A glut of runs set up the first 75pt Saturday of the season as in excess of 700 runs rained down from the bats of the Jets across the grades with two centuries and four fifties amongst them. Not to be denied, there were also some fine statistical analyses from the bowlers including two five wicket hauls and a couple of interesting hat-trick balls, more on them later. The 4thXI completed the set of wins on Sunday as they emerged as victors in a much tighter affair at Lindow.
Weaverham v 1stXI
The 1stXI made it consecutive league wins on a tacky surface at Weaverham that suggested North East would have to ride out a tough first hour having taken the positive step of batting first. So it proved as both openers fell caught and bowled almost immediately and from 32-4 a rescue act was required.
A stand of 123 between Jake Reynolds (92) and Jimmy Williams (33) was exactly what the doctor ordered as batting slowly became easier and the skipper contributed a real captain’s knock. He fell just eight runs short of a deserved century to a good catch in the deep looking to add to a boundary count that saw him hit nine 4s and a pair of elegant straight 6s.
That platform allowed for some fun in the latter stages as the Twenty20 Cup batting made a welcome Saturday appearance, Danny Williams (30) unloading his full repertoire of strokes including an outrageous switch hit 4 and an imposing team tally of 208-8.
Williams (2-8) then swapped bat for ball but it was opening partner Toby Carson (7-29) who ran rampant against the Russets in conditions tailor made for his nagging swing. The hosts found navigating the new ball as tough as the Jets had earlier and there was no let up as Weaverham slumped to 17-6.
That included two in two balls for Toby Carson to end his seventh over but the wait for the hat-trick relaxed the batsman’s mind enough for James Bell to deposit Carson’s next ball into a neighbouring garden. That offered some brief respite for the hosts but once the ball was returned the game was soon up, the 1stXI finally taking ten wickets in an innings as Weaverham were dismissed for 46.
2ndXI v Europa Exiles
At London Road the 2ndXI matched the 1stXI to top 200 in a solid batting display against visiting Europa Exiles. Youngster Saul Gould (53) compiled a composed half-century from the top of the innings to set the tone but the day belonged to James Banner (100*) who reached his maiden century from the final ball of the innings.
Some hard running brought up the milestone as Banner tucked his 91st delivery faced into the leg side and scurried back with a sprawling dive meaning he has still yet to be dismissed in 2019. With 205-4 on the board stand-in skipper Andy Heath (1-5) led a trio of early wickets for the pacemen before the spinners got to work.
Both Adam Burgess and Pete Heath returned 3-9, the latter requiring just fourteen deliveries to mop up the tail to go with his three slip catches. This maintained the 2ndXI’s 100% record ahead of a trip to an inform Bunbury side next week.
3rdXI v Over Peover
Those with rudimentary maths skills will have already worked out that, whilst the 1s and 2s enjoyed a good day with the bat, it was the 3rdXI who really had a red letter day with the willow. They reached tea at a scarcely believable 306-5, four of those wickets falling at the end of the innings.
A relentless pace was set by Matt Wragg who plundered a rapid 70 (11x4, 1x6, 44b) before retiring hurt. It made Tom Andrew’s eventual century look sedate in comparison as the student helped himself to 107 at just slower than a run a ball, meanwhile young Sam Potter picked up the mantle from Wragg with a quickfire 77 - his third half-century of a breakout campaign.
The Jets faced some resistance after tea in the form of Slack who added to his 3-32 with a patient 17 in a creditable display, but he was unable to prevent Jack Harland (5-16) knocking over the rest of the top order. Harland was only denied a hat-trick by a dropped catch from stand-in keeper Sam Potter, whilst, for the second week running, Owen Johnson bowled a one-ball spell to finish the game.
That means his next delivery will be a hat-trick ball which will have spanned three separate fixtures and, as captain, he has the option of choosing his preferred potential victim!
Lindow v 4thXI
A full house was completed on Sunday when the 4thXI went top of Sunday East Division 2 with a tight win over a competitive Lindow side. After none of the top order could capitalise on starts the tail wagged via Andys Heath and Welsby to total 153-9 between the showers.
The second innings followed a similar pattern and was heading for a tight finish which was swung North East’s way by junior Sam Turnbull. Bowling under pressure with the game on the line he took 3-20 to knock over the lower order and deliver a 10-run win.
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1stXI v Ashton-on-Mersey
1stXI v Haslington