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1stXI Up To Third in Division 1

1stXI Up To Third in Division 1
3 Aug 2021

Another set of strong performances saw the senior sides end the weekend in third, fourth, sixth and fourth respectively as the season reaches the final stages with plenty still to play for. The 2nd and 3rdXI were both so dominant that they enjoyed winning margins in excess of 100 runs.

1stXI v Runcorn

A tenth league win of the campaign sent the 1stXI to the heady heights of third in Division 1 as they overcame a tough Runcorn side at London Road. Four weeks ago the ones faced a run of fixtures knowing they would have to be perfect to keep their season alive and 100pts later there is still an outside chance of a top-two finish. They’ve done so despite having to chop and change personnel and it was no different here with the side feeling the absence of James Banner, Toby Carson and Rob Berkeley.

Runcorn took the positive step of batting first and, despite losing a wicket second ball, had positioned themselves well by the drinks break. Skipper Will Magee had made a fine 36 but when he fell to Will Westerby (2-32) immediately upon resumption the Jets enjoyed their best spell and turned the screw. The visitors are a strong unit though and DJ McNamara guided the tail expertly with an aggressive 42 before finally falling with his side one short of maximum batting points on 159.

Runcorn’s momentum only increased when Saul Gould helped a short delivery straight to long leg to start the reply but Jake Reynolds (28) and John Westerby settled in. It allowed the Jets to reach the key stage against the visitors' spin options, looking to be aggressive where possible. Wickets came along with that positivity but Westerby held firm until being cruelly run out for a quality 52 (4x4, 1x6, 76b). It was a potential turning point but Chris Williams (22*) ensured it was just a footnote by slamming three boundaries and a match-winning maximum for a three-wicket margin of victory.

Mellor v 2ndXI

A routine win for the 2ndXI was overshadowed by results elsewhere which further damaged their promotion hopes. Alex Dyson’s men did their job by handling their own business, victorious by 127 runs in a one-sided encounter. The top order enjoyed themselves, led by Harrison Waddington’s 75 (9x4, 2x6, 59b) as messrs Mullany (40), Wragg (28) and Scragg (22) all chipped in. Four wickets for promising young leg-spinner Hodgson (4-38) helped stem the tide for Mellor but the basement dwellers were unlikely to seriously challenge the Jets’ 212-8.

In reply there was a rare sight in 2ndXI cricket as Joe Rooney (2-32) sent a stump cartwheeling out of the ground to assert dominance. From there it was the Jimmy Williams show as he was again in unplayable form, returning 6-15 from 8.3 overs to decimate the middle order. The Jets were rewarded for their accuracy with one Mellor batsmen LBW and seven bowled, the last of these ending the contest as Williams produced a beauty to take out the off stump of Bielecki with the score on just 85.

Over Peover v 3rdXI

For the first time in 2021, the 3rdXI registered back-to-back wins by thrashing an Over Peover side who had got one over the Jets in a low-scoring reverse fixture earlier in the campaign. There were no such troubles here as North East hammered 223-7 with Rory Caine (65) and Alex Dickman (64) compiling a century stand for the second wicket. Adam Burgess then added 46 and Dan Mullany a quickfire 22 that included four consecutive boundaries. It was a ruthless display that showed the 3rdXIs potential despite an inconsistent campaign.

After tea the bowlers were equally dominant as the beleaguered hosts were soon in all sorts of trouble at a catastrophic 7-5. Andy Hadfield’s (4-18) left arm spin proved beguiling with the new ball and there was a welcome return to form for Chris Taylor with 2-7. Max Collins followed up last week’s hat-trick with a miserly 1-4 and Dan Mullany (3-10) completed a fine allround performance to blast out the lower order for a victory margin of a mere 181 runs.

Didsbury v 4thXI

Another clean sweep for the Jets senior sides was denied by Didsbury in a quality game on Sunday that was nip and tuck all the way to the death. The home side batted solidly but the Jets held them in check until late hitting from Nicholson and Ball swelled the score to 184-8. Sam Turnbull again impressed with 3-44 and U15s allrounder Willis Brown’f left-arm mediums chipped in with 2-32.

After a solid start to the reply the Jets looked dead and buried when a devastating spell of swing bowling from change bowler William Ball delivered a five-for that included three wickets in the space of four balls. Nick Knight’s stickability was matched with scoring impetus from Dan Mullany (34) to again redress the balance though and help take the game into the final stages. When Willis Brown then pummeled two sixes in quick succession the chase was back on but the home side held their nerve to sneak home in an excellent game of cricket.

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