The 1st XI travelled to Offerton last Saturday and continued their winning ways with a 99 run victory. Opener Andy Rothwell led the charge with a half century and a vital wicket near the end of the home team’s innings.
Skipper Chris Shenton won the toss again and, as usual, elected to bat. Rothwell and fellow opener Qhama Matthews put on 38 for the first wicket before Matthews was out for 16. Kemal Toraman strode to the wicket, hit his first ball for six and was walking back to the pavilion after the next ball, having been caught at deep fine leg. Tahir Hussein and Tom Kural both failed to trouble the scorer as Audlem slumped to 51 for 4. Paddy Leese joined Rothwell and the pair added 41 before Rothwell was stumped immediately after reaching 50.
Toby Banfield only scored a single before being caught, leaving the visitors 97 for 6. Rich Wilson and Leese took the score into treble figures as they staged a mini revival, but Wilson was run out for 5 with the score on 114. Shenton joined Leese and they added 46 quick runs before Shenton became the eighth batsman to be caught, having scored 23. Unfortunately Leese then required a runner as he suffered a minor hamstring pull. He was run out one run later for 44, when he failed to retreat behind his crease.
With the score on 161-9 Audlem were hoping for a late flurry from Simon Swift and Neil Humphries. The pair didn’t disappoint and ended the innings on 27 and 39 not out respectively as they added 69 unbeaten runs for the ninth wicket to leave Audlem on 230 for 9 after the maximum 48 overs
In their reply Offerton began in aggressive style until Toraman had opener Stephen Pickles caught behind by Banfield having scored 21 of the 31 runs on the board. A further 30 runs were added before Swift took two quick wickets. Opener Tom Fletcher (32) and Matthew Downs (18) pushed the score along to 95 before both fell victim to Hussein’s spin, being caught by Shenton and Swift respectively. When Hussein grabbed his third wicket with a slip catch by Swift, the home side were in trouble at 104 for 6.
Only Karl Martin was standing up to Audlem’s bowlers and it was a classic piece of captaincy by Shenton which was his downfall. When Shenton handed the ball to occasional medium-pace spin bowler Rothwell there was disbelief on the faces of the fielders, Rothwell vindicated the decision by bowling Martin for 22 with a tricky dipping delivery. Humphries mopped up the tail with two dismissals as Offerton were all out for 131. All five of Audlem’s bowlers took wickets with Hussein (3 for 30) and Humphries (3 for 25) leading the way.
Audlem gained 25 points and Offerton 8. Audlem remain in fourth position, still 80 points away from a promotion place with only five more matches remaining. On Saturday they travel to tenth-place Mossley, who are only two points above the drop zone in Division 2.
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