By John Wainwright - 5th September 2012 7:09am
The 2nd XI played hosts to Mossley (Congleton), who were fighting for their lives in next-to-bottom position in Division 4. In the end, despite a brave fight, the likelihood of them staying up diminished as Audlem won by one wicket in the very last over.
After being asked to bat, Mossley soon found themselves in all kinds of trouble at 18 for 3 against the nagging accuracy of Dave Parry and prodigious spin of Lyndon Woodcock. They bowled 29 of the allotted 48 overs between them for a combined total of only 43 runs (Parry 2 for 22 and Woodcock 1 for 21).
Middle-order batsmen Ryan.Cotterill (63) and Pete.Stirk (38) eventually found some momentum against the tiring bowlers but the visitors were now seriously 'behind the clock'. To make matters worse, they had to take on the fresh bowling of fit-again Chris Hardwick and crafty old-stager Roy Wild. Both bowled beautifully to snare the well-set batsmen and make life difficult for the lower order to get established. Hardwick finished with commendable figures of 2 for 27 and Wild 4 for 37 as Mossley's innings closed on 138 for 9.
The total was never going to be easy as Audlem were missing a number of regular batsmen but openers John Wainwright (27) and Zar Ahmed (53) got the team off to a decent start with a 47 run partnership. On the dismissal of Wainwright Jason Leigh (15) continued taking the attack to the opposition and another valuable partnership ensured the required run rate was kept to about 3 per over. However, when he was out caught in the deep, the middle order began to struggle.
Ahmed now took centre stage and held his nerve to guide his team towards the winning post. He was eventually bowled with the scores level and eight wickets down. A late scare ensued with the fall of the ninth wicket in the penultimate over. Wild came to the crease and blocked out the last ball of that over to enable all-rounder Woodcock (14 not out) to face the final over and have the pleasure of hitting the winning run with just five balls to spare.
Audlem gained 20 points from the game to continue their late surge up the table to sixth place and safety. Despite gaining 10 points the defeat leaves Mossley facing relegation with only two games of the season remaining.
On Saturday the 2nd XI travel to Northwich to take on the already-relegated bottom club Hartford .
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