Widnes just fail to Sale off with a win
WIDNES Cricket Club’s first XI travelled to Sale hoping to maintain their recent winning form.
Visiting captain Tom Evans lost the toss and Widnes were inserted into bat.
Chris Kirby and Mike Byrne opened the batting facing ex-Lancashire player Tyrone Lawrence and his opening bowling partner Alistair Barrowman.
Kirby took the fight to the Sale attack though scoring a quick 16 runs of 22 balls before being caught by Ben Watkin off Lawrence with the total on 22.
Matty Burns now joined Byrne at the crease, with the young pair of local lads hoping to keep up their good form with the bat.
They worked hard putting on what proved to be Widnes’s highest partnership of the day – 58 – until Byrne was bowled by Watkin for 26 with the total now on 76.
Zimbabwean Johnathan Campbell now joined Burns in the middle facing Sale’s tricky spin attack of Watkin and Richard Halkon.
The Widnes pair worked hard gathering runs but also valuing their wicket moving the total onto 121 when Campbell was given out to a dubious-looking lbw decision to Halkon for 31.
Next to join Burns was Majid Majeed who was coming into bat at the ideal time to suit his aggressive batting style.
With wickets in hand and little danger of Widnes not using their full allocation of overs, Burns now passed the half-century mark having done his job batting resolutely getting his team into this attacking position in the final overs.
This was, however, to be his downfall as he fell, caught by Andy Millward playing an attacking shot off Isaac Brooks for 51. His fine knock from 106 deliveries featured six boundaries.
Alex Hewitt was next in with the same intent as Majeed and they pushed the total on with the latter hitting sixes to all parts of the ground.
Heitt went for 17, bowled by Millward, with the total now on 180 in the 46th over.
Qamar Hafiz joined Majeed and the run fest continued. Majeed passed his 50 in 36 balls and continued to hit out before he was eventually caught in the ● 49th over by Brooks off Lawrence for 64.
Majeed’s memorable innings off just 40 balls included one four and six big maximums.
Rob Magee joined Hafiz and he immediately got the latter back on strike for him to hit two sixes and finish 20 not out as Widnes ended their 50 overs on 236-6.
Sale set about chasing the large Widnes total with openers Greg Gyves and Sam Battersby facing Widnes bowlers Hafiz and Campbell.
Gyves seemed to be the more aggressive batsman and when the first wicket fell – Battersby caught by wicketkeeper Kirby off Campbell’s bowling for a single with the total on 28 – he had scored 27.
Lawrence was the next Sale batsman in and this appeared the point at which the fate of the match hinged.
If this pair could continue batting there was a good possibility the Widnes total would be in jeopardy.
Thankfully for Widnes, however, two wickets fell with the total on 40.
First of all, Gyves was bowled by Hafiz for 37. Then Campbell took the big wicket of Lawrence having him caught by Will Myers for just two.
With Mat Spells and Sale captain Keith Wellings now in, the home outfit’s innings stuttered somewhat and the run rate plummeted.
Widnes introduced the spin of Magee and Majeed and it took until the 25th over when Spells was caught, again by Kirby off Magee’s bowling for 25.
The total moved onto 98 when the fifth sale wicket fell, Ryan Burgess caught by Myers off Majeed for 14.
At 106 the sixth wicket fell, Watkin caught by Hafiz, again from Majeed’s bowling for two.
Widnes now thought they were in with a chance of clearing up the Sale tail-enders as another wicket fell with the score on 119, Barrowman becoming Kirby’s third catch of the game, this time off Hafiz’s bowling for one.
Widnes tried various bowling combinations to strike next and it took captain Evans who put himself on to bowl in the 41st over to get the crucial wicket of Wellings who he castled for 45 to put Widnes in with a fighting chance of claiming the win.
Unfortunately for Evans and his side, no more wickets fell until the 48th over when Magee bowled Halkon for 11 with Sale teetering at 168-9.
Sadly for Widnes, they did not manage to claim that final wicket and claim the full 25 points as Sale held on and Widnes were good value for the winning draw.
Sale finished on 175-9 off 50 overs with Widnes bagging 15 points and the hosts six from the encounter.
Meanwhile at Beaconsfield Road Widnes’s second XI entertained their counterparts from Sale.
Widnes batted first and scored 195 all out in 50 overs.
Robert Critchley held the Widnes innings together with an excellent knock of 64.
In reply, Sale knocked off this total in 47 overs only losing four wickets along the way as opener Viraj Sorathia clubbed an undefeated 73.
This Saturday, the first XI entertain Davenham with an earlier than usual start time of 12pm, whilst the seconds travel to Tattenhall with the contest there commencing at 1pm.
Majid Majeed at the crease for Widnes in their drawn encounter with Sale last Saturday.