Super Stu's stunner leads way to victory

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Cricket at the Gorse Croft
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The 1st XI entertained Heaton Mersey Village on Saturday and won the Cheshire Cricket Alliance Division 2 match by 55 runs. 

The moment that took all the plaudits was an incredible catch by Stuart Elkes.  The long time Audlem servant helped seal victory with an outstretched dive on the boundary rope that looked like a certain six runs.

Everyone at the Gorse Croft was stunned at what was probably the best catch ever seen at the ground and was worthy of gracing any international match.

Skipper Chris Shenton won the toss and, as ever, decided to bat first.  The innings got off to a nervous start as Andy Rothwell was trapped lbw with the second ball of the first over.  Kemal Toraman was next to the crease and he and Qhama Matthews set about their innings in their usual aggressive style, scoring at more than a run a ball.  

The pair took the score to 80 before Matthews was bowled for 31 by.  Toraman soon followed for 46 attempting one too many big shots; stumped by Alan Stones off the bowling of Ajit Phadke.

New batsmen Paddy Leese and Tom Kural negotiated a difficult period with tight bowling from the visitors, and began to up the run rate with good running and punishing the bad ball. 

Both men made it to 50 until Kural was run out, gallantly allowing his own wicket to be taken after taking responsibility for a complete mix up between the batsmen, with the score on exactly 200. 

A late flurry by Leese and Toby Banfield when Shenton declared the innings at 240 for 4.  Leese was left undefeated on 72 and Banfield 14.

In reply HMV’s openers Somnath Sarkar and Dave Padbury made a solid start, taking the score to 50 before Sarkar was caught by keeper Leese off Rich Brown’s bowling for 40.  Padbury soon followed, bowled by impressive 13-year-old debutant Nathan Hall’s spin for 12. 

HMV continued to press with Ray Samuels and Kingsley Parchment adding a further 60 runs before Samuels (24) was caught at deep mid-on by Elkes, juggling the ball and taking it at the third attempt, off the bowling of Brown.  Parchment was next to go, snagged lbw by Hall for 36 to leave the visitors on 121 for 4.

Brown then bowled Alan Stones for a duck, but skipper Ajit Phadke scored a quick 25 until he was bowled by Hall as he and Michael Malpas kept the pressure on Audlem.  Malpas was excellently caught by Shenton off Lyndon Woodcock’s bowling for 14 with the scoreboard now showing 162 for 7. 

Veteran Alan Hills became Woodcock’s second victim, trapped lbw for 5 before Elkes’ stunning diving catch left the unbelieving Michael Clarke trudging back to the pavilion. 

A late flurry by tail-enders Darren Moore and Ivor George took the score to 185 before youngster Hall finished off a wonderful debut by trapping George lbw to lead the honours for the home bowlers with 4 for 48.  He was well supported by Brown (3 for 46) and Woodcock (3 for 52).

Audlem gained 25 points to move up to fourth place, whilst HMV gained 7 points to remain in sixth.  Unfortunately, the top two both gained the maximum 25 points to leave the Audlem lagging 80 points away from the promotion slot with only six matches remaining.

On Saturday the 1st XI travel to seventh-placed Offerton, hoping to continue the winning run.