13/09/14 v Warrington. WCC 191ao, ACC 193/5. Win 25 [scorecard]
Alvanley had set themselves a target of top four at the start of the season and they wrapped that target up by a whopping 54 points after soundly beating Warrington on Saturday. In fact Alvanley only ended 12 points behind Stockport in 3rd. It has been a fine season.
Warrington were asked to bat first on a hard quick pitch at ACC. They went off like a house on fire with a shot a ball being played, until keeper Steve Charles ran out Clutterblack with a brilliant direct hit. No further alarms came for Warrington despite a probing opening spell from Lee Ainsworth. At 55 for 1, it was captain Chris Charles who grabbed the next wicket, inducing an edge behind. When he bowled the dangerous Heaney with a beauty soon after, Alvanley would have been satisfied with 59 for 3.
The 4th wicket yielded 56 runs as opener Kirby was joined by Aussie Adams. They counter-attacked well but were kept in check by 7 mature overs from 16 year old Joe Hornby and the wily leg-spin of Mike Rowlands. It was Rowlands’ googly that ended the partnership and soon after he induced a loft shot from Heaphy – Jon Suckley taking an awkward catch at mid-wicket. 137/5.
Jon Suckley, soon after being floored by a vicious drive into the privates was pressed into action with the cricket ball and his miserly seam soon brought rewards, removing Chadderton and MacIntosh cheaply. 150/7. Kirby was still there, passing 50 and showing that sound technique and patience worked on this wonderful pitch. A troublesome 8th wicket partnership ended with another Rowlands googly and soon after Ainsworth returned to end the innings at a below par 191. Rowlands ended with 3 for 34 off 13 excellent overs
Alvanley’s openers – that man Rowlands and Will Speakman rattled along, showing a particular appetite for the pacy Adams. Rowlands played some outstanding shots but none better that a flat pull shot of the Aussie that went almost for 6. His 38 was classy, entertaining and deflating for the opposition. Ste Charles came and went quickly, perhaps unluckily and at 73 for 2, Alvanley were reminded that much work lay ahead. With the slow bowlers taking over the run rate dropped and when on 43, Speakman tried and failed to breach the ring and was caught. An excellent knock from Speakman, confirming a return to form. 90/3.
Si Gee and Jon Suckley are a very handy 4th wicket pair and so they proved. Their well paced stand of 76 put the game beyond their visitors. Gee paced his innings perfectly before perishing at mid off for a typically classy 39. Chris Jones bristled with positivity but tried a shot too many so it was left to Andy Bennion and Jon Suckley to see the team over the line. Suckley had displayed all his quality and fighting spirit and passed 50 to take the team to the brink. He then smashed Adams for a 6 and a four to win the game with 5 wickets and 16 balls to spare.
This was a well judged chase by Alvanley and they can look forward to even better times next season with a young squad and a hunger for even better times.
Alvanley’s determination to hone in on the pre-season target of 4th spot showed through in a hard fought win at Northwich. Alvanley chose to bowl first and were faced with a very aggressive start by the home team as Burns ran down the wicket to every ball. Ken Roberts bowled the more placid Gittens but is would be the 13th over until the next scalp. Ainsworth at last getting reward, finding the alert Chris Charles, placed very close at 2nd slip. Walker and Burns carried on building and at 82 had established a base for a decent total. After a frugal spell from young Joe Hornby, Chris Charles removed Walker with his first ball – brother Steve taking an exceptional catch behind. 82/3
Charles then sat in from one end while Jon Suckley, then Mike Rowlands took the road end. Suckley proved particularly hard to score off but the wicket came from the other end as Charles found the knack of ending bothersome partnerships. The bowling was backed up with a decent fielding display – Ainsworth taking a sharp catch and exacting a crucial run out, while Ste Charles had a brave display behind the stumps as the ball was invariably coming through on the bounce. Charles ended with 4 for 45 as the hosts finished with 182. A decent score boosted by the late hitting by Sefton.
Alvanley went off like a train – or rather Mike Rowlands did! He clattered 37 out of 42 for the first wicket before eventually being adjudged leg before. A mini-collapse saw the team go from 42 to 48 with Will Speakman and Ste Charles joining Rowlands in the shed.
Jon Suckley joined Si Gee for another one-sided partnership. Suckley dug in at a crucial time while Gee looked a million dollars and kept the board ticking. Suckley’s 70 minute 9 runs was an essential part of partnership of 43 that steadied the ship. The next partnership (42) – Gee and Andy Hayhurst turned the screw tighter before the latter missed an off cutter by the excellent Sam Shepherd for 19.
Andy Bennion ensured that the draw would not feature, hitting a breezy 23 and taking the team to within 16 runs of the win. When he and then Gee fell in succession, their were a few nerves in the ACC camp. Gee’s 64 was of the highest quality. Well paced and the ball well placed, he was the picture of serenity yet clinical in putting opportunities away. With the nerves jangling, Kenny Roberts and Skipper Charles were tasked with finishing the job. Roberts made quick work of it, flicking a six and slashing a four to seal 4th spot.
This was a particularly decent chase on a tricky pitch against one of the league’s finest bowlers.
30/08/14 v Weaverham. ACC 138ao, WCC 139/3. [scorecard]
Alvanley’s slim promotion hopes ended with defeat to a strong Weaverham team, who played at the top of their game and themselves gain promotion to Division 1.
Alvanley lost an important toss and were asked to bat in swinging conditions. The top order struggled against the exaggerated swing found by Kevin Douglas, but Ste Charles managed 17 while Mike Rowlands fought for 18 overs before falling for 10. Wickets clattered around the middle of the innings as the ball continued to swing but calmly carrying on amidst the carnage was Jon Suckley. He mixed judicious attack with determined defence to repel all that came his way. He lasted until the 45th over before edging a drive to point for an excellent 56. Lower order contributions from Chris Charles (21) and Ken Roberts (13no) lifted the score to 138.
Weaverham started badly as Roberts removed both openers cheaply but despite a number of good shouts and near misses, Waterhouse and Cornwall added most of the runs needed very quickly, Cornwall falling to Charles with the game all but won.
Alvanley will reflect that they did most things well but ran into a good team at the top of their game. 4th spot is still the target
Alvanley kept their slim promotion hopes alive with a clinical win over Heaton Mersey on Saturday.
Stupendous work on Saturday from Ian Charles kept the wicket dry as the ground gradually disappeared under water. A 1.30 start was a great effort by him and the team.
The wicket was flat and dry and the early signs were that it would be hard work for the bowlers. 37 runs were added before Kenny Roberts removed Khan and Cheena, reward for bowling excellent lines. 16 year old Joe Hornby was given first change and how he rewarded his captain. His 2 for 17 in 7 excellent overs highlighted his potential and took his team to a strong position. Mike Rowlands’ leg spin accounted for star player Hussain, Ste Charles taking a smart catch with the gloves and at 73 for 5 Alvanley were in a great position.
Rowlands was in fine form as his first 7 overs went for just 4 runs. The moment the 6th wicket pair tried to break his shackles a wicket fell – Bennion taking the edge at slip. The tail had no option other than attack and they did so well. Rowlands (3 for 35) and Roberts (3 for 58) kept a reasonable amount of control a midst the hitting as decent catches in the deep were held by Jon Suckley and Chris Charles but 162 was never going to be enough on this track.
This looked to be the case as Ste Charles and Mike Rowlands looked in complete control against the new ball. Both were quickly on to the short ball and both found singles intelligently to take Alvanley to 77 for the first wicket before Rowlands miscued to fall for a solid 35. Charles followed, nicking a cut for a cultured 39. when Will Speakman followed soon after, Alvanley at 95 for 3 were reminded that there was still work to do. Jon Suckley and Andy Bennion ran aggressively and found the boundary regularly enough to keep the rate down to 4 an over in adding 55 in 10 overs before Suckley (24) tried a big shot too many.
Bennion paced his inning expertly, opening shoulders in the 3rd last over to power the team to parity before annoyingly getting out with 1 needed! He will be well satisfied with 39 and it was nice to see skipper Chris Charles flay the winning boundary, accompanied of the field by Andy Hayhurst. The 5 wicket win keeps Alvanley securely in 4th spot, just about in touch with 2nd place with Weaverham visiting Alvanley next.
16/08/14 at Congleton. ACC 204, CCC 146ao. Win 25 [scorecard]
Alvanley’s recent streak of ‘away day’ form continued on Saturday with an excellent win at Congleton.
Alvanley chose to bat first on a firm but green and grassy pitch. This looked to be erroneous as Ian Charles and Will Speakman were back in the shed with just 8 on the board. The next hour and a half was tough going as the home bowlers found uneven bounce and plenty of sideways movement, but Si Gee and Mike Rowlands were up to the task. They fought hard and put away loose deliveries clinically. Their 109 stand was of the highest quality. It was a Gee who fell first, bowled for 47 and when Rowlands fell soon after for a gritty 54, the innings was back in the balance at 125 for 4. The Andy’s Hayhurst and Bennion briefly counter attacked to get the score quickly to 150 before Bennion holed out. Chris Charles soon followed but brief partnerships between Hayhurst and Ed Speakman, Ben Tonge and Ken Roberts moved the score towards par. Hayhurst fell for a valuable 28, leaving the last pair of Roberts and 16 year old Joe Hornby to blast 21 and boost the total to a winning 204. Hornby smacked two huge sixes to underline his potential.
Congleton came out of the blocks quickly, deciding that attack was to be their best chance of survival. Kenny Roberts induced a top edged hook from Browe but the hard work was done by Mike Rowlands who’s running catch was as impressive as it was important. Roberts removed the dangerous Blease next ball – 17 for 2.
Ed Speakman then produced the spell of his life. Pace, bounce and sideways movement were too much for the home team as he removed the middle order clinically. His 4 wickets came in eight overs including 3 bowled. When Chris Charles took out dangerman Stretch and followed it with another, in just 15 overs, Congleton were reeling on 69/8.
There then followed an extraordinary passage of play. Congleton’s number 7, Booth found a doughty ally in Cardell, batting at number 10. Cardell blocked while Booth had the innings of his life, smashing 69 from just 60 balls. The pair added 77 and at 148, would have harboured hopes of an unlikely win. Enter Mike Rowlands. His legspin puzzled the batsmen and when Booth slashed at a turning ball, Bennion plucked the ball out of the air at slip to put Alvanley back in control. Soon after the final wicket fell. Again it was Rowlands finding the edge, this time finding Hayhurst at gully to wrap things up at 146.
Despite the brilliant 9th wicket stand, Alvanley can be well pleased with their 58 run win, on a tricky pitch, with several key players missing. 4th spot is looking a good bet.
Alvanley’s lingering promotion aspirations were well and truly snuffed out on Saturday by a strong Stockport performance that saw the visitors triumph by 9 wickets.
The damage was done with the bat. Early wickets fell as Stockport’s opening bowlers found swing and bounce with the new ball. Only Mike Rowlands (32), Will Speakman (27) and Andy Hayhurst (23) threatened to cash in on this flat wicket as the bowlers turned the screw. 89 for 3 was the high point but Tommy Facer had a golden spell. His 6 for 25 ripped the middle order out and left Alvanley well short at 145 all out.
The reply was emphatic. Mike Rowlands removed Hope but from here on the visitors batted with control to coast home by 9 wickets.
02/07/14 at Upton. ACC 119ao, UCC 117ao. Win 25. [scorecard]
An incredible game and an incredible win!
Alvanley were asked to bat first on a firm green wicket, which although showed a couple of wet patches, was in good order considering the deluge of rain at noon. Everything looked comfortable as Jon Suckley and Ste Charles eased to 18 before the former was sent back leg before. Charles followed in the next over and it was apparent that scoring runs and keeping wickets in tact were going to be hard work. Will Speakman and Mike Rowlands soon followed and at 31 for 4, Alvanley were struggling. That became 39 for 5 when Bennion miscued. Chris Jones followed soon after and a debacle looked likely at 50 for 6. Alvanley bat deep and in Si Gee and Jimmy Ecclestone they had two battlers at the crease. They added an invaluable 36 before Ecclestone was brilliantly held at gully for a hard working 20. Gee got the score 98 before unluckily falling LBW for a crucial and gutsy 36. When Ed Speakman followed at 106 there remained just the last pair to get some respectability on the scoreboard. Ian Charles dug in expertly while Kenny Roberts played a few shots. They looked well set when have taken the score to 119, Roberts ran Charles out. 119 was below par but gave Alvanley a chance if they bowled well.
Ed Speakman got things off to a great start trapping Roberts for 2. He then induced an edge to slip to remove the dangerous Ingram and when Roberts nicked Aussie Potter off 23 represented a great start. 41 runs were added for the 4th wicket and Alvanley looked in trouble. Jimmy Ecclestone began well and quickly broke this partnership finding Smiths edge. With pressure building, Suckley trapped dangerman Warburton and next over Ecclestone bowled Marsland to transform the board to 67 for 6. This bowling pair then dried things up with 10 runs coming off the next 8 overs. This pressure told as a untenable 2nd run was snuffed out by a brilliant throw by Gee. Stowell-Smith was run out by yards. The returning Speakman took out Maguire’s middle stump – 93 for 8. tense.
All this time Gary Dixon had been anchoring things for Upton. In Dan Williams he found an ally and the 9th wicket pair added 17 before Dixon clipped Ecclestone to Gee as Ste Charles expertly shuffled his pack. 110/9!
In a moment of genius, Charles then removed the miserly Suckley and brought on leg-spinner Mike Rowlands. He began with 2 overs for 1 run and looked threatening. Scurried leg byes and odd singles though were inching Upton to victory. Intelligent captaincy allowed Rowlands to have one last crack at the final wicket with just 3 runs needed. 2nd ball of the 49th over and the edge was found. Bennion’s hands grabbed the ball at slip and the celebrations began. Jimmy Ecclestone ended with 12 overs, 3 for 18, Ed Speakman 3 for 33.
After last weeks harsh end to the game, the win seemed twice as sweet.
A great game, played in great spirit went all the way, thankfully tipped ever so slightly towards Alvanley.
26/07/14. At home v Tattenhall. TCC 273/6, ACC 180ao. [scorecard]
An ignominious day for Alvanley ended in controversy as they lost off then last ball v Tattenhall.
Tattenhall played well and dominated the day. Batting first they lost Sadler early to the excellent Ainsworth and on another day that early lost might have become three or four wickets as the edge was passed regularly by the new ball. The next wicket however was a hundred runs away as the 2nd wicket pair survived and then flourished. Half centuries for Coppack, Thompson and Gibbon took Tattenhall way past 200 and eventually to an insurmountable 273 for 6. Andy Hayhurst bowled intelligently to bag 3 for 42.
Alvanley began the response badly with Bennion falling cheaply and Suckley getting an LBW decision off his box. Will Speakman threatened briefly but the most substantial partnership came from Ste Charles and Si Gee (28) who took the score to 110 for 3 with plenty of time left. A mini collapse however took the win out of the equation and so Ben Tonge and a variety of partners (including 22 from Kenny Roberts) set out to draw the game. The last pair of Tonge and Andy Hayhurst – batting at 11 following a finger injury – looked comfortable and took the game into the last over. The cause wasn’t helped by a tight wide and a tight height no ball being given – extending the over and the chance of a wicket. The last ball arrived and Tonge fended a beamer from in front of his face to silly point. This went un-noticed and he was given out to the despair of the home team, who waited in vain for the no ball call.
This was a bitter pill to swallow for Alvanley and Tonge in particular who had battled so hard for the draw.
Ste Charles can reflect on his own personal performance with pride. His 50 was of the highest quality. Ben Tonge ended with 25.
Alvanley returned to winning ways and closed in on the promotion spots with a convincing 5 wicket win at Irby. Without an away win since April, Alvanley chose to bowl first on a green but firm track which was in great condition given the rainy weather.
Ed Speakman removed Evans and looked dangerous finding some decent bounce early on. At the other end Kenny Roberts bowled tight lines giving little away as Irby struggled to 30 after 14 overs. Change bowlers Jon Suckley and Jimmy Ecclestone were equally difficult to score off as Skipper Chris Charles set intelligent fields. Ecclestone struck twice removing both Pedi and Newman into Bennion’s grateful hands at slip. 40 for 3 after 20 overs was a great effort from Alvanley. Now it was Suckley’s turn. He found plenty of movement and his accuracy was unerring. He removed four batsmen in an excellent 13 over spell. He enjoyed bowling in tandom with Rob Fisher. His 10 overs yielded 3 wickets for a frugal 22 runs. His last wicket spelt the end for Irby at just 114. Will Speakman pocketed two very decent catches.
Alvanley’s reply began well in testing conditions as Irby new ball pair bowled very well. Mike Rowlands and Jon Suckely posted an invaluable 47 before Rowlands betrayed his determined start to hole out in the deep for a gritty 21. Suckley soon followed for 23 and when Speakman and Bennion perished in quick succession, Alvanley were a little nervous at 71 for 4 with weather closing in. Chris Charles joined Andy Hayhurst and this pair added a breezy 33 before Charles had to retire with a bad back. Hayhurst, helped by Ben Tonge finished the job off with an assured 27 not out – not helped by a rain break with just 9 needed! He scored all of his runs square of the wicket including a joyous cut to seal the 25 points.
Alvanley bounced back from a couple of poor performances to secure a winning draw at home to Bredbury on Saturday. The 14 points gained bumps them back up to 4th spot and in touching distance of the promotion places.
Alvanley chose to bat first on a hard flat deck and looked secure as Mike Rowlands and Ste Charles eased their team to 30 in 8 overs. It was a surprise to see Rowlands heading back to the pavilion bowled for 15. The next 15 overs saw Charles and Will Speakman play some sensible, positive cricket. Pleasing shots were punctuated by some clever running. The pair took the score to 93 before Charles fell for an aesthetic 43 as he tried to force the field back. Si Gee was unlucky to fall LBW soon after and so Speakman and Andy Hayhurst had to steady the ship. The pair took the score to 128 when Hayhurst dabbed a ball straight to slip. With just 13 overs left some acceleration was needed if 200 was to be achieved. Andy Bennion provided just that with a breezy 38 off just 32 balls, adding 50 in 8 overs with the redoubtable Speakman. Even better was the 40 added by Speakman and captain Chris Charles. With brilliant running the stand took just 5 overs with Charles battering 32 of just 17 balls. Speakman played the perfect number 3 role, rotating the strike and holding the innings together. He can be well please with his 69 not out as his team scored a lofty 222/6 off 50 overs.
Bredbury responded well although Lee Ainsworth can consider himself unlucky to go wicket-less in his opening spell. The openers added 57 before Chris Charles nipped one away from Smith into Ben Tonge’s waiting gloves. The returning Ainsworth induced a return catch from the dangerous Carr and suddenly the game had turned Alvanley’s way.
The 3rd wicket pair dug in and for a long while looked like they were settling for the draw as Charles rotated his bowlers. At the 35 over mark, the batsmen suddenly upped the ante and went for some shots. It took some decent bowling from the returning Rob Fisher and Ste Charles to stem the tide and get the breakthroughs with a wicket apiece. 185/4.
With 35 needed off the last 5 overs with 6 wickets in hand the win looked on for Bredbury. They kept playing their shot but equally the bowlers and boundary catchers held their nerve as wickets fell in a flash. With 5 balls remaining Bredbury had crashed to 202 for 8. Fisher asked some testing questions of the penultimate pair but they stood firm to ensure the draw. An excellent game of cricket played in great spirit. Fisher took a welcome 3 for 45 and Ste Charles 3 for 32.
Alvanley’s season long unbeaten run finally came to an undistinguished end on Saturday, crashing to an 8 wicket defeat at much-improved Poynton.
On a green Poynton track, Alvanley batted first but were subjected to a swinging, seaming ball from the start. Mike Rowlands went quickly, undone by a big inswinger but for the 2nd wicket Will Speakman and Ste Charles looked in control without ever cutting loose. At 26, Charles mistimed a pull and fell for 14 and Speakman soon followed ambitiously driving at a Williams inswinger.
Jon Suckley and Andy Hayhurst tried next but Suckley, whilst looking in tip-top shape, failed to get past 10, cutting the off-spinner into the keeper’s gloves. At 56 for 4, Alvanley were struggling and the ball showed no signs of doing any less.
Andy Bennion joined Hayhurst and the experienced duo set about rebuilding. Both found scoring difficult but built a foundation adding 58 in 18 overs together. Hayhurst fell for 20 trying to clear the infield but Bennion went on to a fighting 43. The tail for once couldn’t ‘up the rate’ and a disappointing 139/9 was the result of 50 overs work.
On another day that might have been a winning score and the new ball certainly beat the bat often enough to suggest it might be. Whilst plenty of wicket taking balls were bowled there were also too many four-balls and Poynton, strengthened by the return of Paul Gould chanced there arms with some ambitious shots. Gould got away with some very certain appeals but, as last season, got away with it. He also played some fine shots and credit should go his way as he guided his team to an emphatic 8 wicket win. A wicket apiece went to Ed Speakman and skipper Chris Charles – who must feel aggrieved at his lack of luck with the ball. Jimmy Ecclestone and Mike Rowlands will also wonder how they ended the game wicket-less after impressive spells.
Back to basics now for Alvanley who have slipped to 6th in the league. Bredbury visit Alvanley next.
Andy Hayhurst and Andy Bennion take a single at Poynton
Alvanley scraped a hard earned draw at Warrington on Saturday after a late start due to heavy rain.
Alvanley bowled first and got decent assistance from the pitch with the new ball. Ed Speakman threatened to make decent inroads, beating the bat regularly. Jimmy Ecclestone the other end also had little luck as the home team took 3 per over from their opening spells for the loss of just one wicket – to Speakman. On another day Alvanley would have been well into the middle order but a combination of determined batting and an absence of ‘lady luck’ saw the home team get to 94 before the 2nd wicket fell. Jon Suckley, Kenny Roberts and Steve Charles all went at 4 an over but the wickets were few and far between – Charles grabbing a caught bowled and Suckley an LBW and a sharp catch by Roberts at cover. That was it, just the 4 wickets fell as Warrington closed on an above par 184/4 in their 43 overs.
Alvanley lost Mike Rowlands early to the swinging new ball but the next hour was serene enough with Will Speakman and Ste Charles (30) battling well. At 46 for with 23 overs left, the game was well poised. However, both batsmen fell with an over of each other, so Suckely and Andy Bennion came together and had to consolidate. They added 30 and again were thinking of the win when, in the blink of an eye, Suckley, Chris Charles, Bennion and Ed Speakman all fell with the score in the 80s.
So the draw effort began. Kenny Roberts used up 25 balls but the glue in this effort was Andy Hayhurst. The ex-Lancs man survived a series of bouncers and showed real fighting qualities to survive 45 balls in the gloom. He was well supported for the last wicket by Ben Tonge and they walked off together knowing that despite being outplayed, at half way through the season, their team remain unbeaten.
21/06/14 at home v Neston. NCC 136/8, ACC 137/8. Win [scorecard]
Alvanley were at their ‘giant-killing’ best at home to Neston in the Red Insure T20. On a cracking pitch, Alvanley’s bowlers did a great job restricting their esteemed visitors to just 136/8. Good catching (particularly Rob Fisher’s flying effort) and disciplined bowling from all six bowlers never allowed Neston to get away. Fisher’s 4 overs for 21 was a welcome return to form, While Kenny Roberts, Mike Rowlands and Ste Charles all grabbed two wickets.
Alvanley’s reply began badly as Cheshire’s Wilkinson removed Rowlands 2nd ball. The next 8 overs were all Alvanley as Ste Charles and Andy Bennion asserted themselves. Charles played some crisp drives in his 27 while Bennion was all sixes and cheeky running in his speedy 25.
Quick wickets took Alvanley from 57/1 to 77 for 4 but the reassuring site of Jon Suckley and a long batting line up meant that Alvanley always felt in control. Suckley upped the ante with some powerful drives and was well assisted by Chris Jones and Chris Charles who scored off most balls faced. When Suckley was the 4th player adjudged LBW for a terrific 40, Alvanley still had work to do. Kenny Roberts and Rob Fisher were up to it, taking 5 off the final over and 1 off the last ball to take their team home.
21/06/14 at home v Northwich. ACC 240/7, NCC 197/8. Draw 14 points [scorecard]
Alvanley took the best part of a winning draw in this crucial top of the table clash at home v Northwich.
Choosing to bat first on a flat, fast and and bouncy wicket, Alvanley stuttered against some excellent new ball bowling from Northwich. Ste Charles and Si Gee went inside 7 overs with the score on just 14. The next few overs were pivotal as another wicket would have put the visitors well in charge. Mike Rowlands and Jon Suckley were up to the task. Initially in defence and then gradually, going through the gears they pushed their team to 50 in the 19th over as they took control back from Northwich. A steady acceleration came with the previously conservative Rowlands unfurling some sumptuous drives while Suckley was in good form in all areas. The 100 was was passed in the 29th over and the 100 partnership soon followed. The pair were parted in the 36th over, having added 120, when Rowlands finally succumbed for a classy 69.
Andy Bennion joined Suckley and he breathed some fresh air into proceedings with a whirlwind 33, adding 54 with Suckley in just 7 overs. The rest of the innings was frantic as singles were scampered and boundaries found. Jon Suckley continued his magnificent innings right to the very end. His shots off his hip were a particular feature of this faultless knock. He was able to raise his bat for a second time in bringing up his first ton for the club and walked off to a great ovation with 105 not out to his name. The team ended 240/7.
Northwich’s response began badly as Kenny Roberts removed Gittens and Twigg with the score on 36. There followed a worrying stand of 65 for the 3rd wicket, runs coming apace on this magnificent wicket. Rowlands leg-spin put an end to it as Stoneley tried a shot too many, picking out that man Suckley at mid wicket. When Cherion followed two overs later for a stylish 59, again to Rowlands, Alvanley were in the box seat at 98/4. Suckley then made it 99/5 in the 28th over and at this stage it became win or draw for Alvanley with more and more fielders appearing around the bat. Rowlands picked up his third wicket on 123 and when Ste Charles grabbed two scalps 152 for 8 was looking good for the home team. They had 11 overs to remove the last two pairs but this 9th wicket partnership were obdurate and on this track it was always going to be tough. A couple of chances were grassed and in the end Alvanley trudged off having to be content with a 14 point winning draw.
Alvanley remain 2nd with the half way mark of the season coming next week.
14/06/14 at Weaverham. WCC 250/4, ACC 160/8. Draw. [scorecard]
Alvanley managed to preserve their unbeaten record at Weaverham on Saturday after battling hard to earn a draw. The result though means that Weaverham have jumped over Alvanley to take over top spot.
A crucial toss was won by Weaverham who made first use of a pitch that usually deteriorates on a hot day. Their batsmen were soon into their stride, Nash playing extravagant shts from the outset while Woods dug in. The run rate was well managed by Ainsworth and and Charles but the elusive wicket just never came. The 100 partnership came up in the 30th over but the danger lay ahead as Weaverham’s middle order is laced with big hitters.
Mike Rowlands’ leg spin accounted for the first breakthrough as Nash fell in the deep for 73. Woods and Eaton ten stepped on the gas and added a thrilling 122 in the next 16 overs – Woods falled 3 short of a 100 – well caught in the deep off by Jon Suckley. This was the first of 3 wicket in 4 balls for Ainsworth but it was too little too late as Weaverham closed on 250/4.
The chase began well with Ste Charles and Mike Rowlands looking well set, taking the score to 43 before Rowlands played an unnecessary shot to hole out. Si Gee and Charles again did the hard work, taking the score to 71 off 21 over before Charles (25) – having looked in supreme form – committed the same sin. Gee looked in great touch, easing his way to a classy 38 but when he, Suckley and Jones all played shots they would sooner forget, the writing was on the fall for Alvanley at 103/5. Chris Charles and Jimmy Ecclestone soon followed and it was now very much a long haul for the draw for Andy Bennion and the tail. Bennion lasted an hour and 20 minutes reigning himself in. He found an equally determined ally in Ben Tonge and this pair went almost all the way before Bennion was finally undone by the persevering Cornwall for 26. Lee Ainsworth and Tonge dug in for the last 14 balls to keep the unbeaten record in tact. Tonge ended with an admirable 18 not out in an hour and 10 minutes.
It wasn’t pretty but Alvanley showed plenty of grit to end 160/8.
12/06/14 v Tattenhall in the Red Insure T20. ACC 149/8, TCC 151/6 (19.2) [scorecard]
It is fair to say that Alvanley’s ground was at its stunning best for this T20 Cup match – the cricket wasn’t bad either.
Alvanley had first bat on a flat dry wicket but made a poor start. Keen-ness to cash in on the powerplay saw them lose 3 wickets for just 22 runs in those first 6 overs. Si gee and Jon Suckley began the repair job and expertly chipped away at the run rate. Their 92 run partnership was just the job and it was a fluke that ended it with Sadler catching a Suckley drilled drive in his armpit for 37! gee went on to dominate and ended with a brilliant 72 not out off just 45 balls. 149 was considered below par but defendable.
Tattenhall’s powerplay was much the better. Despite Ainsworth picking up Coppack, the remainder of the powerplay went awry. 55 posted in 6 overs put the visitors ahead. Captain Charles turned the spin twins Mike Rowlands and brother Steve. They sent down 8 overs for 35 and at 92 for 5 after 14 overs, Alvanley were back in front. 3 excellent run outs featured in that passage of play.
The difference between winning and losing was Dan Power. The Kiwi controlled his and his team’s innings brilliantly. His 98 not was a model of how to play T20. He eased the winning boundary to deep square in the last over to end a great game, played in good spirit.
07/06/14 at Heaton Mersey. Cancelled due to rain. 7 points
31/05/14 at home v Congleton. CCC 113ao, ACC 114/1. Win 25 points [scorecard]
Alvanley maintained their position at the top of the league with a thumping win at home to Congleton on Saturday. Chris Charles won the toss and bowled first on a track that had dried remarkably well given the rain during the week.
Kenny Roberts made the early breakthrough with a wicked away-swinger. Ben Tonge taking a smart low catch behind the stumps. Chris Charles will wonder how he remained wicket-less the other end as he passed the edge many times in a searching seven over spell. It was the early introduction of Jon Suckley which drew the next wicket. He produced a beauty to remove Blease. The next hour though belonged to Jimmy Ecclestone. His accuracy and movement induced four batsmen into edging behind – two to Chris Charles at slip and two to the outstanding Tonge, who’s keeping was sharp and clinical. Suddenly Congleton were 63 for 6.
Suckley was difficult to get away at the other end and his reward would follow. 3 further wickets for him plunged the visitors into further trouble at 78 for 9.
Some spirited hitting from the last pair propelled Congleton to 113 before the returning Roberts bowled Copeland. Ecclestone ended with 4 for 14 off his 7 overs while Suckley’s 13 overs produced 4 for 40. Ben Tonge took 5 excellent catches.
Alvanley’s reply began positively with Mike Rowlands and Ste Charles putting any loose balls away. Rowlands was unlucky to be dismissed for 14 with the score on 36.
From hereon Charles and Si Gee dominated the bowlers. Gee placed the ball well and ran positively, while Charles played some sumptuous drives and pulls. The pairs added 81 unbeaten runs to cruise home with 40 overs to spare. Gee ended 24 not out and Charles 75 not out of just 92 balls.
The 25 points have pushed Alvanley 9 points clear with a third of the season gone. Heaton Mersey away next.
24/05/14 at Stockport. There was plenty of competitive play, but unfortunately entirely on the snooker and pool tables. The rain simply kept falling and the excellent looking Stockport ground remained cricket-less. A shame as the two teams occupy the top spots in the league. All fixtures in Division 2 suffered the same fate.
22/05/14 – at Oulton Park in the T20. OP 219/4, ACC 189/9 [scorecard]
Over 400 runs were scored in Alvanley’s 1st T20 group match at Oulton Park, as the batsmen reigned on this tiny ground.
Oulton batted first and from the outset looked to dominate. Tom Hislop was in bombastic form thrashing an incredible 135 not out in a decent 219/4. Chris Charles was the pick of the Alvanley bowlers going for 35 from his allocation. Alvanley got off to a rasping reply, Andy Bennion took 21 off the first over and when he was out at 3.3 overs, the score had careered to 49 with his contribution an 18-ball 36. Wickets fell quickly soonafter but Steve Charles at number 6 didn’t give up the ghost and with the sky filliing in, Alvanley were 122 for 6 at 12 overs – the cut off for a game. This represented a genuine win opportunity but alas the rain stayed off and when Charles fell for an aesthetic and powerful 53, the game was up.
There was still time for 16 year old Joe Hornby to have some fun. His 31 not outof just 16 balls showed that there are plenty of talented youngsters in the ACC pipeline. ACC ended at a creditable 189/9.
17/05/14 – at home v Upton. UCC 192/8, ACC 194/5. Win 25. [scorecard]
Alvanley surged to the top of the league with a resounding 5 wicket win over Upton on Saturday. On a stunning day at Alvanley. Chris Charles won the toss and chose to bowl hoping that there might be some early help for the bowlers.
Charles himself opened up with Kenny Roberts and it was the skipper who got the early breakthrough, castling Aussie Potter with a cracking inducker. Despite a few close shaves and hearty appeals, that was the last wicket for while. There was lots of huffing and puffing but as much as the visitors tried to break free, the bowlers – Jimmy Ecclestone (7 overs for 15) and Mike Rowlands (9 overs for 31) gave very little to hit. The fielding too was frugal and full of energy. At drinks (25 overs) Alvanley were satisfied with 75 for 1. The score progressed to 98 before the returning Charles removed the obdurate Roberts. A further 47 was added by Ingram and Warburton but they were struggling for fluency as Steve Charles in particular put the shackles on. Ingram fell for a quality 77 and at this point Warburton found some momentum. This progress however was countered brilliantly by the returning Roberts whose 8 overs at the death yielded 4 wickets for just 23 runs. 192 for 8 was considered by most to be 20 short of ‘par’ on this excellent track.
Alvanley’s response began brightly with Ste Charles clipping 3 crisp boundaries before he was bowled by a beauty from Linwood. Like Upton, the 2nd partnership proved bountiful. Mike Rowlands showed his intent, crashing an early 6 into the houses, while Si Gee looked ‘up for the fight’ at the other end. The pair took the score to 102 when Rowlands (43) was surprised to be send on his way following an LBW appeal. Jon Suckley looked in fine fettle but in trying to repeat a pull, found midwicket’s grateful hands. Gee (41) followed soon after and suddenly, Upton were back in it at 114/4. Andy Hayhurst looked to rebuild while Chris Jones rested the initiative back with some sumptuous shots. His 23 came to an abrupt end as he called for a non-existent run and was run out.
163 for 5. Last weeks main men were now together at the crease as Andy Bennion joined Hayhurst. This pair needed to to add 30 in 7 overs to win the game. They had to work hard but managed to ease home with 8 balls to spare, Hayhurst cracking consecutive cover drives to wrap things up. He ended on 44no and Bennion 10no.
The 25 points have taken Alvanley to the top of the league, with a tricky visit to 2nd place Stockport to come next.
Alvanley’s impressive start to the season continued at Tattenhall on Saturday although the weather finally had it’s say as the game was abandoned in the gloom, well past 8pm.
Alvanley were asked to bat first in tough batting conditions on a wet wicket. Both Ste Charles and Mike Rowlands looked comfortable but run scoring looked tough. Rowlands went first nicking Brock and with the score on just 12 in the 12th over, Charles succumbed to the pressure and picked out mid off. Si Gee got an in cutter from Power and and 22 for 3 Alvanley were floundering. Jon Suckley was joined by ex Lancashire star Andy Hayhurst and while Hayhurst dropped anchor, Suckley set about getting the board moving. The pair added 36 but when Sucked edged behind for a well made 34 Alvanley were still struggling. Jones soon followed, harshly adjudged LBW. 64 for 5 off 28 overs.
Alvanley’s most experienced pair were now at the crease as Andy Bennion joined Hayhurst. The dug in, rotating the strike well and occasionally finding the boundary. With the 100 up in the 41st over, they gradually upped the ante. Hayhurst playing particularly well square of the wicket and Bennion placing the ball well for ones and twos. Bennion bucked this conservative trend with two enormous sixes off Power. Both batsmen passed 50 and the score went to a lofty 163/5 as the innings closed. This 98 unbeaten partnership proving invaluable. Hayhurst ended 53 not out, while Bennion finished 57 not out.
Tattenhall are a strong batting unit so much work lay ahead for the bowlers. Chris Charles put an end to Thompson uncertain innings, bowling him neck and crop, while at the other end Sadler looked impressive. At 36 he too was undone by Charles who was getting good sideways movement. A further 24 runs were added by Gibbon and Power before Jimmy Ecclestone found his range to trap Power leg before. 60/3.
Green and Gibbon tried to attack but overs continued to fly by as Ecclestone, Charles and Suckley proved increasing hard to get away.
The introduction of Ste Charles got rid of Gibbon and when Suckley removed Green, Tattenhall were teetering on 78/5. Like Alvanley, Tattenhall bat deep and the next partnership added 25 before the rain came in once more. With 61 needed of 13 overs the game was well set up with Alvanley feeling slight favorite as run scoring was a tricky proposition. This is however hypothetical as the game was declared abandoned with 8pm well passed. Chris Charles topped the bowling figures with 2 for 21 off 11 overs.
Alvanley gained 8 points on a day where most games were long abandoned and can carry confidence of an unbeaten start to the season in to next weeks home clash with Upton.
A thrilling 1st half to the game wasn’t matched by the second half as Alvanley dominated this home fixture with Irby but were made to settle for a winning draw as Irby dug in, responding to Alvanley’s imposing 206/9.
Alvanley’s ground looked a picture and the pitch was dry and flat. Chris Charles elected to bat first but things didn’t go to plan at initially. Mike Rowlands looked in great touch but, on 10 he scooped a pull to backward square leg to give Irby their breakthrough. Ste Charles and Jon Suckley looked in little trouble and took the score to 50 in the 17th over when Suckley missed a straight ball to fall LBW for 23. Charles went soon after, brilliantly caught and bowled for 15 and when Andy Hayhurst was bowled through the gate, suddenly the home side were teetering on 52 for 4.
Alvanley bat deep and the next pair – Chris Jones and Andy Bennion counter-attached judiciously to add 46 in 7 overs before Jones edged behind. Chris Charles and Bennion carried on attacking and took the score to 122 before Charles hit the worst ball of the day straight into midwicket’s hands. Bennion’s fate was sealed soon after, pulling uppishly for a 53-ball 47. Ainsworth went first ball to leave Alvanley in trouble once more at 134/8.
As mentioned earlier, Alvanley bat deep. Jimmy Ecclestone was joined by Kenny Roberts. They ran cheeky singles, turned 1s into 2s and Roberts in particular found the boundary often enough to put Alvanley in the ascendancy. His two 6s were sizable. Roberts left the field to a rousing reception for his 25-ball 35, after adding 60 for the 9th wicket. Ben Tonge’s urgency allowed Alvanley to cruise past 200 but the ‘glue’ in the effort was Ecclestone. His cool head and sound technique gathered him 31 not out and another rousing reception from the sizable crowd. 206 for 9 at tea.
Irby’s response began slowly as Charles and Ainsworth found bounce and swing. Ainsworth broke through first finding the shoulder of Shillingworth’s bat and then the flying right hand of Bennion at slip. 4/1. Pedi came in looking to play his shots but great field placing by Charles put an end to his innings. Ainsworth again the bowler and Ecclestone the man to take a difficult catch at deep square. 19/2. A fifty partnership then followed between the excellent Newman and partner Caswell, before Suckley induced an uppish drive to send Caswell back. 74 for 3.
It was at this point that Irby seemed to change tack and settle for the draw. Alvanley therefore had hard work to do to force a result on a flat wicket. Rowlands bowled some testing legspin but was luckless and while Charles, Suckley and Ecclestone all picked up a further wicket each, the draw became an inevitable result. With men round the bat, Alvanley settled for a winning draw as Irby closed on 154/6.
As disappointing as the end of the game was, Alvanley gathered a decent 13 points and can reflect on some excellent cricket.
Alvanley made it two wins out of two on Saturday with a remarkable win at Bredbury.
A very wet pitch greeted the teams and like last week Chris Charles lost the toss but was happy to be bowling first. Early signs were that the batsmen were going to attack but also that pitch was going to be spicy. The first breakthrough came from a supreme piece of fielding. Not only did Mike Rowlands pull off a brilliant stop at extra cover, he then had the presence of mind to pick the ball up and aim at one stump to run out Carr. Charles followed that up with a cracking in-swinging Yorker to remove the other opener and at 12 for 2, Alvanley were in a good position. Kenny Roberts began frugally from the other end and added to Alvanleys joy in the 6th over bowling dangerous Aussie Smith for 1. He followed this with a successful LBW shout and when Charles bowled the big hitting Keyworth, Bredbury were reeling at 22/5.
The ball was increasing behaving badly with several deliveries hitting or narrowly missing the batsmens’ heads. Charles grabbed another 26/6. There followed a recovery of sorts as Rick Barlow dug in but further wicket weren’t far away. Jimmy Ecclestone’s 4 overs produced 2 wickets for just 1 run. Jon Suckley chipped in with one and the returning Charles finished things off in the 27th over with the score on just 61. Charles finished with 4 for 14.
Even 61 was going to a challenge on this wicket. 0 for 2 was a stark reminder of this as Ste Charles and Will Speakman had no answer for Ushers lateral movement. Rowlands and Suckley battled to take their team to tea with the score limping along to 12. Refreshed by the break, Bredbury’s openers were able to steam in again and soon Suckley was trudging off, again bowled by Usher. Andy Bennion came and went – victim of a scuttler and when Andy Hayhurst went to a worldly gully catch, Alvanley had reason for doubting that it was to be their day. 24/6.
Ian Charles and was trapped in front and 61 seemed light years away. Enter Chris Charles and James Ecclestone. Charles made the wicket look serene while Jimmy sat in and battled hard. Charles’s stroke-play at last got the board moving and his 25 got his team to with 12 runs until he too got a brute of a ball. Ben Tonge went the way of many – bowled Usher and with 11 needed it was down to Ecclestone and number 11 Kenny Roberts. Ecclestone carried on blocking expertly while Roberts took a risk or two. He flicked and nudged his team to 59 before a rare wild delivery from the excellent Usher went for 4 byes to trigger wild scenes of joy.
Alvanley’s picturesque ground was bathed in sunshine for the opening round of the 2014 season, but something was missing. The opposition were stuck on the motorway and the start time came and went. When they finally arrived, 8 overs had been lost from the game and Poynton duly won the toss and elected to bowl.
Alvanley’s pitch was dry and flat – to the liking of opener Ste Charles and debutant Mike Rowlands. They both looked well organised and the occasional loose ball was dealt with effectiveley as they advanced to 37 in 14 overs before Charles laced a drive into cover’s hands for 19. Rowlands followed 5 overs later for a patient but promising 16. Will Speakman and the other debutant Jon Suckley tried to rebuild and found scoring difficult as the the Poynton openers found a good length to stop the runs. Suckley tried to break the hold by pinching a single but perished from a direct hit.
A promising start became 67 for 4 when Andy Bennion tried to break the shackles and picked out mid off. Andy Hayhurst suffered the same fate and suddenly Alvanley were in trouble at 68 for 5 with just 14 over left.
New captain Chris Charles grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck. he fluently dispatched the bowling to all parts with a class 40 off just 25 balls. All this time Will Speakman had been fighting hard and gluing the innings together. He too found some fluency and rotated the strike expertly to move to 39 before the most unlucky of run outs. 127 for 6.
Enter Lee Ainsworth. He found his timing quickly and looked in great touch adding 30 unbeaten runs in just 24 balls including a huge 6 into the nets over extra cover. 166/7 in 46 overs represented a good score for the conditions and reduced overs.
Poynton have lost some notable players over the Winter and Alvanley sniffed a win. Chris Charles was excellent with the new ball, beating the bat 2 or 3 times each over but remaining wicket-less. Lee Ainsworth was rusty but between his loose offerings were signs that a wicket was a round the corner. In fact there were two as he drew an uppish drive to Hayhurst at gully and followed it up by bowling Haresnape with a beauty soon after. 39 for 2.
Jimmy Ecclestone and Kenny Roberts replaced the openers and proved to frugal. Ecclestone’s fours overs saw him grab a wicket and concede a miserly 5 runs. Roberts found some swing and was unlucky not to get more than his 2 for 15 from 7 skillful overs. 57 for 5.
The piece de resistance was still to come. Suckley was introduced from the road end and blew the remaining Poynton batsmen away. He got the remaining 5 wicket for 28 runs with a combination of accuracy and seam movement. At the other end Rowlands’ leg spin looked a class act. His 3 overs went for just 3 runs and beat the edge at least twice per over. Poynton ended 100 all out.
A great start for Alvanley. – 25 points – but there will be tougher games to come and performance levels will need to rise if a top half finish is to be achieved.
05/04/14 – Alvanley begin the season with a friendly at Davenham, this Saturday the 12th. 1pm start
07/03/14 – ACC have been drawn away at Ashley in the National Village KO. The tie will take place on Sunday 27th April. In the event of a win, Northop Hall would visit Alvanley in Round 2. Full Draw
25/01/14 – Alvanley are delighted to announce that Jon Suckley will join the club for the 2014 season. The right handed bat and right arm seamer joins ACC having played all his adult cricket at Malpas. Jon is the second big addition to the squad, following Mike Rowlands’ arrival in December.
25/01/14 – Alvanley 1st XI are drawn with Neston, Oulton Park and Tattenhall in the Red Insure T20. Oulton Pk away first on 22/5, followed by Tattenhall at home on 12/6, then Neston at home on 26/6 View Page