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Scragg Fires 3rdXI to Opening Day Victory

Scragg Fires 3rdXI to Opening Day Victory
19 Apr 2021

The Jets senior sides got underway for 2021 with a full set of fixtures over the weekend, mercifully with no sign of the snow (!) that caused the abandonment of the pre-season friendlies. With no match practice, and only a short handful of weeks to prepare after the easing of lockdown restrictions, it was a mixed bag of results and performances but plenty of promise for the season ahead. 

Cheadle Hulme v 1stXI

The first string started with a tough assignment at Grove Park against well-fancied Cheadle Hulme and fared well, narrowly coming up short in a well-contested fixture. James Banner (2-16) accounted for both openers after the hosts elected to bat, but the home side accumulated steadily to keep wickets in hand. This allowed overseas Nauman Akram to dominate the latter stages of the innings, carving four maximums in his rapid 62* to accelerate Cheadle Hulme to 185-5.

The Jets reply got off to an inauspicious start as Balderson’s left arm spin with the new ball proved an astute piece of captaincy. From 32-3 there were encouraging signs though as two counter-punching fifty stands for the fourth and seventh wickets respectively kept the Jets well within the contest. Will Ritchie struck eight boundaries in his breezy 42 but the real surprise was further down the order.

An injury in the field saw usual tailender Jamie Henderson promoted in the order and he responded with real vigour and an unlikely maiden 1stXI fifty. It wasn’t without some fortune, twice dropped offering fierce return catches, but Henderson took a liking to the home attack with a swashbuckling 59 (5x4, 2x6, 46b). Sadly the potential fairytale finish eluded the Jets and Henderson as he was last man out with the score at 170, Balderson (5-38) completing a match-winning 5-for.

2ndXI v Trafford MV

After the removal of promotion and relegation from the reduced 2020 season, the unbeaten champion 2ndXI found themselves still in Division C East for the new campaign and commenced with a humbling home loss. Visiting Trafford MV became just the second side to defeat the Jets second string since formation, almost completely due to the change bowling of Jorge Williams (7-12) who decimated a batting lineup whose openers Saul Gould (25) and Matt Wragg (22) had worked the side into a strong position with an opening stand of 49.

A miserable effort from the remaining batters yielded a total of just 90 all out inside 30 overs, allowing the visitors to slowly eke out the required runs in their reply. An early burst of wickets gave some hope of a lucky escape but the bowlers couldn’t save the batsmen’s blushes in an eventual four wicket loss.

3rdXI v Macclesfield

Sam Scragg continued where he left off in 2020 to help deliver a winning start for new 3rdXI captain Andy Welsby. After finishing last season with a career-best 97, Scragg opened the new campaign with a well-compiled 68* (7x4, 0x6, 103b) that suggests higher honours await the young batsman. He dominated an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 78 with Chris Espley (27*) to overhaul Macclefield’s first-innings 129-9 on Jackson's Edge.

Early-season bowling honours went to Chris Taylor (5-42) with the first Jets Michelle of the year, his luckless new-ball partner Nathan Warner (0-15) going wicketless despite a miserly 10 overs. Adam Burgess also wheeled away for an economical 1-18, delivering the key wicket of opener Yash Jain (31), whilst backup seamers Luke Johnson (2-14) and Chris Espley (1-14) shared the remaining wickets to fall in a good start to the season.

4thXI v Bramhall

The first outing of the new Twenty20 kit arrived on Sunday with the 4thXI commencing the prelude to their Sunday league campaign, the first of a trio of games in the shorter format. Bramhall were the visitors to London Road for a low-scoring thriller eventually settled from the penultimate delivery after the Jets scrambled to 109-6 after being invited to bat. 

Debutant Elliot Ashton-Bryant provided the champagne moment by depositing the first ball he faced for North East over the boundary rope, but a lone hand played by Bramhall opener Stewart Jackson (51*) won the day. He raised an unbeaten half-century by hitting the winning runs despite a fine bowling effort led by Scott Parkinson (1-5).

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