Audlem recorded back to back victories over the weekend starting with a nail biting encounter with Audley played at The Valley View Ground at Hales and on Sunday against old rivals from Fenns Bank at The Gorse Croft.
Saturday's NSSC league fixture was played at Hales CC . A ground in a delightful setting with extensive views over the Shropshire countryside but on closer inspection the batsmen in the squad were a little less enthusiastic about the venue. On losing the toss Audlem were asked to bat on a suspicious looking wicket with the outfield suffering due to the gang mowers being out of action.
The visitor's fears were soon realised as they slipped to 11 for 4 and in deep trouble. A rescue operation was launched with allrounders Dave Parlinson (32) and Callum McIlveen (30) digging in and compiling an invaluable 60 run partnership. Another valuable contribution came from the bat of big hitting Mike Barlow with 22 including two huge maximums and adding another priceless 37 runs with Dave Parkinson. Audlem were eventually all out in the 37th over for 118 and were reasonably satisfied with their recovery efforts after the nightmare start.
Although the conditions for batting were extremely difficult great credit must go to the Audley bowlers ( mainly youngsters ) who bowled with great control and accuracy to restrict any scoring opportunity throughout the innings.
Audley's reply was build round a fine partnership between Finlay Beswick (52 ) & Thomas Boundy ( 38 not out ) who took the score up to 103 for 2 at the end of the 35th over. With only 16 runs required off 30 deliveries with 8 wickets in hand the game was almost up for the visitors but the reintroduction of opening bowler Callum McIlveen into the attack had the desired affect of removing Beswick with his fifth ball of his last over. Doubts began to creep into the host batsmen's minds as the runs suddenly became harder to attain . Number 5 bat Ben Forster was run out with a direct throw from Mike Barlow and suddenly the required run rate crept up. The incoming batsman was one of the more senior ( rotund )members of the team who presumably had been sent out to try and finish the game with a few lusty blows but contributed with a lot of playing and missing leaving young Thomas frustrated at the other end unable to take the quick singles that got his team into an almost unassailable position just a few minutes before. With still 9 required off the final over and opening bowler Simon Swift back on it was still in the balance but Simon held his nerve to bowl fast and straight to restrict the batsmen to just 4 ( 2 wickets in the over as well ) and claim a remarkable victory by the slim margin of 3 runs.
Sunday's game was a very different affair with a good looking batting surface on offer and a quick outfield . This proved the case with Audlem's strong batting line up taking advantage of the conditions racking up 278 for 3 off their 40 overs with the main contributors Dan Butler 53 retired not out ) Chris Shenton(41) Matt Kenvyn (52 retired not out) Usman Ghani (51 retired not out) Michael Burton (22) and Dave Parkinson (35 not out ).
Last season Fenns Bank managed to knock off a similar total with overs to spare but with the fall of a few early wickets Audlem were always in the driving seat with a stand out performance from young George Walker who finished with fine figures of 7.5 overs 5 for 16. Fenns Bank put up a good performance to finish on 162 all out in the 36th over.
Next Saturday's opponents are Onneley who make the short journey to The Gorse Croft ( 1:00 pm start ) No game for the Sunday X1
John Wainwright ( Audlem Cricket Club )