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Elkes takes the biscuit as 1st XI win easily

2nd May 2010 @ 5:05pm – by Andy Capper
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Audlem's opening bowler Stuart Elkes took the plaudits as the 1st XI thrashed Stockport-based Offerton yesterday at the Gorse Croft by 126 runs For the second consecutive week, skipper Chris Shenton lost the toss and was invited to bat. Under a dark tempestuous sky, the wicket looked damp, slow and low and the prospect of a full game appeared unlikely.

Offerton got off to a good start, creating a chance in the first over as Shenton was almost caught at square leg. Fellow-opener Andy Capper bagged a duck as his stay at the crease was curtailed by a ball from opening bowler Tony Knowles snicked the edge of the bat and went through to the keeper with the score on 15.

In-form Richard Wilson joined Shenton at the crease and a healthy partnership developed. After Offerton failed to take a run out opportunity, Shenton punished the opposition bowling and made them pay for not taking their chances with a quick fire 41 before being caught at deep midwicket when going for a six off Knowles.

With the score now 63 for 2 Tom Measures' new found confidence and Wilson's seemingly endless imperious form continued to hammer the opposition bowling. The ball was despatched to all parts of the ground as the Offerton fielders buckled under the onslaught and dropped several easy chances to dismiss the free-scoring batsmen. Measures went on to make 59 before finally holing out. With the score now at 178 for 3 off just 38 overs, Paddy Leese strode out to the crease, looking for the single to keep Wilson on strike. The score was taken to 194 for 3 as Shenton, with an eye on the weather, declared giving his bowlers 7 additional overs to dismiss the visitors and take the spoils. Wilson finished with an unbeaten 66 having passed the 50 mark in five consecutive innings! Leese was also unbeaten on 6.

With the constant threat of rain in the air, Audlem needed early wickets. After a poor start to his season last week, opening bowler Stuart Elkes needed a good performance. He duly obliged with a spell of ferociously aggressive swing bowling for which the opposition batsmen had no answer.
However, It was fellow opener Richard Brown who dismissed the two opening batsmen. The first caught at square leg by Wilson and the second to a truly magnificent one-handed full-stretch, inch-off-the-ground, diving slip catch by Oliver Burney. Offerton were 2 wickets down with only 3 runs on the board, and the target of 194 was looking somewhat distant.

It soon became insurmountable as Elkes annihilated the opposition batting line up! Ably supported in the field by another catch from Wilson at square leg, Burney at midwicket and Shenton in the slips, Elkes was bristling with exuberance!

Meanwhile, at the other end, Brown dismissed the number 8 with an unplayable delivery that took the edge and was snaffled by keeper Tim Ruscoe, who, as ever, was standing up to the quick bowlers. The visitors were reduced to a mere 31 for 9 and with Elkes and Brown tiring, the last pair were batting bravely. The last wicket was proving difficult to take and with the sky looking increasingly angry, Audlem feared the worst! The weather looked favourite to spoil the victory, as the last pair added a further 37 to take the score to 68. Last week's man-of-the-match Lyndon Woodcock had bowled just one over before Akram, the visitors' top scorer on 19, tried to play one shot too many across the line and Brown's fourth delivery of the 30th over clattered into the stumps, leaving Rehman on 9 not out.

A brilliant spell of bowling from Elkes, taking 6 for 24 and Brown with 4 for 30, well supported by excellent catching in the field saw Audlem to victory and 25 points, as Offerton only managed to scrape 1 point from the game.

Next Saturday the 1st XI travels to Knutsford, hoping to continue the 100% start to the season.


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