Audlem hosted local rivals Aston on a hot and humid day at Gorse Croft.
Audlem made two enforced changes to the side that beat Cholmondeley away the week before, with Harding and Toraman replacing Matthews and the Croatian-bound Mcilveen.
It was Aston that called correctly at the toss and had no hesitation in electing to bat on what looked like an excellent batting strip. Openers Patil and Draper were tasked with seeing off a new ball partnership of young Ewan Farnell and Mohammed Naveed. Despite the excellent batting strip the overhead cloud coverage was aiding Naveed and he was beginning to get plenty of movement in the air. It was Naveed who got the first breakthrough trapping Patil in front with a low full toss. This brought fresh-faced Ben Wright to the crease.
Despite surviving a huge LBW shout from Naveed first ball, the talented left-hander helped move his side onto 58 with some classy deflections square of the wicket. Draper at the other end was now getting used to Audlem speedster Farnell and hit the opening bowler for 3 successive boundaries. At the 11th over mark Swift was introduced to the attack. After his first ball was clattered through midwicket for 4 he began to hit a consistent line and length and started to get the ball to jag back to the right hander. He was rewarded with the wicket of the dangerous Draper who could only chip a slightly too short to drive delivery to Butler at mid-off.
David Draper was replaced in the middle by brother Rob who again looked good hitting an early boundary to settle any nerves. Swift again with the next breakthrough seeing a ball nip back and trap Draper LBW. 4 balls later Aston found themselves 4 down when Chris Beesley was adjudged LBW to Swift's delight. Number 6 Sridhar came in and went hard at the ball edging his first ball for 4 and hitting his 2nd just short of long off for 2. He fell in the next over to Naveed thanks to an excellent running catch at point from Ikram Azam. Azam then replaced Naveed with the ball and bowled with a tidy line and length and made scoring difficult for the Aston Batsman.
Swift quickly had number 7 batsman Ninan caught and bowled for a duck and Aston were struggling on 73-6 at tea. Wright slowly started to move through the gears playing a series of late cuts and classical cover drives to move his side into the 90s before Azam had Rane caught at third man by Hine. Swift trapped number 9, Jayesh lbw with another one that moved back in off the seam without scoring. Aston were on 93-8 when Leese came to the crease. Wright and Leese hit a crucial 49 run partnership before the pacey Farnell replaced Azam and had Leese caught and bowled for 21.
Number 11 khandekar also enjoyed a few lusty blows before falling to the off spinning Rothwell for 15. Aston had dragged themselves to 162 all out. A special mention must go to school-aged Ben Wright who carried his bat for 40 overs to finish 66*. An outstanding effort. The youngster showed real courage with wickets falling around him. He certainly has a massive future in cricket.
Despite feeling disappointed that a potentially 100 run chase had become in excess of 160, Audlem knew that there were very few demons in the strip and if they applied themselves they were confident of securing a 4th win of the season. Butler and Naveed opened up and batted well seeing off the new ball pairing of Leese and Sridal. Butler played some classy drives, whilst the power and timing from Naveed brought the 50 partnership up inside the first 8 overs. The pair moved onto 66 before Butler chased a wide one from Rane which was easily caught by the Aston wicket keeper Draper. Toraman joined the cramp-stricken Naveed at the crease and despite getting off the mark with a streaky edge through the slips for 4 began to build what proved to be a match winning partnership. Both batsman went hard at the ball hitting plenty of boundaries between them.
Naveed passed his 50 with a huge 6 over the sight screen. Kemal was being to enjoy himself too, matching Naveed's big hitting. The pair put on 58 before Naveed was adjudged LBW for a quickfire and match-winning 72. When he departed the score was 124-2, Audlem required just 41 to win. A piece of cake.
But, this is Audlem and nothing is easy. 4 balls later and it was 124-4. Rothwell was trapped lbw by Rane first ball and the set Toraman was stumped off the bowling of Patil for 15. This brought Hashmi and R. Farnell to the crease. Despite some worrying moments from the pair, Hashmi attempting to run himself and/or partner out at every opportunity and Farnell deciding that this was the time to take the reverse sweep out of the locker, Audlem reached their target with a trademark Hashmi late cut and Audlem had knocked off the 163 required for victory with 6 wickets to spare after just 26.1 overs.
Audlem travel to Holmes Chapel for a 1pm start next week hoping to continue with their good start to the season.
You can see the full scorecardhere.
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