Macclesfield rise to top

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A spot of sunshine worked wonders for Chapel Press Cheshire ECB Premier League batsmen on Saturday, six centuries being recorded as the runs flowed, especially at Alderley Edge where 627 were recorded for the loss of nine wickets in the match against Hyde.

There were no tons at Didsbury where Macclesfield won by two wickets to go top of the table for the first time with five matches to go. Didsbury opted to bat and totalled 186 for six, Johan van Schalkwyck 64, Pat Moors 52 not out, Rob Porter 3-71, and Ian Tait deserving better figures than 2-62.

After a struggle and needing 70 off the last eight overs, Macclesfield reached their target at 188 for eight with three balls remaining. James Crosthwaite top-scoring with 46, aided by Khalid Sawas, 35 and Leon Markie, who played a key role a key 34 not out at the death.

Macclesfield have now scored eight wins, one more than deposed second-placed Oxton, who lie five points behind after a frustrating drawn game at home to Chester Boughton Hall.

New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent scored a superb unbeaten 155 in Oxton’s massive 288 for six, enjoying a seventh wicket stand worth 128 with Gayan Fernando, 43 not out, while Alex Kegg did his best to stem the tide with 3-59.

Chester fell well short at 181 for eight, Lee Dixon and Kumar Sarna joint top-scoring with 35 while Jack Williams scored unbeaten on 24 as the tension rose. Vincent chipped in with 2-36 to show his all-round ability.

The big scoring match at Alderley Edge saw Hyde put in and amass 324 for four, the season’s highest partnership of 224 for the second wicket being between skipper Danny Berry, 160 (19 fours and six sixes) and James Duffy, 122 (17 fours and two sixes). All this time Jason Whittaker wheeled away accurately for a respectable return of 3-83.

It was the turn of Alderley’s batsmen to make hay after tea. Mark Currie scored 129 (24 fours) and with Calum Rowe, 90 not out, added 131 for the second wicket as a final score of 303 for five was reached. It was just not the bowlers’ day – ask Scott Kirwin, who took 1-117 off 26 overs. The upshot of all this was that Hyde took 12 points to their hosts’ seven.

Watch out for champions Nantwich who are coming up on the rails. They beat Neston by nine wickets at Whitehouse Lane to rise to fifth place, just 26 points behind the leaders.

Neston were bowled out for 143, Andy Murphy 50, Luke Camden 31, Ollie Griffiths 3-32, Jimmy Warrington 3-41. Then followed a typically fluent innings from Louis Bentley, who scored an unbeaten 110 out of 140 for the second wicket withJonny Kettle, 34 not out, in just 26 overs.

His innings – the third successive week the Lancashire batsman has reached 100 without being dismissed - contained 11 fours and six sixes.

Toft lost heavily at home to Widnes and have dropped to the foot of the table for the first time. Toft mustered a below par 168 for eight which would have been considerably fewer but for a patient unbeaten 80 from skipper Toby Drummond.

His colleague had difficulty with the canny off spin of Mike Nalesnyik, who took 4-45 bowling on the cracked dustbowl into which the Toft square has developed. The Widnes batsmen had no such difficulties, however, and replied with 169 for three, Sam Agarwal contributing a quality 74 and Andy Ford 47, to clinch a win which lifts them out of the bottom three.

Marple had the better of a high-scoring draw at Urmston, piling up 297 for five,with 117 from Aussie big hitter Andy McGuiness and 68 from Mark Bennett. Urmston’s reply reached a respectable 249 for seven, led by skipper Samit Panda, 76 not out, Lewis Jackson 63, Jack Wylie 3-42. Marple emerged with 13 points, with Urmston’s eight keeping them in the danger zone.