Almost in the bag for Macclesfield

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Macclesfield have not won the Chapel Press Cheshire ECB Premier League title since 1999, but they are beginning to think this could their season again after Saturday’s turn of events.

While Macclesfield were bowling Alderley Edge out for 79 to chalk up their ninth victory, three leading challengers, Oxton (at Neston), Hyde (at home to Nantwich) and Chester Boughton Hall (at Marple) all lost.

Skipper Barney Cutbill was delighted with his team’s third win in a row which gives them a 27 points advantage at the top of the table. After slumping to 43 for three, Rob Porter’s fine 87, plus 46 from Khalid Sawas and a bright 30 from Macclesfield King’s School batsman Andy Hodgson, helped them post 225 for nine.

Alderley Edge had no answer to the superb line and length of left arm seamer Craig Melrose, who took 7-19 off 14.2 overs to help bowl the visitors out for 79. And that after running up 303 for five against Hyde seven days earlier.

An unfortunate feature of this game was bad finger injuries to both wicket-keepers, Jim Melrose and Adam Worrall. Skipper Cutbill learned over the week-end that Melrose needs an operation and is out for the season.

Unbeaten since June 2, Nantwich remain well in the hunt for their third successive title following a 19 runs win at Hyde after posting 214 for seven, Jonny Kettle making 78.

Hyde’s county duo Danny Berry, 59 and James Duffy, 55 both did their stuff, but the remaining batsmen crumbled against fine bowling from Ollie Griffiths, who took 4-47 off 21 tight overs to dismiss the Werneth Low men for 195.

Oxton lost their Wirral derby match at Neston by the even tighter margin of nine runs chasing 211 for eight, David Hurst 86, and John Creek, 52 enjoying a third wicket partnership of 127 before Ross Dixon claimed 5-29.

With Lou Vincent blazing away, Oxton were on course, but when he was out for a fine 83 off 78 balls, the innings collapsed to 202 all out against the spin of Paul Stimson, 3-29 and the nagging seam of Chris Finegan, 3-42

On the season’s driest day at Bowden Lane, Marple scored a tight, two wickets win against Chester Boghton Hall after restricting their visitors to 174 for nine, Kumar Sarna 39, Mark Rowland 30.

The damage was done by Jimmy Ormond and Joe Cash, both 3-36 and Andy Greasley, 3-63. The Marple batsmen also struggled, but a sound 40 from Andy McGuinness, the highest individual score of the match, aided by James Crisall, 34 and Mark Bennett, 32, saw them home. That was despite fine spin bowling from teenagers Jack Williams, 6-82 and the promising Harry Killoran, celebrating his 15th birthday with 2-39.

The remaining two games were between the four teams involved in the relegation issue and while Urmston and Didsbury emerged triumphant, nothing is yet settled.

Urmston kept Toft in bottom place with a 33 runs home victory highlighted by their Cheshire left arm paceman Adam Syddall taking 6-43, including four wickets in four balls, the first time the feat has been achieved in the Premier League. He and Matt Parkinson, 4-56 bowled Toft out for 155 (Andy Bones 51, Toby Drummond 41).

This was in reply to Urmston’s 187 for nine, Lewis Jackson 55, Callum Parkinson 50, Matt Parkinson 30, while England Under 15 leg spinner Robin Jones claimed 6-69 off 16 overs.

Didsbury won by four runs at Widnes to pick up 25 crucial points and stay outside the bottom two, despite a superb all-round individual performance from Widnes’ Aussie Michael Nalesnyik.

Didsbury were bowled out for 154, Phil Critchley 58, Nalesnyik taking 8-57 with 24 overs of accurate off-spin. Widnes were then dismissed for 151 after being 101 for three and 147 for six. Nalesnyik did more than his bit with a fine innings of 80, but a 6-44 return by R. Nawaz proved the ultimate match-winner.