The 1stXI bowlers enjoyed themselves over the weekend, taking 20 wickets for just 103 runs as they consolidated first place in Division 3 and progressed to the Quarter-Final of the Cheshire Shield. Will Westerby delivered a hat-trick in the latter, whilst there was a first jug of the season for Australian overseas Manning Berry.
The 1stXI survived a horror opening hour to eventually claim victory over Runcorn by a healthy 73 runs. The Jets certainly don’t like to make things easy for themselves and they were again staring down the barrel at 17-4 after electing to take first use. It was damning that it took the two most inexperienced batters, Sam Scragg and Chester Bowden, to begin to repair the damage but the momentum of the game only truly shifted when Will Ritchie finally entered the fray having been dropped down the order to protect his wicket.
A counter-attacking 43 from just 25 deliveries ensued, dominating a stand of 61 with Scragg that swelled the score to what had looked an unlikely three figures. Ritchie fell looking to continue to force the issue and Scragg was last man out for a quality 39 (6x4, 0x6, 75b) but 137 would still take some defending, especially for a bowling attack missing three key members. It meant Toby Carson and Manning Berry would have to deliver the goods, and so they did - with some additional help from that man Ritchie.
After a couple of early scalps, the key wicket arrived when Rob Magee (17) edged Carson (4-39) into the cordon where Will Ritchie plucked out a spectacular diving catch to make the score 24-3. All the momentum was now with the home side as Manning Berry produced a fiery spell to deliver his first five-wicket haul on UK soil, bouncing out the visiting captain on his way to 5-24. Runcorn were eventually sent packing for 64, the opening pair sharing nine wickets before Sam Turnbull took just three deliveries to clean up the last man.
The 2ndXI’s promotion and title hopes are now out of their hands as they were blanked away to fellow contenders Wilmslow to fall into third in a three horse race for Division B East. Despite this being just a second loss of the season the challenge is to now go unbeaten the rest of the way as Wilmslow hammered 220-9 on their postage stamp ground. A wicket from the day’s first ball for Matt Wragg boded well but non-striker Murugan hammered a belligerent 61 from just 40 balls from the top of the order to set a tone from which there was no let up.
An unlikely run chase soon became impossible as Reuben Cutts and Owen Johnson failed to trouble the scorers. Only Rory Caine (29), Luke Johnson (22) and Jimmy Williams (19) showed any stickability but nothing to mean taking even a single point from an eventual 98-run loss. The side will be hoping for stronger availability down the stretch, particularly over the next month with some key clashes against some of the stronger sides in the division and a key clash with leaders Timperley.
The longest trip of the season for the 3rdXI sent them to the top pitch at Warrington. Availability issues meant a team with several debutants skippered by vice-captain Adam Burgess made the trip, his 4-23 helping to contain the home side. Wickets for Hawley and Cole in their first appearances were boosted by 2-23 from Kris Bajaj in an excellent first-innings to keep Warrington to under 4-an-over with a final tally of 150-8.
Sadly a successful run chase proved beyond such an inexperienced team but 4pts were claimed from the second innings as the Jets made a go of the chase. Whilst Sam Westerby (28) and John Johnson (26) were together there was hope, but the threes struggled to keep up with the required rate once they failed to convert their starts into match-defining scores.
On Sunday the 1stXI welcomed Wirral to London Road in the Cheshire Shield. Hopes were high of an opportunity for a rearranged batting order to spend some time in the middle against lower league opposition, but sadly the coin fell in favour of the opposition. The sides had clashed last year in the Twenty20 Cup where Wirral gave a good account of themselves despite losing out, but they couldn’t repeat that here and were quickly sent packing for just 39 to complete a good weekend for the Jets’ bowlers.
A hat-trick for Will Westerby (3-0) with the first three deliveries after the first scheduled drinks break brought things to a quick conclusion after Sam Turnbull (3-9) continued his positive introduction to the 1stXI with three wickets and a direct-hit run-out. Only visiting skipper David Lewis spent any meaningful time at the crease with a determined 17 from 46 deliveries, but when he skied Westerby’s first delivery it triggered a quick end to proceedings and little opportunity for some much-needed batting practice for the ones.
The challenge instead was to secure a 10-wicket win and that was achieved with little worry to complete a professional display. Westerby swapped leather for willow to carry his bat for 20*, ably assisted by Sam Scragg (17*) who completed a good weekend for him and another player taking well to a recent introduction to the first team. Just 33 deliveries were required to reach 40-0, the pair sharing six boundaries to secure a Quarter-Final place in a competition very much taking a back seat to the league campaign
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