Audlem's cricketers started the Cheshire Cricket Alliance 2009 season experiencing mixed fortunes against the two Mossley teams. The 1st XI, having been promoted to Division 2, won a high-scoring game by 7 wickets, whilst the 2nd XI lost their Division 6 game by 6 wickets.
Playing at home on a sunny but very windy day at the Gorse Croft, the 1st XI entertained Mossley, who won the toss and chose to bat on what looked an excellent batting track for the start of the season. Audlem started well with Rich Brown consistently beating the bat, but it was Stuart Elkes who got the breakthrough with Ryan Taylor top edging to Simon Swift. That was to be Elkes' last contribution, as he had to retire from bowling with a pulled quad muscle. Mossley then went on the counter with the Audlem bowlers struggling to cope with the windy conditions. Contributions from Pete Hill (43), skipper Andrew Sadler (20), Chris Lowe (26) and Tony Brown (24) put Mossley in a strong position with only Ollie Burney coping with the conditions as he returned figures of 3 for 32, supported by three excellent catches from debutant Simon Swift. A late cameo from youngster Tom Trevers (35) aided by Audlem conceding a massive 65 extras, enabled Mossley to declare after 42 overs having posted a challenging 247 for 8.
In reply, Audlem got of to the worst possible start losing openers Andy Capper and skipper Chris Shenton cheaply, both caught behind by Kevin Ison off the bowling of Will Grisedale. When last season's top scorer Tom Measures played on to his own stumps with the score on 87 for 3 off 23 overs, only two results looked possible – a draw or a Mossley win. What occurred over the next 2 hours will live long in the memory banks of anybody who was watching. 161 runs were needed off just 25 overs with young debutants, 20 year-old Jim Littlewood and 17 year-old Rich Wilson were at the crease. Both players delivered a pure batting masterclass to lead Audlem to an incredible victory. Littlewood, with a chanceless innings finished unbeaten on 122 hitting nineteen fours and two massive sixes. Left-hander Wilson also looked untroubled scoring 73, hitting some majestic cover drives and finishing with 11 boundaries. Audlem eventually passed their target with 4 overs to spare.
Audlem benefited from a new rule change, whereby if you lose the toss and bat second, you gain the maximum 25 points (the same as if you bat first) whilst Mossley gained 12.
Next Saturday the 1st XI travel to Ellesmere Port.
The 2nd XI report will follow.
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