Marple make most of break
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