Marple make most of break

Stockport Express - - Sport - MARK BROOK

MARPLE, be­ing on the eastern edge of Cheshire and on the fringes of the Peak District, are usu­ally vic­tims of any wet weather that is around.

On two oc­ca­sions this sea­son, games at Bow­den Lane have fallen foul of the el­e­ments when many other teams have avoided the rain storms.

How­ever, a late sea­son quirk in the fix­ture list saw Marple make the lengthy jour­ney to Up­ton, at the north­ern end of the Wir­ral penin­su­lar.

The dark and omi­nous rain clouds of the morn­ing fi­nally passed over, and with a brisk west­erly wind and strong Septem­ber sun­shine dry­ing things up, a game of thirty overs per side took place start­ing at 3.15pm on what was fi­nally a glo­ri­ous afternoon.

Full credit to the Up­ton play­ers and mem­bers, who were con­sci­en­tious in their ef­forts to get the ground fit for play.

Up­ton cap­tain Matt Owen in­serted Marple on win­ning the toss, and Paul Wood was prob­a­bly frus­trated at hav­ing to take first knock on a green­ish wicket that had been un­der the cov­ers dur­ing the heavy down­pours.

With bowlers Liam Sundve and Chris McArthur on the spot straight away, Marple’s im­me­di­ate tar­get of 140 for max­i­mum bat­ting points looked a long way off.

It was here that An­drew Hall showed his class. He was the one player in the game who used his feet to up­set the length of the bowlers.

Af­ter gaug­ing the pace and bounce of the pitch he got Marple away to a good start, and in­spired Crisall at the other end. Both play­ers found the bound­ary with reg­u­lar­ity, adding 46 be­fore Crisall (22) mist­imed McArthur to Di Stefano at mid off.

Ben­nett joined Hall in adding 32 more for the se­cond wicket, but was bril­liantly run out from a di­rect hit by Matt Smith, de­part­ing for 14.

Af­ter this, Hall went on to an ex­cel­lent half cen- tury (55) but he fell lbw to the canny slow left arm spin­ner Wil­liams at 102 for 4, Marple cap­tain Wood not hav­ing stayed too long to­day.

Jim Mor­gan and Andy Wild kept things mov­ing well though adding 24 in good time.

With the overs run­ning out, both fell on un­lucky 13. It was left to Pat Mo­ra­han to smite the fi­nal ball of the in­nings for four to bring up a good to­tal of 141 for 6 in 30 overs and max­i­mum bat­ting points.

For Up­ton, McArthur was test­ing with 2 for 40, and Wil­liams bowled with skill and guile to record 3 for 22 from just seven overs.

Af­ter a short break, tea hav­ing been taken be­fore play be­gan, Up­ton got away to a rapid start as Mo­ra­han and Grundy strug­gled to find the best length to bowl.

The pow­er­ful McArthur, pro­moted to open, was se­vere on any­thing loose, and of his 28 quick­fire runs, 20 came cour­tesy of two fours and two bru­tally smashed sixes.

How­ever, Jack Grundy is full of con­fi­dence at present and woe be­tide any bats­man who takes him lightly.

Af­ter Greasley had found some turn and bounce to have Owen caught by Hall at slip, Grundy got one through MacArthur’s de­fences and Up­ton were 49 for 2.

He then picked up three more quick wick­ets to leave the home side in tat­ters at 63 for 5. Af­ter this, the back of the Up­ton in­nings was bro­ken and de­spite a cul­tured 20 from Matt Smith, things fell apart.

Marple’s catch­ing was good once more, with Wild tak­ing a tow­er­ing steepler with aplomb to re­move Stow­ell-Smith and keeper Mor­gan pouch­ing a fur­ther two. Up­ton kept on go­ing for the runs, but were all out for just 99 in the 21st over. Grundy had 4 for 37, Greasley 4 for 27 Mo­ra­han came back with two late wicket to record 2 for 27.

With one game re­main­ing, Marple are now in pole po­si­tion for pro­mo­tion back to the ECB Cheshire County League Pre­mier Di­vi­sion.

As luck would have it, the fix­ture is against near­est ri­vals Mac­cles­field next Sun­day at Macc’s Vic­to­ria Road ground, 12.30pm start.

Marple have a 16 points ad­van­tage, be­ing in se­cond place in the league.

Marple’s se­cond team game with Up­ton at Bow­den Lane was not so lucky with the el­e­ments, and was aban­doned with­out a ball be­ing bowled.

The sec­onds are still in dan­ger of the drop, but are at home to Mac­cles­field next week­end who are also ri­vals at the bot­tom of the ta­ble in the se­cond eleven pre­mier league. Up­ton are also in trou­ble, and play cham­pi­ons Toft in their fi­nal fix­ture.

Ac­tion from Marple’s game at Up­ton

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