The 1stXI kept up their 100% record in the UKFast Twenty20 Cup by winning a key encounter with match day one’s other victors, Wilmslow. They now sit top of Group 6 heading into a fixture with Prestbury in two weeks time knowing all but a heavy defeat will see them progress as group winners.
After morning rain the visitors elected to bowl first and endured a nightmare start as, from the second ball of the game, skipper Adam Dixon shelled a catch at mid-off and in the process suffered a hand injury which left Wilmslow to continue with ten men. North East took advantage by manipulating the ball into the inevitable gaps in addition to the odd boundary to keep the score ticking.
Openers Chris Williams and Tom Andrew adjusted their game to the conditions with a pair of patient twenties which kept wickets in hand and allowed for the boundary count to be raised in the closing stages. Sam Waller (50) and Jake Reynolds (33*) both cleared the rope twice, the former heading to a second successive half-century in the competition before losing his middle stump attempting another maximum.
Danny Williams helped out by hitting his first three deliveries to the fence, including two delicate ramps to fine leg, and in a flash the Jets had accelerated to 172-4 at the close. Only Charlie Dahlenburg failed to reach double figures, unfortunately falling victim to a stunning one-handed catch taking inspiration from Ben Stokes’ effort for England earlier in the day.
The expected onslaught from Wilmslow then never materialised as a wicket from Andy Heath’s first delivery set the tone for a strangle in the field that saw the chase never get started. Jamie Henderson added two top order wickets to allow Jimmy Williams to completely nullify the middle order with a string of dot balls, bowling his allocation through to return 3-9.
The Squirrels eventually ground their way to 89-8 with all five bowlers claiming at least one scalp, a second professional performance in the reduced overs format which the Jets will look to take into their Saturday cricket as the squad becomes more familiar with each other.
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