A balmy Tuesday evening presented perfect cricket conditions as both the 2nd and 3rdXI took to the field in Round 2 of the Twenty20 Knockout Cup. With the draw already predetermined, the prize on offer should both sides progress was the mouthwatering prospect of an all-Jets tie in Round 3. That would be no simple task though as both sides were drawn against opposition from higher divisions.
After a bye in the opening round, the Jets second string welcomed neighbours Macclesfield to London Road in their first taste of T20 action this summer. Electing to bat first on a flat deck that saw plenty of runs for the 1st and 4thXI over the weekend, the innings was again led by opener Saul Gould as he followed on where he left off on Saturday and again carried his bat. His unbeaten 53* (6x4, 0x6, 55b) took the 2ndXI to a score in advance of a run a ball, ending 129-5 with no maximums but plenty of intelligent running to boost the score.
The Macc reply then got off to the worst possible start as wickets fell in the first two overs. Matt Mullany pouched an edge from a rising Tim Benson (2-28) delivery before adding the champagne moment of the night, throwing down the stumps for a direct-hit run-out. A brief riposte from Haminder Mathiru threatened to keep the visitors in the game but a well-judged catch from Saul Gould ended his innings at 25 and a miserly spell from Jimmy Williams (1-3) meant Macc were kept in check, finishing 111-8.
As with their Round 1 tie, the 3rdXI took things down to the wire at Bredbury St Marks. With three required from the last delivery of the night the home side struck a winning boundary to leave Andy Welsby’s men despondent after a fine showing against higher-ranked opposition. Vice-captain Alex Oswell found form as the a second Jet of the evening to carry his bat, plundering 76* (10x4, 2x6, 56b) to dominate the 3rdXI’s 134-3 on a benign batting surface. Fellow opener Lyell Tweed chipped in with 34 in an opening stand of 91 to help give something to bowl at as the evening shadows lengthened.
In reply the Jets found it equally tough to extract any help from the pitch. The result was that wickets never fell with enough regularity to control the innings and the home side were always in the game despite the best efforts of a six-man attack. A nervy final over, and ultimately final ball, saw the home side triumph in a great game of cricket that neither team deserved to lose. As a result the 3rdXI bow out but can take heart from putting in two excellent performances in the shorter format.
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