The final fortnight brought no cricket and huge disappointment. Since the Romiley game, Alvanley’s position sank with the news that Cheadle Hulme had played ineligible players and Barrow were to gain 22 points. This made the final fortnight an uphill task. Heavy rain at Lindow meant that just 7 points were possible with no cricket played but on the other side of the county Stockport and Barrow took good draw points from their game.
And so to the final week, the week where the last game is hopefully followed by celebration or at least a few consolation drinks! Not this year. Cheadle Hulme rang at 11am to concede the 1st XI game yet expected the second XI game to go ahead. When instructed by the league to make up the 1st XI with some 2nd XI players, they conceded that game too. This left 22 Alvanley players and many supporters hugely disappointed and made a mockery of the incredible efforts put in by Ian Charles to deny the weather and put on a great pitch.
With results going against Alvanley, promotion has remained tantalizingly out of reach for this year. Dressing room talk is positive though and this young squad is already fired up for another assault in 2018.
02/09/17 at home v Romiley. ACC 152ao, RCC 153/6. Lose 6 points. [scorecard]
Alvanley started the day day top of the league and full of confidence and momentum but ended the the day in 3rd place and know full well that the last two games will need to be won to stand a chance of going up. Romiley won the toss and asked Alvanley to bat first, not a great start!
Alvanley lost Mike Rowlands early on but entered calmer waters for the next 12 overs as Ste Charles dug and Jonno Whitley unfurled an array of aesthetic shot, four of which whistled to the boundary. Although the Romiley bowlers were bowling well, this pair looked in control at 45 for 1. Unfortunately by 49 both were in the shed and 1 run later, they were joined by Arthur Brummitt. On a blameless pitch 50 for 4 was below expectations. Chris Wright and Si Gee did a decent enough repair job, both watchful with the game situation in mind.
As with the 40s, the 90s were troubled waters for the Alv as Wright (17), Gee 24 as well as Chris Charles and Andy Bennion all fell in a chaotic 20 minutes.
As so often this season the tail were charged with getting the team to 50 overs and respectability. Jimmy Ecclestone hung around with Lee Ainsworth long enough for the pair to add 31 for the 9th wicket and with the last pair of Ainsworth and Billy Ouzounidis cracking another 19 runs, semi respectability was reached at 152 all out in the final over. Ainsworth finished with a valuable 29 not out.
Alvanley needed a second half of the highest quality and perhaps a soupcon of luck?
The quality was their with the new ball as Ouzounidis castled Holt. Importantly Charles was having one of those days where he beats the edge 3 or 4 times per over. His 12 overs 0 for 25 is a travesty of justice. Rowlands was given an early twirl and found immediate success. 27 for 2. At 25 overs the score was just under 2 per over and 152 was looking better than it had at tea. However wickets were proving hard to come by and it took until the 35th over for the third to fall as Ste Charles trapped Badrock in front. 80 for 3 leaving 73 to get in 15 overs. 36 was posted for the 4th wicket before Charles struck again and when Wright had a catch off Rowlands and a direct hit run out, the game began to turn Alvanley’s way in similar fashion to the return game at Romiley.
Unfortunately for Alvanley opener Rolph had been standing firm throughout. He chanced his arm enough to swing a couple of boundaries and take his team home with 7 balls and 4 wickets to spare.
Alvanley will rue being light with the bat, and not clinging on to a series of half chances in the field. either would have seen them at least in second spot.
Alvanley celebrated moving to the top of the league on Saturday evening following a tense win at Bredbury, so often their bogey team.
A wet pitch greeted the teams and the crucial toss went Bredbury’s way and Alvanley found themselves batting against two bowlers perfectly designed to exploit this surface. Wood and Usher expertly landed the ball in the right areas and extracted sideways movement and variable bounce throughout their long spells. Alvanley survived reasonably well at first with Mike Rowlands and Ste Charles digging in to 25 runs until Rowlands was adjudged in front. Whitley then received a snorter from Wood and at 42 Charles was bowled by Usher who got the ball to move about a foot!
With two more wickets falling in the 40s, Alvanley were now in trouble. Only Si Gee was comfortable in these conditions and when he fell at 72 for 6 for a well made 24, Alvanley were looking to their tail to get then score to three figures. Chris Charles and Jimmy Ecclestone were duped in to hitting aerially to mid on and mid off – 82 for 8.
Andy Bennion, and Lee Ainsworth were now together and the pair mixed defence with some lusty blows to add a crucial 34 for the 9th wicket. Bennion fell for 18 but the good work carried on with Billy Ouzounidis – surely Ainsworth and Ouzounidis are the best 10 and 11 in the league! They boosted the score to 134 when Ainsworth was caught behind for an enterprising 24. The last two wickets added 53 – would this be crucial?
Bredbury have a mercurial batting line up with some key wickets vital to beating them. Ouzounidis struck first but this wicket owed a great deal to Jonno Whitley who took a stunning slip catch, low and and way out to his wrong hand, he clung on expertly. Chris Charles trapped Carr in front next over and in doing so removed the likely backbone of the reply.
This brought in the dangerous and charismatic Major Khan. He played the most scintillating innings over the next few overs. He hit 41 in 25 balls and two of his sixes were among the biggest this observer has ever seen. Charles reacted well as captain, His fields immediately reflected the batsman and the situation and in bringing on Jimmy Ecclestone, it allowed the keeper to come up. It was in fact Ouzounidis that benefited though, Khan tried one too many and sent a steepler up to long on where Bennion pouched the catch. Khan contributed 41 out of 44 added while he was at the crease and the score now stood at 51 for 4!
Ouzounidis took his fourth wicket, again, brilliantly caught at second slip by Whitley but there followed a dangerous stand by Wood and Keyworth – the last pair of key batsmen for the home team. They added 38 runs and took the score perilously close at 94 for 5. Alvanley have a great deal of variety in their bowling and so to be able to call on the wily leg spin of Mike Rowlands at this stage is quite something. He struck with his first ball. opening an end in removing Wood for 24. The returning Charles then took out Woodhall but the important Keyworth was standing firm. 5 dots balls from Rowlands persuaded Keyworth to look for a single to keep the strike but in doing so he edged the ball to the gloves of Gee – 97/8!
Gee was having a fine day and to go through the innings with no byes on this pitch is quite an achievement.
The 9th wicket pair took the score to 108 but a change of ends for Rowlands ended this as he rattled the timbers for his 3rd wicket. The last pair found ways of scoring and got up to 122, just 13 short with Usher on 23 not out, when the returning Ouzounidis found the perfect ball to bowl Dickson for Alvanley’s tenth and his 5th wicket to spark excited scenes. New of other results came through and the song was sung in the knowledge that with three games to go Alvanley sit at the top of the league.
Rowlands ended with 3 for 10 of 6 cracking overs, Ouzounidis topped that with 5 for 34 – his first 5 wicket haul.
19/08/17 at home v Tattenhall. ACC 207/6, TCC 143/6. Draw 13 points. [scorecard]
Alvanley played some great cricket but had to settle for a winning draw and 13 points, not the worst outcome on a day where most of their promotion rivals took 7 points as the weather played its part.
Alvanley lost a crucial toss and were condemned to bat first a on a very flat pitch. The slow outfield suggested a score of 170 would be around par and as 35 was posted by openers Ste Charles and Mike Rowlands, all seemed well. Charles was sent on his way by the persistent Brock and when 3 further wickets fell before the 40s had been negotiated, 170 seemed a long way off. Rowlands’s contribution of 27 shouldn’t be forgotten.
Young Ben Aveyard and and Chris Jones were charged with putting the wheels back on but with testing bowling from Dobson and Brock, this was no easy task. They didn’t only repel this accurate pair but found a way to add 70 runs in 16 overs, both prepared to mix watchful defence with attacking intent and sharp running. Jones fell first for 36 and Aveyard followed soon after for 33
124 for 6 was a reasonable platform with 12 overs to go and Alvanley do bat deep. Andy Bennion and Chris Charles took a few overs to acclimatise but then found their rhythm running plenty of twos and occasionally finding the rope. Charles hit two big sixes and ended 44 not out in 47 balls while Bennion acquired 40 not out in 50 balls. This partnership was worth 83 unbroken and took the team to a very healthy 207 for 6 at tea.
It took 7 overs to for the first breakthrough as Chris Charles breached Windell’s defences and when Chris Jones ran out Harper in the 11th over
the win was beginning to come in to sight. A win by the way would have projected Alvanley to top spot.
A dangerous stand followed as the two best players forged a partnership. Coppock and Sadler took the score on to 62 in the 17th over when Lee Ainsworth bowled the latter. Coppock and Gibbon continued to press but a spell of utter discipline from Ainsworth, Ecllestone and Rowlands made 15 overs disappear in the blink of an eye. At this stage Tattenhall chose to shut up shop and settle for the draw. A further scalp for the excellent Ainsworth and one for Rowlands as well as a run out, gave Alvanley hope but the 7th wicket pair survived 11 overs to frustrate the home team who had to settle for 13 points and joint second spot.
Alvanley register their 9th win, their 5th in the last 6 games to stay in touch with the top spots, although the other teams in the top pack won as the race hots up with 5 weeks left.
Chris Charles chose to bowl knowing the the benign nature of the Northwich pitch could easily see a draw scenario if bowling second. He was rewarded with the key wicket of Tapsfield for just 4 as Ouzounidis bowling a rasping off cutter to rearrange his stumps and four balls later Charles himself removed Cherion, brilliantly taken at gully by brother Steve. 12/2 off 7.Wathukarage and Walker dug in for 12 overs but scoring was difficult on a slow pitch and with the bowling and fielding at its very best.
Ste Charles was introduced from the road end and settled into a great rhythm. He got rid of both the 3rd wicket pair to reduce the hosts to 53 for 4 after 27 overs. More double figure contributions followed but against Charles and Lee Ainswoth the scoreboard was very slow to move. The rate remained at 2 per over right up to 40 overs and Charles ( 3 for 26 in 15 overs and Ainsworth 1 for 22 in 10 overs dominated. Further wickets for Rowlands and Ouzounidis chipped away at the batting team who had to settle for 120 all out. 23 was their top score, which indicates a persistent bowling effort and a slow pitch and outfield. Chris Wright made a tough day behind the stumps look easier than it was with a gritty display.
Alvanley decided to attack from the start as Andy Bennion and Mike Rowlands went after the new ball. They added 45 in just 10 overs before Rowlands was run out, sold down the river by his partner, for 12. Ben Aveyard was terribly unlucky to be given out soon after. 49/2. Bennion went to a more circumspect approach and he with Ste Charles looked to build. 67 was reached when Bennion had to retire injured. Charles and Whitley (20) carefully accumulated to take the score to 85 when double disaster struck. Charles misjudged a pull and was bowled for 17 and the returning Bennion didn’t last long and fell for 38 in the same over.
A couple more run outs made the game far more exciting than it should have been but Chris Jones (4no) and some lust blows from Chris Charles (14 not out) saw the team home with 3 wickets to spare.
Alvanley returned to winning ways with a solid 4 wicket win over Barrow with 5 overs to spare, a result that takes them to 6 points off second spot and 14 of the top.
Alvanley won the toss and chose to bowl on a wicket that was remarkable given the rain that has fallen in the last week. Chris Charles was gambling on a bit of early seam movement and the gamble was rewarded as although there was no swing there was just enough in the pitch to encourage himself and Billy Ouzounidis. It was the bounce that the taller Charles found that was to be his greatest ally and this quickly became an inroad as the prolific Reid edged to Gee and two balls later the same combination removed Morrison. 5 for 2 of 7 overs.
A stand of 58 followed between De Silva and McClements but at 63 for 2 of 25 overs, Barrow were not getting away from Alvanley. Charles’ opening spell bore incredible figures of 2 for 7 off 10 outstanding overs.
It was brother Steve who ended the 3rd wicket resistance, bowling McClements and after changing ended he took the next wicket, Afridi chipping to the grateful Whitley. 98 for 4. After contributions from Rowlands and Ainsworth, the skipper reverted back to his new ball combination. Ouzounidis immediately removed the dangerous De Silva, brilliantly caught by Ste Charles diving forward and then a surge of wickets from Chris Charles began. He got Beswick to edge behind and then persuaded Johnson to hit to deep midwicket where Ainsworth, at first confused!, took the most stupendous of catches. Further wickets for Ouzounidis and Charles saw the tail off in a flash and the innings closed in 45 overs at 145 all out. Charles second spell gave him 4 wickets in 2.3 overs and he ended with 6 for 17 in 12.3. Brilliant stuff from the skipper. 4 tidy catches for Si Gee behind the stumps should be noted.
Alvanley opted for a bold approach and threw Andy Bennion in to open with Mike Rowlands and the pair flogged 36 for the first wicket in just 6 overs before Bennion skied one. A complete contrast followed as 21 runs came in the next 20 overs. De Silva and Barrow bowled tightly and a stalemate ensued. Within this period Ste Charles and Si Gee perished but Mike Rowland and Jonno Whitley dug in and gradually found singles and very occasional boundaries, They added a vital 60 runs for the 4th wicket but this came to an end when Rowlands was bowled for an outstanding 57 which spanned two hours. Whitley soon followed ramping a bouncer to the keeper but Alvanley have great depth both in their batting and their squad. Chris Jones, having scored well in the second XI strode to the crease and looked the best player on the day. He effortlessly stoked 26 not out to ease his team towards the line. Chris Wright accompanied him and hit the winning boundary to make the last 6 weeks of the season an exciting push for promotion.
Alvanley suffered their first defeat since May on Saturday denting their promotion hopes on a day where results have created a soup of 6 teams covered by 26 points vying for two spots.
With Sophie Ecclestone away with Lancs and key all rounder Si Gee missing Alvanley’s day began badly when the toss went Stockport’s way and Alvanley were asked to bat first on a wet green pitch. Ste Charles drove at a ball that stopped and was caught at cover but a brief period of the batters being on top followed as Ben Aveyard neatly struck 4 boundaries. But this didn’t last and a steady procession followed. Aveyard was bowled for 16, Whitley attracted a perfect inswinger to be bowled, and Alvanley were 27/3. Another brief glimmer of hope followed as Chris Wright joined Mike Rowlands but there always looked to be a wicket coming as Eley in particular was getting movement both ways and indifferent bounce.
Wright was undone by the ‘stopping’ ball for 15 and when Arthur Brummitt was needlessly run out in the next over, Alvanley were floundering. Rowlands followed next, caught at gully for a fighting 15. Bennion (14) and Charles (15) added 22 to take the score to 73 for 6 hoping that 130 might be enough, but this target was soon a pipe dream as another flurry of wickets condemned Alvanley to a fragile 87 all out.
A decent bowling performance would give Alvanley a chance. Ouzounidis and Charles opened up and like their counterparts found plenty of swing and seam. Where Stockport’s bowlers found the edge, Alvanley kept beating it. An incredible number of ‘plays and misses’ followed as the home team got to 10 overs without losing a wicket. Charles must wonder how his spell ended wicketless and Ouzounidis suffered a dropped catch to accompany his many near misses.
Lee Ainsworth found the ball was still moving around and he had immediate success having Barber caught behind by the the outstanding Wright, substituting for Gee. Van Eden soon followed, somehow caught by Ecclestone at point and when Edwards edged to Whitley, 44 for 3 was at least encouraging. More playing and missing followed but huge credit to George Barber who dug in for the most dogged of 35 not outs. He took his team home despite a further wicket for Rowlands by the seemingly comfortable margin of 6 wickets. Ainsworth ended with 3 for 35.
If Alvanley had grafted another 40 runs, who knows?
Still hunting promotion, Alvanley have a local derby next as Barrow visit on Saturday.
22/07/17 v Brooklands. BCC 147ao, ACC 148/7. Win 25. [scorecard]
Alvanley took another step towards the promotion spots with a fine win over fellow contenders Brooklands.
Alvanley asked Brooklands to bat first and had immediate rewards as the irrepressible Billy Ouzounidis and Chris Charles again dominated with the new ball. They reduced the visitors to 19 for 4 in 13 demanding overs with all 4 wickets soundly caught in a variety of positions. Ouzounidis’ opening spell yielded a fabulous return for 3 for 10 off 7 overs. The 5th wicket added 54 as Brooklands looked to fight back and there were worrying signs for Alvanley. Jimmy Ecclestone though came to the fore and dried the scoring up from one end (8 overs for 18) while Ainsworth eventually found his rhythm. He removed the dangerous AJ Hart and then sent down 8 overs for 7 runs, following Ecclestone’s fine example.
Jonno Whitley’s first bowl for the club yielded a wicket and the visitors were again in trouble at 92 for 7.
Some dogged batting from the tail and few a few late blows took the score to 147 at tea, surely not enough on this pitch? Rowlands mopped up the tail with 2 for 12 off 6 overs, while Ouzounidis returned for his 4th wicket.
Mike Rowlands, in fine form last week, carried on this week. He smote the 3rd ball of the innings for 4 and had hit 4 convincing boundaries by the end of the 4th over to give his team a flyer. 36 was added for the first with before Charles fell leg before. Whitley and Rowlands advanced the score to 55 before Whitley was also adjudged adjacent. Rowlands went soon after for a bombastic 41 tamely hitting a high full toss to mid on.
A fine half century stand followed between Si Gee and Arthur Brummitt both batting assertively against some demanding bowling. Gee fell with half an eye on the rain for 31 and when Brummitt went in similar vein for 24, the jitters started. Wright and Bennion fell with indeterminate shots and so it was left to Chris Charles and Lee Ainsworth to get the team home. They did so with aplomb. Charles struck 12 not out and Ainsworth 9 not out to take the team to victory, 25 points and 3rd spot in the league. Just 4 behind Lindow and 22 behind leaders Barrow.
Another valuable 25 points came Alvanley’s way on Saturday with a hard fought win at Mobberley and the win narrows the gap to second spot to just 11 points as Alvanley climb to 4th.
Chris Charles elected to bowl first on a green pitch. He and Billy Ouzounidis found bounce and movement with the new ball and were both rewarded as Ouzounidis bowled Beresford-Ince in the second over and Charles found the edge of the dangerous Butters’ bat in the 3rd over to leave Mobberley 10 for 3. Another victim for Ouzounidis in the 4th over as he bowled Morris and it wasn’t long before he had his 3rd, trapping Edwards in front at 23 for 4.
Lee Ainsworth was less consistent than usual mixing up some wayward stuff with some absolute pearlers! He bowled Goodstadt and Mountney and then the dangerous Aqueel to keep Alvanley on top at 83/7. Sophie Ecclestone came on next and she bowled with great control, threatening both edges of the bat. Some boundaries came at the other end but Sophie was rewarded with 2 wickets for just 17 runs off 8 good overs. One of these wickets had Ainsworth to thank. His left handed screamer was right out of the top draw. Ouzounidis returned to take the last wicket as Mobberley closed on 130. A tricky target on a wicket that was showing signs of big turn.
Alvanley began like a train! Ste Charles was quickly on to anything short but after a recent fallow period, Mike Rowlands showed real character and took the attack to the bowlers. He cracked 4 sixes and 3 fours as Alvanley raced to 56 in just 8 overs. Both openers were quickly withdrawn, well beaten by Alvanley’s opening pair. Butters first over went for another big six to Rowlands but there were signs of hard times to come, with the ball spinning and bouncing alarmingly at times.
Charles fell trying to advance down the wicket at 60 for 1. Rowlands and Whitley moved it on to 71 before Whitley fell to an outstanding catch at slip. Rowlands and Andy Bennion took the score to 91 with Bennion now the aggressor but when Rowlands fell having just raised his bat for 50, the target seemed a long way off. Si Gee came and went quickly and Mobberley had their tails up. Bennion elected to drop anchor and together with Arthur Brummitt, singles became the order of the day. The pair took the chase to 117 before Brummitt was bowled through the gate. Any nerves were quashed by Bennion and Chris Wright (8 not out), the pair smote a few boundaries to end the game with 25 overs and 5 wickets to spare. Bennion ended on 34 not out.
As draws go this was a good one with plenty of runs and countless swings of fortune, but ultimately Alvanley had to settle for 14 points as the visitors penultimate pair repelled the final few overs.
Alvanley chose to bat first on a flat straw coloured pitch but made an ignominious start as Rowlands fell early to the new ball. Jon Whitley and Ste Charles regained control, taking the score to 33 when Whitley chopped on to his stumps for 17. The rebuild was left to Charles and Si Gee and the two left hander looked in little trouble against accurate bowling. At drinks Alvanley had progressed to 74 for two and with 20 overs to go to 97. With wickets in hand this was a decent base. Charles raised his bat for a well controlled 51 but fell to a rare seaming delivery immediately after. When McDermott departed in the 36th over, suddenly Alvanley were in need of an injection of quick runs, 118/4.
Andy Bennion joined Gee and the pair quickly upped the rate by pushing the field back and then running keenly. The pair added 64 in just 8 overs and including yet another bat raise for the consistent Gee. Bennion fell at 181 for a 28-ball 42 but Wright Ouzounidis and particularly Chris Charles ensured the rate ticked over. Gee was out for a classy 69 and he was the chief contributor to a decent 233 for 7 at tea.
Christleton came out to attack the new ball and added 42 in 7 overs before Bajwa was undone by Chris Charles. An early change at the field end saw England spinner Sophie Ecclestone introduced. She found flight and dip but very little turn on this great pitch. It is tribute to her control and field placings that she therefore went for just 21 runs of 12 classy overs, including the scalp of Joseph.
With the run rate back under control, Charles rang the changes after he picked up his second victim, well caught by Ouzounidis. At 25 overs Alvanley had control as Christleton teetered at 84 for 4 (Rowlands grabbing the 4th wicket.)
Morgan Jones was proving the mainstay for the visitors and he went on to compile 71 before the returning Ouzounidid trapped him LBW. 137/5.
Gittens took the attack back to Alvanley playing some aggressive drives but good feild placings slowed his scoring down and Jimmy Ecclestone’s spell proved pivotal in stemming the runs and then removing Gittens, brilliantly caught by sister Sophie at point.
Another wicket for Ouzounidis took Alvanley within two wickets of the win but numbers 9 and 10 dug in and secured a draw in what was a very decent game, played in good spirit. 14 points takes the Alv up to 4th and close enough to second spot with 10 games to go.
If you like dramatic cricket, you should take some time to watch Alvanley. This tense, low scoring game went right down to the wire and it was Alvanley that held their nerve for a priceless 25 points.
An dry, uneven surface encouraged Chris Charles to bowl first and this decision was vindicated as the hosts slumped from a promising 30 for 1 to to 35 for 4 all the time looking like the next wicket was imminent as Charles himself, Billy Ouzounidis and then Lee Ainsworth found bounce and plenty of sideways movement on offer. Having taken the first wicket, Charles encouraged Hassain to drive uppishly for his second and in the meantime Ouzounidis trapped Fish in front and Ainsworth began his spell with a caught behind. The 20th over began with Mo Hasaan on strike. He clearly decided enough was enough and summarily swung 22 off this over to wrestle some momentum back to the home team. 74 for looked threatening but his assertiveness came to an end when Ainsworth swung one on to his edge which then traveled into Gee’s grateful gloves. That was the end of the resistance as Ainsworth became unplayable. His bounce and movement was beating the edge 4 or 5 times per over and his eventual 5 for 12 was just deserts for a supreme spell. Jimmy Ecclestone weighed in with a wicket and run out to end proceedings in the 29th over for 98.
On this surface with a large slow outfield this was always going to be a tricky chase…..and so it proved.
JJ Strydom opened the bowling for Cheadle Hulme and he put in a cracking display of seam bowling. He found Rowland’s edge in the first over to give his team a lift and plenty of hope. Wilson was bowling slow medium from the other end and was proving to be difficult to score off – an effective combination. Wilson was fortunate to remove Whitley as the Kiwi was given out caught of his thigh pad and at 7 for 2, alrm bells were ringing. This worsened as Ste Charles miscued a hook for an otherwise assured 8 and then McDermott was trapped on the pads at 23 for 4! This became 32 for 5 when Chris Charles became Strydom’s 4th victim. Gee’s 1 hour vigil was going well until he was Strydom’s next wicket for 12. 37 for 6. This situation got even worse when Baxter fell next ball and Ecclestone went for 1 on 43 leaving the tail 56 to find with just 2 wickets left.
The batsmen in the firing line were Andy Bennion and Lee Ainsworth. They dug in and tried their best to blunt the bowling while picking up the occasional single. They expanded this approach to some well judged twos and a very occasional boundary. With surprisingly few alarms, the pair got through the 50 partnership and then added a rush of twos to take their team home with 2 wickets and 35 overs to spare. Ainsworth ended with a fine 27 not out and Bennion and obdurate 20 not out to much relief and a smattering of celebration!
The 25 points takes Alvanley up a place and to within 11 points of the promotion spots.
24/06/17 v Lindow. ACC 187/6, LCC 136ao. Win, 25. [scorecard]
With the gap between Alvanley and 2nd spot at 47 points, this game became a bit of a ‘make or break’ if Alvanley are going to harbour promotion ambitions come September.
Things didn’t begin well. By 1.10pm, Alvanley had lost the loss, been put into bat and had lost the two key wickets of Rowlands and Whitley to some demanding new ball bowling. The score then hardly moved as Ste Charles and Si Gee attempted the rebuild. 8 for 2 of 9 overs on a good pitch tells the story. Slowly but surely though these two were able to rotate the strike and occasionally find the rope and at 47 for 2 off 20, Alvanley were beginning to set a base. This became 65 for at drinks and this progression continued to the 35th over when Charles’ vigil finally came to an end for a fighting 36. The pair had added 93 highly important runs and set a platform for the middle order to kick on.
The impetus came from Chris Charles who blasted an imperious 30 from just 15 deliveries including 3 big sixes to take the score on to 139 with 8 overs to go. In the meantime Gee had passed 50 and looked to be set in to go the distance. A feature of his innings is the number of 1s and 2s and lack of dots during the second half of his innings – highly mature stuff! He took his team to 183 at tea and found himself agonisingly short of a maiden 1st XI ton, at 97 not out. This came off 137 balls and included 10 boundaries.
Lindow are 2nd in the league and this was not a particularly high target so Alvanley’s bowlers needed a good start. This was delivered by captain Chris Charles. He snicked off Braddock for 0 and Butt for 6 and when brother Steve ran out the prolific OBrien, Lindow were reeling at 34/3. Jimmy Ecclestone came on as part of a double change and as he often does, struck in his first over to reduce Lindow to 37/4. A stand of 25 followed before Ecclestone struck again, prompting the visitors to go on the counter attack. Tyler and Castellas turned up the scoring rate and for a while the visitors threatened a comeback. This was happening during a high quality spell for Lee Ainsworth who looked to be having one of those luckless days. At 100/5 and both batsmen set in their 30s Ainsworth, sticking to his guns duly removed both to swing the game firmly back Alvanley’s way. 103/7
Chris Charles ran out Matthews to illustrate Alvanley’s dynamic ground fielding but an other obdurate mini-stand followed. 121/8 with 10 overs left called for hero of many a recent game Billy Ouzounidis. He returned for a second spell and within 8 balls removed numbers 9 and 10 to seal a famous win by the seemingly comfortable margin of 51 runs and with 7.4 overs to spare.
Alvanley rise to 5th in the table with the gap to second reduced to just 25 points.
Just one game away from finals day proved to be a step too far for Alvanley who ran into a very good Neston team. Missing several key players, Alvanley will rue the short notice given to play this game, but nothiong should be taken away from Neston who were excellent in all departments.
Their 182 was 40 over par with Stokes the fulcrum of the innings stroking 55. Sophie Ecclestone, Mike Rowlands and Billy Ouzounidis had reasonable bowling returns for the Alv.
In reply the innings never got going and with nobody passing 16, Alvanley ended well short on 93/8.
The whole T20 campaign has to be judged as a great success and a platform to go a step further next year?
Following a dry week and blistering temperatures Alvanley were expecting a hard dry pitch on Saturday. Instead the found a wet green pitch and duly lost the toss and were put into bat! 20 for 3 was the result as the top order struggled with the low bounce and slow nature of the pitch. Ian McDermott and Si Gee dug in to get the score looking reasonable before Gee dragged on to his stumps. Chris Wright soon followed, playing to early to a popping ball and at 45 for 5, trouble was rife! Andy Bennion joined McDermott and the pair defended stoically hoping the pitch might dry in the baking sun. Bennion though was unable to get past 11 and soon after McDermott abandoned the approach that got him 22 runs and run past a ball to expose the tail with plenty of overs left. Baxter played a rash shot also and so it was left to Chris Charles, Lee Ainsworth and Billy Ouzinidis to get their team up to three figures.
Charles sat in while first Ainsworth and then Ouzounidis took the attack to the bowlers. Ouzounidis, Fresh from his T20 heroics played a brilliant cameo. He blocked well and then with 3 overs to go, unfurled some magnificent shot to reach 44 and his team, a decent enough 153. Charles was unbeaten on 11.
The wicket was certainly drying and flattening but Alvanley believed that they had enough to defend 153. The openers had other ideas and batted well to add 74 before Chris Charles removed Holt. The score went on to 116 for 1 when Ste Charles outstanding frugal spell was finally rewarded, bowling Badrock for 16. Ainsworth, swinging the ball viciously took out Rolph for 46 and despite the home team only needing 34 more, Alvanley felt well in the game. Chris Wright’s throw was too good for De Souza and then Ste Charles, Rowlands and Ainsworth all chipped in to reduce Romily to 147 for 7. Crucially the bowlers were going for very few runs and the fielding was outstanding. This boiled down to 6 needed off two overs.
Ainsworth nearly snared Leech in the penultimate over but that resulted in 4 runs. The rest were dots though and 2 were needed off the last over. Ste Charles had bowled his allocation, so Skipper Chris Charles turned to his leggie, Mike Rowlands. He bowled two dots and then went for a single. He then bowled two more dots, bamboozling the batsman with dip and turn. The last ball came and an attempted sweep hit the pad and the leg bye was completed. Wild celebrations broke out before the finger was raised to give the batsman out leg before and this enthrawling and competitive game was tied.
Brilliant fielding, bowling and ‘never say die’ attitude from the Alvanley lads. Neston next in the quarters, followed by Lindow on Saturday
15/06/17 v Boughton Hall. ACC 125/9, CBHCC 118/9. Win. Through to the quarters! [scorecard]
A winner takes all group decider was at stake as Alvanley hosted Chester Boughton Hall in Group 3’s final round of games. Opponents, Boughton Hall were National T20 winners in 2015, so this was as tough an assignment as they come for Alvanley.
Alvanley chose to bat first in front a very decent crows and got off to a flyer with Andy Bennion Mike Rowland and Lee Ainsworth all hitting speedy double figures scores in the powerplay. None were able to go on and make significant scores but 54 in that powerplay represented a great start.
This was the the theme of the innings as lots of batsmen contributed but nobody went big. The glue was provided by Si Gee (21 and Jonno Whitley (19) and the coup de grace provided by Billy Ouzounidis who strode in with 1 ball to go at number 11 and hit an enormous six to boost the score to 125.
Boughton Hall go off to a flyer too with 20 coming from the first two overs. Stand up Billy Ouzounidis. He produced the ball of the day to bowled Warren Goodwin and for the rest of the powerplay, he and Ste Charles dried things up, restricting the visitors to just 34.
Mike Rowlands replaced Charles and Lee Ainsworth replaces Ouzounidis and the next passage of play was all about attrition as the bowlers gave little away and the fielding was top draw. McDermott’s tumbling catch saw off Dixon and as wickets began to tumble, so did the scoring rate. Rowlands can be delighted with 2 for 14 off his 4 overs.
The game entered the closing stages. Chris Charles stopped the prolific Ollie law, now past 50, from hitting boundaries and the game boiled up to the last over with 13 needed.
That man Ouzounidis was entrusted with the ball. If you could order the perfect over, this was it. Billy bowled two batsmen and ran another out to give Alvanley a seven run victory, without doubt the club’s finest in its 150 years+ history.
For the first time Alvanley are through to the semi finals, where they will face Neston.
Alvanley’s game against Bredbury on Saturday was a game of three halves!
Bredbury batted first on a wet pitch – heavy rain had poured down the slope and under the covers overnight.
It was really tough going as Billy Ouzinidis and Chris Charles found vertical variation. Wicket soon started to tumble and at 30 for 6, the game seemed to be heading Alvanley’s way. Nuttall stuck around and worked hard to keep his wicket in tact and was rewarded by an hour and a half of steady rain. this had the effect of making the pitch slick and the ball wet. He and the tail cashed in and boosted the score to an improbable 133 all in the 50th over.
The covers came on for tea and an hour was lost as the rain fell. The game eventually got underway with 8 overs lost to the rain. This was the third half to this odd game. Alvanley’s openers found life tough as the visitors medium pacers found bounce and variation in a drying surface. Only Ste Charles coped enough to pass 20 as the rest of the batsmen came and went. With over running out a last charge was made by Chris Charles and Lee Ainsworth but alas Ainsworth fell in that charge and it was left to the skipper and Ouzinidis to secure the draw – 100/9
Alvanley showed plenty of fight to win this tricky fixture at Tattenhall with a second half that showed all their finest qualities.
Tattenhall asked Alvanley to bat first and with an an experienced, accurate attack, it was clear that run scoring was going to be difficult. Rowlands was trapped in front in the first over but there followed a serene period where Ste Charles and Jonno Whitley were comfortable without ever breaking free. Whitley perished at 30 for 2 and there followed a similar stand between Charles and Chris Wright and at 70 for 3 a base was being established. Wright was replaced by Gee and all this time Charles was accumulating steadily until he reached a gritty 50. He fell soonafter and there followed a bit of a procession. As overs were running out the batsmen tried to up the rate but found the going difficult. Si Gee stood alone stroking a relatively assured 31 before perishing in the deep. A few scurried runs from the tail took the score to 142 and left the game in the balance at tea.
This notion was proved wrong by Alvanley’s opening bowlers. Their height exploited previously undiscovered life in the pitch and they regularly hit splices and gloves. Billy Ouzinidis removed Sadler in his first over and the second wicket pair found both Ouzinidis and Charles a real handful. Prince went next find Wright’s hands at cover and when Kettle went LBW to Ouzinidis, Tattenhall were reeling at 15 for 3. Windell followed next bowled by the excellent Ouzinidis whose opening spell yielded 3 for 15. Charles switched ends and brother Steve slotted into the ‘into the wind’ end. His accurate start was rewarded with the key wicket of Coppack who edged to Gee. 26 for 5. Chris Charles then gave Harding at ‘going over’ and after a couple of high blows, removed his middle stump. Ste Charles tempted Gibbon to hit to cover and 35 for 8 was a dream scenario for the Alv.
A stubborn resistance followed led by Dobson but Jimmy Ecclestone found a way of ending a 40 run partnership, trapping Forster in front. Rowlands provided the coup de grace and at 89 all out Alvanley could be well satisfied with a gritty win and a gutsy performance.
01/06/17 at home Barrow in the J Holt T20 Group stage. ACC 159/8. BCC 151/6. Win [scorecard]
Alvanley and Barrow played out a fabulous game of T20 cricket on a glorious evening, in front of a sizable crowd and and a cracking pitch.
Alvanley chose to bat first and got away to a dream start as the first over disappeared for 12 as Mike Rowlands enjoyed pace on the pink ball. Andy Bennion too started well spanking his first ball for 4 and after 4 overs the pair had added 55 runs! Bennion was first to depart, attempting to emulate an enormous six, but losing his off stump for 27. Rowlands was not finished and drove with immense power to rattle to 46 before running himself out!
The remainder of the innings came in fits and starts with Wright, Gee, Ainsworth and Chris Charles all reaching double figures. 159 for 8 was deemed around about par, so work to do.
Ste Charles and Billy Ouzinidis provided their captain with the perfect start bowling with control and with their field settings in mind. The start was made even better by Ben Aveyard’s brilliant piece of boundary fielding being too good for Metcalf who was run out out without facing. The powerplay got even better for Alvanley when Ainsworth nicked off the prolific De Silva to the grateful Gee behind the stumps. The powerplay yielded just 31 runs for two wickets. Ainsworth made further inroads in the 7th over removing Reid but the next partnership was likely to test Alvanley. Johnson joined McClements and the pair batted positively to take the game back to the bowlers. In the midst of this Rowlands snook in a very tidy spell of 4 overs for 25, but the pair remained at the crease and when a flurry of sixes tipped had the game slightly towards Barrow, it took a steepling boundary catch from Bennion to calm the nerves. Death bowling of the highest order then came from Chris Charles and Billy Ouzinidis and the Barrow effort ended 9 short. A thrilling game went Alvanley’s way and sets up a group decider at home v Boughton Hall on the 15th June.
27/05/17 at home v Northwich. ACC 202/9, NCC 206/6. Lose 10 points. [scorecard]
Alvanley and Northwich fought out a thrilling game at Frodsham Road on Saturday, a game whose fortunes swung dramatically one way and another until in the final over the last twist saw the visitors run out winners.
A belting pitch housed this game and Alvanley were grateful to have first bat on it. Mike Rowlands and Ste Charles batted with caution at first against an accurate spin / seam combination operating with the new ball. Gradually they worked the ball into gaps to lift the rate and then came some crisp bounadries as drinks came with the pair still in command at 91/0.
The 28th over saw the first wicket as Charles was stumped over balancing for a typically aesthetic and hard working 40. Chris Jones looked to up the rate with a couple of fine sweeps, a theme continued briefly by Andy Bennion. The loss of these two, in the same passage of play as Rowlands saw a stark change in fortunes at 142/4. Rowlands’ 67 was excellent, full of wholesome drives and clever placement and included 9 boundaries.
Wickets continued to fall, more a case of throwing wickets away rather than demanding bowling or conditions. 148/6, 155/7 and 163/8 were well below what is expected – slapped wrists awaited the middle order. Arthur Brummitt belied his youthful age with a highly mature 21 not out, well supported by a disciplined 20 by Lee Ainswoth. At least 200 was achieved but this was 30 below par in these conditions
Northwich began confidently against probing new ball bowling from Chris Charles and Ainsworth, with Tapsfield in particularly fine form. A quick change to spin brought an instant reward as Ste Charles persuaded Cherion to find Ben Aveyard’s hands at deep square. The score moved smoothly to 70 when from nowhere, Jimmy Ecclestone executed a brilliant run out to remove Wathwickarge. Anoth hefty stand followed as Glyn Cherion joined tapsfield. Charles tried all options to part them but determined batting won this period of play. Control was never lost and the overs suddenly began to run down.
The return of Answorth and Charles swung the game round Both the mainstays were dismissed by sharp catches in the corden. A period of play followed where ball dominated bat. Evans and Walker struggled in dimming light and edges were falling just out of reach at least once an over. The corden moved ever closer and Chris Wright was rewarded with a sharp catch to snaffle Evans. 176/5 with 6 overs left!
More tight bowling brought the equation down to 13 off two and when Wright ran out Dufty, 11 was needed off the last over. Ainsworth had bowled beautifully but he was to be on the end of the final twist. Walker, until now circumspect, pressed the gamble button and struck the jackpot, nailing a 6 and two fours to win the game.
Work to do for Alvanley who welcome some key players back this coming week against Barrow in the T20 on Thursday and and Tattenhall on Saturday
Alvanley travelled to Barrow in a top of the table clash on Saturday knowing a win could see them leapfrog the hosts in to top spot. In a game reduced to 37 overs per side due to early rain, Alvanley won the toss and elected to bowl first on what looked like a good Barrow wicket. After a flurry of early boundaries, Sophie Ecclestone made the breakthrough, removing Reid for 34. This brought McClements to the crease and he proceeded to play positively on his way to 54 before being removed by Michael Rowlands. The rest of the Barrow batting order played around this and after a few lusty blows near the end, they closed on 176 for 8, Sophie Ecclestone finishing with 3 for 36.
In reply, Alvanley got off to a slow start and lost Ste Charles early on. Barrow bowled accurately and with some good fielding managed to put the brakes on the Alvanley innings completely. Wickets were lost trying to increase the run rate in search of victory but the shackles couldn’t be broken. The task was too great with the reduction in overs so Simon Gee and Sam Baxter calmly batted out the remaining overs, with the innings closing on 80 for 6. Iroshan De Silva was the pick of the Barrow bowlers with 3-17 with Mike Rowlands making 24 for Alvanley. A disappointing day with the opportunity to go top of the league on the line, Alvanley will look to bounce back to winning ways when they welcome Northwich this week.
Alvanley faced bogey side Stockport on Saturday on a good track at the Alv but likely to offer some assistance to the new ball bowlers. This proved to be Stockport who won the toss and asked Alvanley to have first hit. Probing new ball bowling was expertly repelled by Mike Rowlands and Ste Charles and they eased to 27 in 8 overs when surprisingly Rowlands edged behind for 17. Charles carried on with Ian McDermott to 41 before he was bowled for 19. Chris Wright joined the fray and the the 3rd wicket pair added runs carefully and with few alarms and at drinks, 90 for 2 was a good platform. Drinks brought about a refreshed bowling attach and McDermott (20), Wright (30) and Baxter (4) all fell before the score had gone much past the 100.
103 for 5 was a problem with just 18 overs to go and 200 seemingly par score. There followed a crisp stand of 79 between Si Gee and Andy Bennion. Both spotted singles and twos and put the ball over the rope regularly enough. Bennion fell for 35, just before Gee raised his bat for an important 50. The tail wagged enough to get the team past 200, with the last wicket falling in the last over at 205.
Stockport had to face some excellent new ball bowling from Chris Charles and Billy Ouzinidis. The former was so unlucky not to take at least a couple of scalps. Ouzinidis on the other hand removed both openers for a well deserved spell of 7 overs 2 for 14. Alvanley’s taller bowlers seemed to get more life and movement out of the pitch and the batsmen regularly played and missed. Ste Charles nipped in with a cracker to remove Jatoi but a stand of 73 put the game back on an even keel. The key wicket was Danny barber who had hit a run-a-ball 58 before Rowlands’ legspin trapped him in front. A strange passage followed where the game seemed to be ambling to a tame draw. Then from nowhere, a flurry of shots came and the away team strove for the win. With shot came wickets and Rowlands and Ste Charles benefitted from the field end while Lee Ainsworth was bowling a highly skillful spell at the road end. His 14 overs passed the edge of the bat with such regularity that he was almost unplayable. his two late wickets (he deserved many more) put an end to Stockport’s victory hopes and set up a tense finish as an array of slips and short legs sought the final wicket for an Alvanley win. Alas it never came and a winning draw was the reward for an excellent day’s cricket.
Alvanley suffered their first defeat at the hands of Brooklands but made a good fight of the second half after an indifferent first half.
After getting their wish at the toss, Alvanley were happy to bat first on a pitch that looked like it would be slow and may break up. Ste Charles and Mike Rowlands opened up but apart from the odd play and miss, looked in good touch adding 20 for the first wicket when Charles was adjudged not to have edged the ball on to his pad and was sent on his way LBW. Rowlands suffered a similar fate given out caught behind and when Chris Wright trudged off, Alvanley were in trouble at 35 for 3. Jonno Whitley was making the game look easy with a number of fluent drives but wicket continued to fall. Gee flipped a catch to midwicket and Jones was bowled cheaply. Whitley, eased into the 20s but then got the ball of the day, as hart got one to rear at him from a length. Bennion soon followed and at 50 for 7, the game looked gone. Chris Charles was joined by Jimmy Ecclestone, both batting for the first time this season. They carefully covered the variable bound and lateral movement and gradually nudged the score up. Ecclestone got too ambitious and joined the procession of batsmen caught in the ring, but Lee Ainsworth carried on his good work in keep his captain company. Charles was in control, defending well, running cheeky singles. Ainsworth added the mightiest of sixes to edge past 100 but his soon perished, caught behind. A few lust blows from Charles took the score to 117 before he was bowled for an excellent 40 and an early tea was taken.
Brooklands came out swinging in their reply. Too ambitiously really as Charles found steep bounce and the edge found the flying Gee to complete a brilliant catch and get Alvanley rolling. The flogging continued and the score careered to 43 for 1 in the 7th over without Alvanley doing much wrong. This approach became Brooklands’ undoing as wicket began to fall. Rowlands struck with his first ball, the excellent catch completed by Ste Charles. Lee Ainsworth introduction brought speedy rewards as he sent down a series of impressive overs. This combination reduced Brooklands to 55 for 5 – game on!
A stand between Hart and Hart frustrated Alvanley for a while but half chances and near misses littered this passage of play. Eventually luck went with Alvanley as Jimmy Ecclestone found the edge. 75 for 6! AJ Hart continued to ride his luck, interspersed with some fine shots and he, in combination with the gutsy Law, nudged their way to the win. Credit to Alvanley bowlers but to win games like these, the tough chances have to be taken. Lesson learned
Stockport are next, followed by Hawk Green away in the NVKO on Sunday and Christleton in the T20 Cup on Thursday 18th
28/04/17 at home Mobberley. MCC 157ao, ACC 158/3. Win 25 points [scorecard]
Alvanley made it two out of two with a second convincing win of the season, this time cruising past Mobberley’s 157 for the loss of just 3 wickets.
The toss was again secured by Chris Charles and again he chose to bowl in cool conditions. Billy Ouzinidis swung the ball from the outset and the removed Morris’ off stump in the 3rd over to get his team off to a flyer. This brought in Aussie Nick Butters and he made his intentions clear from the outset, advancing at the bowlers and playing big shots. The second picket pair added a breezy 40 before Butters tried a bit too hard and Ouzinidis duly rearranged his stumps also.
Jimmy Ecclestone and Lee Ainsworth replaced the openers and as last week found wickets came freely! Ecclestone struck with his second ball and by the 23rd over, the visitors were reduced to 75/5 as these two tall seamers found enough swing and seam to trouble the middle order.
A troublesome stand followed but superb ground fielding, in particular led by Ste Charles and Chris Jones meant control was maintained. Ainsworth persevered to dismiss the dangerous Aqueel, well pouched by Ecclestone in the deep but the next pair took the score to 153 and respectability. Ecclestone though had other ideas and added another brace to give him for for the day. Ouzinidis grabbed a late wicket too as the innings closed at 157all out after 47 overs.
Alvanley began quickly with Ste Charles looking in top form and Mike Rowlands flogging boundaries in a hurry. He though perished at mid on for 25 and Charles soon followed adjudged caught behind for 15. Jonno Whitley and Chris Wright steadied things for while, taking the score to 74 before Wright used his leading edge to perish at mid on.
The rest was consummate and forthright! Last week’s 9 wicket man Aqueel was repelled and the rest of the attack dismantled and Whitley and Si Gee batted powerfully and skillfully to impose an unbeaten 84 stand on their opponents. Both imperious on the drive and ingenious in stealing singles, it was a pleasure to watch. Victory was realised with 19 overs and 7 wickets to spare. Gee 40 not out and Whitley 54 not can be happy with their contributions and their form.
Alvanley began the season with an emphatic 6 wicket win at neighbours Christleton. A glorious day and fabulous outfield and pitch greeted the teams and Skipper Chris Charles decided that the best course of action would be to invite the home team to bat first.
Alvanley’s opening bowlers – Charles himself and Billy Ouzinidis began well hitting good lengths and giving little away. Lively ground fielding backed the bowlers up and after 16 overs the score had limped to 26 for 0. It was a change of bowling that brought wickets. Lee Ainsworth quickly settled and looked dangerous. He bowled Wells for 11 and could have had more on another day. His frugal spell ended and Jimmy Ecclestone took his place. Bowling a full length and getting some movement off the pitch, Ecclestone tore through the middle order. He reduced the home side to 88 for 7 with cracking figures of 5 for 31 off 10 excellent overs. 3 of his victims found the bucket hands of Lee Ainsworth. Ste Charles had chipped in with a wicket, well snaffled at slip, but there was to be a dramatic twist in this innings. The lower order decided to take a chance and throw the bat. It worked the last 13 overs more than doubled the score as O’Connell, Abiden and Shazad all contributed to take the score to a par 212. Ouzinidis returned to grab two late wickets.
Alvanley needed a solid start and how the openers delivered! Mike Rowlands and Ste Charles looked well in control against the new ball and scored quickly enough to keep the rest of the team calm. The pair added an imperious 105 before Charles snicked off an 42, including 7 classy 4s. Rowlands went on to a solid 50 but fell to an otherwise fruitful hook shot for 53 soon after.
Debutant Kiwi, Jonno Whitley was joined by Chris Wright and the pair consolidated well. Whitley looks a fine player and his 17 showed plenty of promise for the season ahead. There were to be no jitters. Wright and Si Gee upped the ante and score freely to post 60 for the 3rd wicket before Gee fell for a classy 27. A few tight overs meant that the game was going to go down to the last few overs but Wright and Andy Bennion were in control. They found the boundary and scampered singles of take their team home with 3 balls and 6 wickets to spare. Wright’s 43 not out was mature and pull off crisply times shots. A fine victory then for Alvanley against a determined Christleton team, it should also be noted that the game was played in a good spirit.
Alvanley host Mobberley next week, hoping to build on this promising start.
Alvanley CC is delighted to welcome Jonno Whitly to these shores. He joins us for the Summer from New Zealand and is a middle order batsman. Also over from New Zealand is former ACC Junior Ben Aveyard, a stylish young player with bags of potential. Lee Ainsworth also rejoins after a year’s sabbatical working and another returner is Billy Ouzinidis who comes back after a year at Neston. Welcome too to Michael Weale and Mark Enwistle, both batsman joining the club for the first time.
Stagsuits, a company based in Chester that supply’s interesting suits for stag parties, is the new 1st XI Sponsor. They have supplied training / T20 Cup kit for the 1st XI. Our heartfelt thanks go out to them!