Saturday's game was much closer than the eventual outcome suggests against local rivals Onneley. After Audlem posted a below par 163 for 9 the game hung in the balance for much of the visitor's reply with Onneley putting out a much stronger X1 than in the previous fixture.
It was only the introduction of the spinners that halted their progress with Dave Parkinson again taking centre stage with 4 wickets for 15 runs in only 5.2 overs well supported again by Neil Humphries with 2 wickets for 15 off 6. Abi Jahan had earlier pegged the batsmen back bowling a miserly spell of 6 overs for just 11 runs whilst claiming 2 victims. Onneley were eventually all out in the 31st over for 98 but at one stage in the proceedings were well set to challenge the total.
Man of the match Abi was Audlem's top scorer with a belligerent 44 off just 31 deliveries after he entered the fray with the hosts in a spot of bother at 66 for 5 but when he was dismissed by a sensational caught and bowled by veteran Mohammed Razaq things were again looking precarious at 128 for 7. A fine restrained innings by young Andrew Salmon ( 13 not out off 31 deliveries ) who expertly guided the lower order batsmen to play out the full allocation of overs and ensure the bowlers had a decent total to defend proved to be invaluable in the eventual outcome.
The following day Church Leigh were the visitors to The Gorse Croft. Again Audlem took first knock after winning the toss and got off to the worst possible start losing a wicket with the very first ball of the match but that setback didn't deter Rhamon Bhukari taking on the bowling and smashing the ball to all parts of the ground in his role as a 'pinch hitter'. On his retirement when reaching 50 the innings went into sharp decline with the runs drying up and a steady stream of batsmen making their way back to the pavilion. Steve Ellsmore contributed a valuable 19 but with the score on a decidedly under par 106 for 9 Rhamon again strode to the wicket in the 30th over. The number 11 batsmen played a mainly defensive role and gave Rhamon as much of the strike as possible and he again delivered almost single handed easing the total to 164 all out after perishing on 98 off the final delivery ( caught on the boundary rope ).
Church Leigh put up a good performance with the bat and at one stage of the game were favourites to overhaul the total but Audlem's bowlers gained the upper hand by taking key wickets just as the acceleration process started with young all rounder Jake Topping proving the star man. Jake normally opens the bowling as a pace- man but this week reverted to spin due to a back injury and it paid dividends as he took 3 top order wickets for only 9 runs and put the hosts in control. Dave Parkinson was the other main wicket taker with figures of 3 for 30 off his 8 overs as Church Leigh finished on 135 all out in the 33rd over. G. Falkner and Julian Mitchell were the main run scorers for Church Leigh with 48 and 23. A good hard fought game and an excellent advertisement for Sunday friendly cricket.
Next weekend both teams are again at home with the league X1 taking on Checkley whilst the following day the Sunday team welcome their old friends from the West Midlands, Poppyfields with both games scheduled for a 1.00pm start.
Audlem Cricket Club