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9th June 2023 @ 6:06am – by Simon Swift/John Wainwright
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Saturday Match

Audlem bounced back from last week’s defeat against Cheadle thanks to a 5 wicket victory at home to local rivals Nantwich. The visitors won the toss and their captain Sam Williams had no hesitation in electing to bat on a sunny day in South Cheshire. The Nantwich openers got off to a flyer, reaching 36-0 in the opening 5 overs. With a lightening, fast outfield and a hard, flat pitch, Audlem knew that they would need to sharpen up their bowling and fielding skills to avoid conceding a huge total. Swift picked up the left-handed opening batter Howell who feathered one to wicket-keeper Parkinson. This brought Howell snr to the crease. Howell and Pearson batted fluently until 1st change bowler Butler knocked Pearson’s off stump out of the ground with a pacey delivery. Nantwich continued to build steady partnerships and were well set at 75-2 at the 15 over drinks break. Wilson took the gloves from Parkinson to allow the all-rounder to come onto bowl replacing the speedster Dan Butler. Parkinson made an immediate impact by dismissing the dangerous Howell snr. Bentley Snr and Hall played nicely to push Nantwicj beyond the 100 mark before a mix up in the middle meant that a frustrated Bentley Snr had to depart for a quickfire 25. This wicket brought the skipper Williams to the crease. Audlem knew that they would need to either get the batter out early or keep the big hitting allrounder off strike to avoid chasing a sizeable total. Hall and the skipper Williams began to build a partnership. The pair put on 38 runs in just 7 overs to help Nantwich to 143-4 with 8 overs remaining. Nantwich must have been targeting a score of around 200 which would have been a very competitive total. Shenton turned to his opening bowlers Swift and Jayan. He hoped a change of ends would help to change their earlier fortunes. Even the optimistic Shenton couldn’t possibly have hoped for his plan to have worked any better. Swift bowled the well set Hall for a well made 29 in his first over back. Two balls later he hit the talented wicket-keeper batter Jackson’s middle stump before delivering a yorker to dismiss Birchill. 143-4 had very quickly become 143-7. Unbelievably Jayan went one better just 3 overs later. The swing bowler delivered 3 perfect yorkers in a row to dismiss Williams, Holding and Jarvis in consecutive deliveries. A truly magnificent display of death bowling. Audlem had picked up 6-17 to dismiss the visitors for 160 all out. Swift finished with bowling figures of 4-26 and Jayan 3-31

Shenton and Wilson emerged after the tea interval to open the batting for Audlem in pursuit of the 161 runs required for victory. The pair began aggressively looking to take advantage of the powerplay. Despite 3 early boundaries, the skipper was first to depart as he was bowled by a Sam Williams slower ball. This brought Rothwell to the crease. The early wicket did not put the breaks onto Audlem’s aggressive approach in the 8 over powerplay. Wilson and Rothwell reached 51 at the 8 over mark. Unfortunately for Audlem, Rothwell fell in identical fashion to Shenton. He was bowled for 14 by Williams. Toraman, who has been in excellent form with the bat this season, fresh from 71 last week against Cheadle, came to join Wilson at the crease. The pair put on 50 in no time before Wilson picked out the fielder not long after reaching his 50. His 55 came off just 40 balls and included 7 fours and 2 sixes. Butler joined Toraman to the crease with the score on 102-3. The pair nudged the score onto 125 before Toraman was unlucky to play a forward defensive back onto his stumps for 21. Irfan Shaik joined Butler and the pair took the home time to the brink of victory. Shaik fell with Audlem requiring just 8 runs for victory with 10 overs remaining. Salisbury and Butler took the villagers to victory with 7.1 overs remaining. Butler finished with 40 not out.

An important 18 point victory for Audlem who maintain their 7 point lead at the top of the division. On Saturday they travel to Little Stoke to face a Newcastle side who were relegated from thedivision above. The game will be a 40 over a side contest and will begin at 1pm.

Simon Swift

Sunday Match

Not really sure where to start with this one .... After the previous week's fixture at Burton finished with Audlem claiming victory off the very last ball of the match the lads were thinking that we couldn't possibly have a repeat of the "Deeside drama" back at The Gorse Croft against our old friends Poppyfields but how wrong we were..

With Audlem still requiring fifteen the 8th wicket fell , Connor Howard the incoming batsman with a season best score of just 2 and 12 year old Ruben Irvine remaining to keep the resolute Peter Young company. Peter realised the gravity of the situation with just 3 overs remaining and took the bull by the horns and plundered 12 off the 37th but with 3 still needed and Connor facing his first delivery the home contingent went very quiet .... no need to worry as Connor dispatched the first ball to the boundary to give the hosts victory by the barest of margins.

Audlem had their bowlers to thank for keeping Poppyfields score down to manageable proportions with Connor Howard claiming 2 for 16 in 8 accurate and probing overs aided by Richard Irvine with 3 for 21 off 4, Andy Bushell 1 for 26 off 8, Peter Young 1 for 35 off 7 & 17 year old Ash Hill who bowled superbly in his 7 overs to record 1 for 24. Poppyfields were indebted to Ian Brotherton with a stylish 62 out of a total of 177 for 8 aided by young Hugh Turley-Salmons with a patient knock of 28 not out.

Audlem's reply got off to a fine start with openers Andy Bushell (19) & Richard Irvine (58) pushing the score along a good rate but with the fall of a couple of quick wickets new batsman, Dave Parkinson ( 45) took a while to settle in before unleashing his full repertoire of strokes and get the hosts within site of the finishing post... but things are never that simple when Audlem are involved, Dave and Richard departed in quick succession which in turn instigated a mini collapse with 3 more wickets falling soon after. The last hope appeared to rest with allrounder Pete Young ( 17 not out ) & stand-in skipper John Wainwright ( 15 ) but with the captain's untimely dismissal the eventual dramatic ending unfolded.

Great thanks to Poppyfields who make the journey from all corners of the midlands to come and play us twice a year ( one guy travels from Hereford every season for the fixtures ) and their travelling band of supporters who brave all weathers to come and watch their guys. It's most encouraging to see a good gathering of spectators at our Sunday games and pleasing to welcome old friends and villagers who regularly come to view the proceedings.

A special thank you to 3 lads who come to our aid after finding ourselves short on numbers for the game due to the league t20 competition taking place and school half term week .. an appeal for assistance was put out and answered by Pete Young from Alvanley Cricket Club who also brought along with him two fine allrounders in Ash Hill and Andy Bushell. All three played a key role in the game and ultimate victory for the team . Also a mention for the fine fielding exhibition with young Andrew Salmon & Ruben Irvine the stand out performers saving about 30 runs in the field with their speed and athleticism to keep the score down to an attainable total.

Next Sunday the team travel to Malpas ( 1.30pm start ) and the following Sunday play host to Grasshoppers CC from Shropshire.

John Wainwright
Audlem Cricket Club

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