Quarter-Finals Await 1st and 2ndXI

Quarter-Finals Await 1st and 2ndXI
21 Jun 2021

Knockout ties for both the 1st and 2ndXI over the past week saw them deliver big wins to progress to the Quarter-Final stage of their respective Twenty20 competitions. 

Wirral v 1stXI

The logistical challenge of a midweek trip to the Wirral was thankfully avoided when the home side generously offered to move the first knockout fixture of the Twenty20 Plate to Sunday afternoon. It provided a wounded 1stXI the perfect opportunity to bounce back from their Saturday showing but a home side going well in Division 3 presented a potential banana skin in the shorter format if minds weren’t focused.

Jake Reynolds had no hesitation in inviting his batsmen to make up for Saturday’s debacle and they did just that, posting an imposing 198-3. The skipper led from the front with a rapid 71 (11x4, 1x6, 47b) in an opening stand of 140 that sent the pink ball racing to all corners and took advantage of the small boundaries and quick outfield at the Memorial Ground.

At the other end Andrew Clarke also hit out to good effect, peppering the off side before falling caught at deep cover for 77 (10x4, 3x6, 55b). The latter stages were then an exhibition of range hitting. For Sam Waller it was sadly a brief cameo, but Will Ritchie struck four maximums including three in the final over to be 30* not out from just 14 deliveries as the total swelled to just shy of 200.

In response the home side made a decent first of things but were never up with the required rate. Tight spells from Jamie Henderson and Andy Heath removed any jeopardy but opening batsman Sam O’Connell struck a fine 53 for the hosts. He added 68 for the second wicket with Danny Develing before the latter was run out by a direct hit from Toby Carson.

There were areas for improvement with 17 wides conceded and a late scramble to ensure the overs were bowled within the allotted timeframe. However, three wickets for Will Westerby (3-32) held the hosts in check to set up a Quarter Final tie at home to Port Sunlight which is surely another candidate to be moved to a Sunday given the travel implications.

Bredbury v 2ndXI

A Quarter Final tie with Division A leaders Alvanley awaits the 2ndXI as they comfortably dispatched Bredbury on Tuesday night with a quality all-round display. The home side had knocked the Jets’ third string out in the previous round and Alex Dyson’s men exacted full revenge on their behalf with a 9-wicket win.

Bredbury have recently confirmed their move to a new site and batsmen will be hoping that they can recreate the batting conditions of their current Hillside Road home with its flat decks and rapid outfield. The hosts unsurprisingly elected to set a total and the 2ndXI were delighted to hold the hosts in check at around a run a ball throughout the innings where anything in a gap invariably ran to the boundary.

The Jets were assisted by some fine fielding that yielded four runouts, including a direct hit from the deep cover boundary by Saul Gould. A pair of well-judged catches from Jimmy Williams helped put the squeeze on and ensure that no partnerships formed around opener Stephen Clarke who top-scored with 31 out of a final 128-8, Simon Hare (2-30) the pick of the North East bowling.

The Bredbury total looked well under par and that was quickly proved correct as teenagers Saul Gould and Harrison Waddington utilised the powerplay to full effect. The pair traded boundaries with regularity as the scoreboard quickly ticked into the sixties within five overs. Pace off the ball finally ended their stand as Waddington (41) was bowled by Barlow (1-28) but there was no denying Gould who again carried his bat in the shorter format.

He added 72* to the previous round’s 53*, showcasing his continued development and versatility across the various formats. The 2ndXI now face a real challenge in the form of Alvanley, two divisions above the Jets and currently top of the table and aiming for promotion to the County League.

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