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1stXI Victorious in Final-Ball Thriller

1stXI Victorious in Final-Ball Thriller
3 May 2021

Week three of the season saw a clean sweep of wins for the Saturday sides, a final-ball victory for the 1stXI in their rain-reduced fixture the undoubted highlight. Individual honours fell to the 2ndXI with the day’s only fifty and five-for whilst the 3rdXI continue their positive start under new skipper Andy Welsby.

Kingsley v 1stXI

Two well-matched sides met at Kingsley’s picturesque Croft ground where the only shame was that a prolonged shower eventually reduced the encounter to 29 overs per side. This represented an awkward no man's land between the longer and shorter formats with no obvious tactical approach, but both teams adapted well to play their part in a pulsating encounter.

Crucially, the home side failed to bat their allocation as the Jets fought back late in the first dig to take the final five wickets in the space of eighteen deliveries. It limited the damage caused upon resumption by messrs Begg, Creek and Lynch as the 1stXI toiled with the wet ball. Begg survived an early chance to top-score with 49 before falling to Andy Heath (3-5) as part of the collapse that left the Crofters defending 138.

Openers Jake Reynolds (43) and Andrew Clarke (39) toughed out a second consecutive half-century stand to set up the chase but a tight finish looked in store. With the required rate rising and the home bowling backed by some impeccable fielding, wickets inevitably arrived to increasingly desperate strokes. The inform Will Ritchie (27*) held his nerve though, finding the right shots at the right time as his third giant six landed what looked to be the knockout blow.

Typical of the fixture though, the home side dug in again and, with the scores level, Rob Berkeley could only fence a snorting delivery behind to take us down to the final ball. The field converged on new batsman Jamie Henderson but he successfully skewed the winning run through backward point for a pleasing win.

2ndXI v Bredbury St Marks

The Jets second string continued their recovery from a shock loss in week 1 with a comfortable win over Bredbury at London Road. James Banner showed great powers of concentration to anchor the 2ndXI innings with a patient 67 (11x4, 0x6, 105b) on a tricky batting surface. He was eventually seventh man out as North East were dismissed from the final ball of their allotted allocation for 153.

The 2ndXI then quickly got to work with Finn Pearce (3-19) delivering a trio of scalps with the new ball. It allowed veteran Jimmy Willams to spin a web against the middle order with 10 suffocating overs of left-arm wrist spin delivering 5--12. Skipper Alex Dyson pouched a trio of slip catches as the visitors were dismissed for 91, youngster Sam Turnbull continuing his positive start to 2021 with 2-15. 

3rdXI v Bowdon Vale

The 3rdXI made it a full house of wins for the Saturday sides as they downed Bowdon Vale in a similar encounter to their 2ndXI counterparts. Rather than runs from the top of the order it was a wagging tail that carried the Jets to 162-9, Luke Johnson (34) and Theo Penn (32) top-scoring from down the order before swapping bat for ball.

Both completed fine all-round displays after tea, sharing six wickets to dominate a six-man attack who all found success in a pleasing team display. The Jets found reward in their disciplined lines as six Vale batsmen fell bowled and opener Chris Taylor won an LBW shout. Luke Johnson (2-7) capped a fine personal day by taking the final wicket with the score at just 96 to share man-of-the-match honours with partner in crime Penn (4-11).

Didsbury v 4thXI

Sunday saw the 4thXI round out their Twenty20 fixtures at Didsbury where a win would leave them with an outside chance of qualifying for the knockout stage on net run rate. They positioned themselves well when their early efforts with the ball reduced the hosts to 83-5 but that was as good as it got for the Jets. Meena (50*) and Nicholson (38*) combined to add an unbeaten stand of 65 in the latter stages, swelling the score to an imposing 148-5.

The reply took on similar shape as the 4thXI lost half of their wickets with 86 on the board. A fine partnership ensued between juniors Matt Mullaney (29*) and Ed Parkinson (15*) but, lacking the firepower to clear the ropes in the latter stages, the Jets fell just short at 131-5. It meant second place in a very even group stage ahead of the commencement of the league campaign next weekend.

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