Audlem 1st XI travelled to Division 2 leaders knowing that a defeat would seriously dent their promotion hopes. In what turned out to be a thrilling finale, the two teams' fortunes ebbed and flowed as they fought out a tie.
Skipper Chris Shenton won the toss and had no hesitation in batting first. Unfortunately things got off to a bad start when opener Andy Capper was out for 6 with the score on 11. Fortunately Glazebury were generously giving away plenty of extras as fellow opener Olly Burney and Neil Humphries took the score to 35 before Humphries was out for 7. Burney eventually was out for 8 with the scoreboard one short of the half century.
Tom Measures and Rich Wilson added 51 for the fourth wicket until Measures was out for 29. A stand of 40 by Wilson and Shenton kept the scoreboard ticking over, but Wilson was bowled for 34. Two runs later Shenton followed him back to the pavilion having scored 20. Kemal Toraman and Paddy Leese continued to score runs with Audlem securing the maximum 10 batting points as they finished on 179 for 6 after their allotted 48 overs. Toraman scored 29 and Leese 9.
Glazebury's openers Wayne Hargreaves and Dave Mason put on 30 for the first wicket, when Mason was caught by Burney off Toraman's bowling. Hargreaves and Ian McCue took the score to 47, when the same pairing accounted for Hargreaves. At this point McCue started to cut loose as he and Chris Lord added 21 for the third wicket until Lord was then caught by Toraman off Woodcock's.
Jack Warhurst was back in the pavilion without addition to the score, bowled by Humphries. McCue was still scoring freely and he and Callum Morgan looked to have put the home team in a winning position. Their stand of 87 took the score to 155, leaving Glazebury just 25 runs to win with six wickets in hand. However when McCue trapped lbw by Humphries for a magnificent 84, Audlem sensed a glimmer of hope.
Sure enough, Rhys Marsh only lasted two balls before being caught by Wilson off Humphries' bowling and Morgan was then caught by Humphries to become Toraman's third victim, leaving Glazebury on 157 for 7. Dave Acton and Andrew Calvert added 13 before Calvert was caught by Andy Rothwell, Humphries again being the bowler.
As tension mounted Acton and Sam Stanier levelled the scores, still with two wickets in hand. Humphries then bowled Acton and the next ball had Chris Ayre caught by keeper Tim Ruscoe, leaving Glazebury 179 all out. Humphries finished with 6 for 52 and Toraman 3 for 45.
Audlem gained 15 points and Glazebury 10. Audlem are now in third place, 5 points behind Ellesmere Port and 9 behind Glazebury. With only two more weeks remaining it appears to be a three-horse race for the two promotion slots, although Trinity and Saughall are only 11 and 18 points adrift.
On Saturday the 1st XI are at home to Mossley. The game starts at 1.00 pm. The following week, Audlem's final game is at Ellesmere Port and Glazebury's is at Saughall, so all is yet to play for.
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