross of­fered a glimmer of hope in sup­port­ing Ber­tus to get the score to 219.

Cross was then run out from a di­rect hit and the tides turned yet again.

Ber­tus man­aged to get on strike and struck a six to bring the score to 226. This left Moores on strike for the fi­nal over need­ing just three to win off six off break de­liv­er­ies.

James Hodg­son, 17, showed his po­ten­tial, bowling four dot balls and tak­ing a wicket with his fifth leav­ing Mac­cles­field the seem­ingly im­pos­si­ble task of three to win off just one de­liv­ery and num­ber 11 Sul­tan Raja on strike with Ber­tus stranded at the other end on 98*.

Raja con­nected to long on and a mis-field brought some luck as the Mac­cles­field bats­man scam­pered back for two runs. Scores tied, hon­ours even – Mac­cles­field 16 points to Toft’s 15.

Sun­day saw Mac­cles­field host New Brighton in their reg­u­lar Cheshire Cup fix­ture on yet an­other scorch­ing day.

New Brighton won the toss and chose to bat on a great look­ing pitch at the Victoria Road ground. Mark Row­land, dropped first ball, then started brightly, scor­ing freely un­til com­ing un­stuck on 36 off the ever re­li­able Chris Moores (4 for 23).

Things only got worse for the vis­i­tors as some good catch­ing from Moores’ mov­ing de­liv­er­ies saw New Brighton slump to 100 for 6.

Some re­sis­tance from Watkins & Drepaul (24 & 20) was not enough to post a to­tal as New Brighton were blown away for just 133.

Chris Moores was again pick of the bowlers with San­ders pick­ing up 2 for 7 off just three overs. Birchall and Marsden set about the New Brighton at­tack with pa­tience and put away the bad ball.

There was des­per­a­tion from the New Brighton skipper, mix­ing his at­tack up to try and get a break­through as the two moved through the gears.

Birchall reached his first 50 of the cam­paign with Marsden close be­hind be­fore he stepped up a gear to fin­ish the now bro­ken vis­i­tors off in style with two sixes in three balls, fin­ish­ing on an un­beaten 75* and Marsden 43*. Mac­cles­field host Urm­ston next Satur­day with some win­ning mo­men­tum.

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