Positive weekend for Macclesfield
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.