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Cup Semi-Final Awaits 2ndXI

Cup Semi-Final Awaits 2ndXI
30 Jun 2021

Quarter-Final week in the Twenty20 cup competitions saw the 2ndXI progress to the Semi-Final stage, upsetting Division A opposition in the process. Sadly, the 1stXI couldn’t replicate this success and saw their knockout season end at the DASC.

1stXI v Port Sunlight

It was another Sunday Twenty20 encounter as the 1stXI completed their seventh fixture of a bumper month of cricket. A logistically impossible midweek tie meant Port Sunlight travelled to the Jackson’s Edge outground for a Plate Quarter Final fixture worthy of the main competition with both sides going well in Division 1.

The Jets gave as good as they got in the opening exchanges, cup specialist Matt Wragg (2-21) again coming up with the goods. This set up the key battle with antipodean skipper Simon Melberzs striding to the crease on the back of a 36-ball 92* the previous day. The Jets youth looked to have done the business when Will Westerby forced a false shot that Sam Waller flung himself full length in the deep to catch. However, the ball dislodged on impact with the ground and a 94-run stand between Melberzs (67*) and Howard (43) ensued, powering a daunting total of 171-6. 

Only a perfect performance with the bat would result in a successful chase but the visitors limited the Jets to short cameos with the pressure of runs on the board. Jake Reynolds, Will Ritchie and Sam Waller all fell looking to be positive in the powerplay and with that the Jets chances were all but gone. Andrew Clarke stuck it out for a run-a-ball 29, and there were pleasing knocks from Rob Berkeley (30*) and teenagers Chester Bowden (19) and Will Westerby (19), but there was no sign of the power hitting required to wrestle the game back. 

Port Sunlight closed the game out as comfortable winners with the Jets 130-6, the visitors looking a well-drilled unit in the shorter form of the game and strong favourites to claim the Twenty20 Plate. The 1stXI can reflect on a mixed campaign where there is still work to be done on the skills that will bring more consistent performances.

Alvanley v 2ndXI

Whilst the 1stXI had the advantage of two rearranged knockout fixtures to account for the challenges of county-wide travel for midweek cup draws there was no such fortune for the 2ndXI. They were sentenced to trek to the outskirts of Chester on a Tuesday evening with the added bonus of selection issues for both sides if any players wished to take in the England Germany game.

Those that did prioritise the cricket faced the toughest possible task having been drawn against the unbeaten leaders of Division A, Alvanley. The hosts elected to take first use at their impeccable facility but the Jets found wickets in the powerplay as Tim Benson (3-25) curtailed the scoring with three top order scalps, including two in two balls with edges through to Matt Mullany. It set a tone for others to follow as the change bowlers really put the squeeze on.

Matt Wragg (2-13), Jimmy Williams (2-16) and Reuben Cutts (0-18) all kept their economy well under a run a ball, Jimmy adding a direct hit run out for good measure. It prevented any Alvanley fightback despite Bergstrand striking his first ball for six on his way to an innings-high 28*. Sam Turnbull (2-35) returned to pick off the tail as the hosts were all out for 109, a superb effort in the field.

There was no repeat of the batting fireworks of the previous round but Saul Gould (39) and Alex Dyson (20) set a perfect platform after the early loss of Harrison Waddington. The middle order kept up the momentum as the hosts frantically threw the ball to seven bowlers in search of a way back into the fixture that never materialised. The Jets eventually secured a five-wicket win with plenty to spare, setting up another away tie against the winner of next week’s Oxton and Ashley fixture.

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