1stXI are League Champions

1stXI are League Champions
13 Sep 2022

The 1stXI are Champions of Cheshire County Cricket League Division 3. After leading from the front they finally secured the title on the penultimate weekend of the season and, with no abandonments and having defeated every opposition in the league at least once, there can be no arguments. Attentions will now turn the final weekend where the 2ndXI can follow suit and, if results go to plan, there is an outside chance of promotion for the 3rdXI too.

1stXI v Maritime

An epic stand between Jake Reynolds (68*) and James Banner (23*) saw them bat almost 29 overs together to deny second-place Maritime the win that would have extended the title race to the final weekend. It was gutsy cricket that preserved a proud unbeaten home record in 2022 that formed the backbone of the promotion campaign with ten wins and this lone draw from the fixtures at London Road. Such a record has meant the side relying on its depth to turn around some losing positions and this was another example of that resilience across this rare uninterrupted season.

The skipper won a crucial toss after heavy rain throughout the week and inserted a powerful Maritime batting lineup that thrives on chasing but has only won two games batting first. Their order all chipped in to set a competitive score against a home attack missing Toby Carson and further limited when Jamie Henderson (1-15) again pulled up injured. Seven visiting batters made it into the 20s, attacking the short pavilion-side boundary to good effect as a big penultimate over swelled the score to 176-9.

With four points banked from the first innings the Jets response was then a muddle. They fell to 4-2 with both openers removed cheaply and then a miserable 39-7 including the obligatory needless run out that always punctuates such collapses. The 1stXI’s season has been built on strength in depth though and this was again on show as the skipper and James Banner slowly repaired the damage. Both ate up over ninety deliveries to repel Maritime, Reynolds’ 68* (5x4, 4x6, 94b) mixing defence with attack and Banner with a more watchful 23* (1x4, 0x6, 98b) to comfortably take the sting out of a game that meandered to a rare draw and celebrations long into the night.

Appleton v 2ndXI

The 2ndXI suffered a maddening abandonment against bottom-of-the-table Appleton, one of only two games which didn’t take place across the entire Cheshire integrated league structure. Thankfully, title-challengers Wilmslow fell to defeat meaning that a win by any margin on the final day at home to Trafford MV will still bring home the silverware for Alex Dyson’s men.

3rdXI v Warrington

There’s also an exciting finish in store for the 3rdXI whose crushing maximum-point win over Warrington at Jackson’s Edge means that they need just a two-point swing on the final day to edge out Urmston for runners-up and promotion to Division B. With some captaincy experiments over the final weeks of the season it was time for Baj-ball as Kris Bajaj led the side and saw an unburdened Andy Welsby strike a fine 67 (10x4, 0x6, 75b). Father and son duo John (51) and Sam Westerby (27) then added a pleasing fifty stand for the fourth wicket to help post 207-9.

With runs on the board, visiting Warrington then fell to a masterclass of wrist spin from Ben Holbrook who delved deep into his bag of tricks to claim a brilliant 6-25. This included a hat-trick as a classical leg-spinner bowled Sellers, a googly next up accounted for Cooke, before a raft of field changes saw Lyell Tweed catch Lloyd to leave Warrington 25-6 – There have now been hat-tricks this summer for all four senior Jets sides. The visitors recovered somewhat to add an additional forty runs before the close but attention will now turn to repeating the trick next week at Glazebury and hoping that’s enough to mean a triple-promotion celebration to end the season.

Didsbury v 4thXI

The fours ended their season in the battle of the hangovers as two clubs met on the back of their Saturday celebrations. Didsbury had claimed the Premier League title the day before and their 4thXI rounded out their own title-winning season by defeating the Jets here, the only team to beat them in league action all season. The fours bowled well to dismiss the hosts for 142, the first wicket the pick of the bunch as a sharp edge into the cordon was parried and then taken by Matt Mullany.

The reply never got going though and means that despite an unbeaten start to the season the fours finish in a logjam of teams tied for a distant second in the table. They lost four wickets for five runs in the middle of the innings to spark memories of their Twenty20 finals day batting on the same ground. 22* not out from Sam Turnbull did save some face though and helped the score into three figures. The second half of the season has been a challenge but to finish at the right end of the table and reach a marquee cup competition’s finals day has been a great result for a developmental side

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