19/09/15 – Awards!!

Captain Chris Charles awarded the 2015 trophies on an evening where the 1sts could be pleased with their incredible revival in the 2nd half of the season.

The batting award was shared by Mike Rowlands for his 671 league runs and Andy Bennion for his 558 runs. The bowling award went to Ste Charles who began the season as the ‘keeper! His 24 wickets came at an average of just 16.

The captain’s award went to Si Gee for his 494 runs and a highly successful return to ‘keeping after many years’ break. 1st teamer Kenny Roberts was awarded the prestigious Clubman of the Year for his efforts to get the club drinking on Saturday nights and his many successful barbecues.

12/09/15 at Upton. ACC 185/8, UCC 115ao. Win 25 points.  [scorecard]

Last week’s defeat seemed to galvanise the ‘Alv’ for one last push in the final game of the season at Upton. A scruffy, damp pitch emerged as the covers came off and Upton had no qualms in putting Alvanley into bat. They had instant success as Andy Bennion slapped a drive to point with just 2 on the board. Ste Charles added good runs alongside Mike Rowlands as the 2nd wicket took Alvanley to 37 before he spooned a ball that stopped staight up in the air. Another left-hander, Si Gee strode out and after some early reconnaissance he looked as comfortable as Rowlands and soon the drives flowed and the field pushed back to the fence.

The 100 came up in the 30th over with Rowlands yet again going past 50. The resolve to carry on to a big score was evident and he dug in for the long haul. Gee was becoming increasingly expansive with some precision drives rocketing to the rope. He too passed 50 but was castled soon after with the team on 156 and the partnership up to 119 – a season high for the team. When Rowlands followed 10 runs later all momentum had been lost. The inability of the new batsmen to score was a clear indicator of the quality of the stand. Rowlands 88 off 130 balls was full of classy strokes but riddled with determination. a joy to watch. Bits and bobs from the lower order saw Alvanley to 185 for 8 – surely a winning score?

Upton saw things differently. The openers came out and looked a million dollars! Cowderoy in particular looked to put most balls to the boundary in a rapid stand of 43 in 8 overs before Charles strangled Williams to Gee. Joe Hornby’s introduction bore fruit as he ended Cant’s day with a cracking yorker. Dangerman Corderoy was next. In attempting a second run, a sharp piece of work between Ste Charles and Andy Bennion saw him run out to leave Upton reeling at 59 for 3. Charles was rewarded for his accuracy in removing Ingram and moments later Hornby had a second scalp, trapping Warburton in front. 60 for 5. The Smiths tried to make a difference, playing some crisp shots and making Charles think twice about over-attacking but a cracking sequence of overs from Rob Fisher and Kenny Roberts dried the scoring up completely. The pressure told and Fisher Bowled Matt Smith and moments later Roberts rapped Stowell-Smith on the pads bang in front of the stumps.

Could the tailenders survive 24 over for the draw? No. Ste Charles replaced Roberts and in 2 overs took the two remaining scalps, the second being a particularly sharp stumping by Gee.

Fisher, Chris Charles, Ste Charles and Hornby all ended with a brace of wickets as Upton fell for 115.

Season analysis and report will appear here

1sts statsfinal league table 15

05/09/15 at Bredbury. ACC 163ao, BCC 164/8. Lose 7 points. [scorecard]

Alvanley travelled to Bredbury on Saturday and lost by the narrow margin of two wickets on a day where fortunes swung dramatically several times.

Alvanley chose to bat first on a poor low bouncing pitch. After losing Chris Jones early, left handers Mike Rowlands and Ste Charles made light of the conditions and played positively to post a partnership of 49. Rowlands having got the innings underway with a six, played one shot to many and holed out for an attractive 32. Si Gee came and went quickly, victim of a ball that kept low and when Will Speakman was bowled two overs later a healthy position had diminished to 65 for 4. Andy Bennion joined Charles and the ship steadied for a while until Charles, having played beautifully, got himself stumped for 37. Brother Chris followed for 0 and when Bennion fell for 18, the innings was imploding at 97 for 7.

8th and 10th wicket partnerships were Alvanley’s saviour. Ed Speakman and Joe Hornby added 23 for the 8th wicket and then a last wicket stand between Billy Ouzinidis and the rather ill Kenny Roberts added a raucous 37 to boost the score to a par 163 all out. The last 4 batters all scored in the teens.

Alvanley knew that early wickets were needed as Bredbury’s strengths lie with with their openers. This did not happen, Keyworth and Carr both played with abandon and flogged the ball to the boundary at will. 86 were added in just 16 overs before the introduction of Joe Hornby stemmed the flow. He bowled his first 5 overs for just 2 runs and took the crucial wicket of Keyworth. In his 7th and last over he bowled Garner to end his spell with 2 for 6. Chris Charles replaced him and carried on the good work bowling Carr and when Rowlands trapped Bailly in front, Bredbury were reeling at 101 for 5 having been 100 for 1. Rowlands caught and bowled Nuttall at 112 and then Charles bowled Barlow next over to take the score to 113 for 7. Bredbury still had their overseas at the crease. Barrand had been biding his time but with partners disappearing, he changed tack and went for his shots. A series of sixes took his team to the brink and after a few late scares Bredbury edged home with just two wickets to spare.

Charles ended with 3 for 39 and Hornby 3 for 13.

1sts stats

29/08/15 v Congleton. CCC180ao, ACC 181/6. Win 25. [scorecard]

Alvanley’s terrific second half of the season continued on Saturday with a cracking performance against Congleton which secured County League status for 2016, moved them above their visitors and now has them hunting a mid table spot in the remaining two weeks.


As usual, Chris Charles lost the toss and the bowlers were given first use of a pristine Alvanley pitch that was to offer pace and bounce. Charles himself was convinced of a caught behind first ball of the day but he didn’t have to wait long to have Blease on his his way, caught crisply by brother Steve at short leg. The score went to 41 without further loss but the frustration of batsmen playing and missing led to Charles replacing himself with fit again Joe Hornby. He found the edge of Baxendale’s bat and Andy Bennion took a rasping left hander at slip to complete the job. Aussie Max O’Sullivan was trapped in front by Kenny Roberts to make it 50 for 3 – a very acceptable start for Alvanley. Higginbotham and Woodall took the score on to 104 but the scoring rate stayed well in Alvanley’s control as the spinners came into play. Mike Rowlands broke the stand, trapping Woodall in front but another potentially dangerous stand began to develop as Eyre showed good intent as Higginbotham anchored the innings.

Rowlands accuracy and field placings built up enough pressure to tempt Eyre down the pitch and Si Gee was able to to execute a brisk stumping. 140 for 5. Booth didn’t last long, edging the returning Chris Charles to Gee but Cardell batting at 9 swung the inning back to Congleton with a dashing 20 off just 10 balls. Alvanley kept their nerve and the removal of the stoic Higginbotham meant that the total wold always be below 200. Rowlands mopped up the tail and dismissed the visitors for a below par 180. He returned terrific figures of 5 for 40 off 13.2 wily overs. Charles ended with 3 for 43.

In the absence of Jimmy Ecclestone, Andy Bennion was promoted to open with Mike Rowlands. The pair met the new ball with aggression to post 27 in 5 overs before Rowlands played around a full ball to get cleaned up. Bennion continued to attack and in partnership with Ste Charles, quickly took the game away from Congleton. Charles looked in great touch and at one point took four boundaries in 5 balls off Cardell. The pair added 96 in just 16 overs before Charles was strangled down the leg side for 28. Bennion was in irrepressible mood, attacking all the bowlers and in striking 15 fours and a six, careered to 83 before dragging onto his stumps with the score on 134. His knock came off just 73 balls. Alvanley still had 47 runs to find and when Will Speakman fell to the armball, left handers Gee and Jones were under pressure. Gee played fluently in stroking 23 but his dismissal, caught at slip, followed two balls later by Ed Speakman gave Congleton plenty of hope. Chris Charles joined Jones and the pair dug in and worked the singles. With 11 needed Jones broke the shackles and launched a six into the pavilion and he nudged the remaining runs more calmly to the delight of a decent throng of spectators.

22/08/15 at Northwich. ACC 176/7, NCC 78ao. Win 25 [scorecard]

Another thumping win on the road for Alvanley, this time by 98 runs, takes them tantalizingly close to safety but also hauls in a couple of teams above, giving some hope for a mid table finish with three games to go.

Alvanley were surprised to be asked to bat first on a pitch that looked like it would deteriorate. Jimmy Ecclestone and Mike Rowlands looked solid at the top but found little value for their shots as the outfield remained slow after morning rain. This led to impatience from Ecclestone and he trudged off LBW in the 6th over. Ste Charles gave the innings an air of fluency, driving delightfully as Rowlands dug in for the long haul. They took the score to 44 when Charles managed to scoop the ball to slip of the persistent Ishanka. Rowlands was then joined by Si Gee and as usual, Gee looked in great touch. Rowlands struggled for timing, where Gee was putting bad balls away with ease, the pair though, crucially, stuck around and rotated the strike to take the score to 121 when Rowlands was run out for a gritty 37. This base, with 9 overs to go was ideal for an assault. The middle order couldn’t find Gee’s fluency but scampered runs and occasional boundaries – notably big sixes from Chris Charles and Billy Ouzinidis allowed Alvanley to score an imposing 176 for 7. Gee was there at the end for a brilliant 65no, an innings full of succulent drives, dogged determination and a wealth of skill.

Northwich came out swinging after tea, and missing. A lot of activity resulted in very few runs being scored and in the 5th over Charles removed both Ishanka and Cherion. 10 for 2. The prize wicket of Stoneley came from his first ball – Ouzinidis finding his edge, with Gee taking a low catch. More good news followed next over as Charles grabbed his 3rd. Gee took his 3rd catch to send Plant on his way and 11 for 4 with the spinners yet to bowl looked very good for Alvanley. A stand of 44 followed but it was fraught with danger as Rowlands’ leg spin was looking highly likely to dupe either of the batsmen. It was the introduction of Rob Fisher that put an end to this stand. He found turn and consequently the edge of Indwin Chrerion’s bat and a tumbling Mike Rowlands did the rest at point. Fisher then tempted Gittens out of his crease only to be stumped by 5 yards by the excellent Gee. Fisher then proved too much for the rest of the batsmen, beating the bat regularly he ended with figures of 9 overs, 7 maidens, 5 for 11! Kenny Roberts weighed in with a wicket of his own and at 78 the innings closed with 17 overs of slack.

A great all-round performance by Alvanley who have looked quite a force in the second half of the season. Congleton next.

15/08/15 v Mobberley. MCC 248/5, ACC 184ao. Lose, 5 points [scorecard]

For the first time in two months, Alvanley performed below par, allowing Mobberly to win by 62 runs.

Alvanley chose to buck the recent trend and bowl first, a decision that looked like it might pay dividends as Chris Charles found bounce and movement with the new ball. Unfortunately, unlike recent weeks, he couldn’t find any consistence from the other end and so his early scalp was the only reward until after drinks. Indeed it took 31 overs for the second wicket to fall although some control had been established as Mobberly were restrict to 106 in that time. The second wicket came from a brilliant run out by Ste Charles. His thoughtful offspin brought further reward at 129, tempting Aussie Nield to hole out to an excellent catch by Ouzinidis. The anchor of the innings was ex Lancs batsman Nathan Wood and the score stretched to 186 before Kenny Roberts got him mis-hooking to the diving Si Gee. Only one more wicket fell and this allowed the batsmen to take chances. The last 10 overs went for 80 runs and the final total of 248 was around 30 more than Alvanley would have liked.

Alvanley began positively with James Ecclestone and Mike Rowlands timing the ball well but all too often hitting the fielders. Rowlands fell at 35 in the 8th over, perhaps playing a shot too far? Ecclestone soon followed tamely driving to mid on but calmer times were ahead as Gee and Ste Charles added an aesthetic 50 runs. The game turned on its head when Charles was adjudged leg before after looking booked in for the day. His 35 hinted at a significant score, but it wasn’t to be.  Si Gee (24) looked in control until he chopped on to his poles and when Hornby stepped across his stumps, Alvanley were struggling at 124/5 in 32 overs.

Andy Bennion took the attack back to the bowlers, smashing 26 in just 12 balls and with Will Speakman (30) looking in fine touch the other end, the win looked back on. The pair fell in quick succession though, both bowled by the excellent Nield and the rest of the inning fell away rather quickly. A disappointing 184 all out in 41 overs is a wake up call after a run of fine performances. Much work is still left in the season to firstly ensure safety but also to reign in the teams just above them. That starts on Saturday when they visit Northwich.

08/08/15 at Brooklands. ACC 188ao, BCC 63ao. Win 25 [scorecard]

Another great performance by Alvanley saw them to a 125 run victory at Brooklands and in doing so made it 4 wins out of the last 5 games.

A dusty crumbly surface gave Skipper Chris Charles no option other than to bat first and with Jimmy Ecclestone away, a chance opened up for Joe Hornby to have a bat first alongside Mike Rowlands. Straight away there was uneven bounce but the pair looked for the bad ball in positive fashion and raced to 37 off just 7 overs before Hornby played an ill-advised sweep and was sent on his way. Mike Rowlands followed 10 runs later for a crisp 25 and with the score on 54 Ste Charles and Will Speakman followed the openers off to leave Alvanley in trouble. Left handers Si Gee and Chris Jones added 19 and looked secure until Jones was unlucky to be adjudged LBW. 73/5.

With spin operating at both ends, Si Gee and Andy Bennion set about rebuilding. With the ball turning, both batsmen were watchful and generally stayed back. Gee looked more fluent, driving with power and poise, while Bennion looked to nudge singles. The stand grew and as it did so the shots became more assertive. Bennion went to a 93 ball 50 with a booming six and two balls later Gee was able to raise his bat, reaching his half century in 81 balls. The stand of 97 came to end when Bennion ran himself out for 56 and Gee soon followed going for quick runs. 171/7. The tail added valuable runs to allow the team to finish on 188 all out off the last ball. This represented an imposing score on a crumbling pitch.

Billy Ouzinidis and Chris Charles took the cherry for Alvanley and soon made inroads, Charles bowling Wood with a big inswinger and then trapping Madden in front to a ball that kept low. After beating the edge several times, Ouzinidis finally picked up Bagshaw and his figures of 1 for 21 again do him no justice. 27 for 3 was extended to 46 for 3 but the introduction of Kenny Roberts soon snuffed this partnership, removing both batsmen within two overs. The carnage had begun. This was the start of a sequence of 6 wicket maidens as Roberts and Ste Charles turned the screw. Some great catch from Charles and Speakman back the bowlers up but the quality of the bowling was top draw. Roberts ended with 4 for 13 while Ste Charles bagged 3 wickets for 1 run in 4 overs!

A couple of smotes and a few extras boosted the score to 63 before Roberts ended the innings and Alvanley celebrated a great performance and 25 points.

01/08/15 v Widnes. ACC 185ao, WCC 182ao. Win 25 points. [scorecard]

Well if you were not watching this game, ask yourself ‘why not!?’ It had everything including an incredible finish, resulting in back to back wins for Alvanley.

In the absence of Chris Charles, brother Steve took the reigns and showed his elder brother how to toss a coin. Having won the toss Steve chose to bat on a dry wicket with a hint of green. In Aussie John Menzies, Widnes have one of the leagues best bolers, so this was a bold move and when Jimmy Ecclestone was bowled neck and crop in the fourth over, followed by Mike rowlands in the 10th and Charles himself in the 11th, at 33 for 3, Alvanley were behind the 8-ball. Will Speakman soon followed caught behind and when Singh was introduced and immeditaely found spin, Widnes were riding high.

Left handers Si Gee and Chris Jones steadied the ship adding 35 in 9 overs before Gee was bowled by a ball that pitched leg stump and hit off for a solid 21. 75/5. Andy Bennion came in at 7 and looked sharp from the outset clipping well through the leg side. He and Jones looked to be positive and added 48 runs in 11 overs before Jones fell to the extra bounce of McCoy. Ed Speakman joined Bennion and again the pair looked to be assertive and took the score from 123 to 157 before Bennion snicked Singh to slip for a run-a-ball 46. Speakman smashed the returning Mezies for a 4 and a six before pulling straight up in the air looking for a third boundary. Kenny Roberts came and went quickly and in a flash the last pair were at the crease with 8 overs to go. Billy Ouzinidis and Ian Charles played sensibly, using up the overs and nudging the score to a competitive 185 at tea.

Roberts and Ouzinidis took the new ball and found some lateral movement after tea. Roberts found the edge of Byrne’s bat in the first over to get the ball rolling and in the fourth over Ouzinidis, bowling aggressively, hurried Moore into a mistimed hook and Jones took an excellent running catch. In Ouzinidis’s next over the scenario was repeated. He bowled a short ball and McCoy obliged in splicing the ball straight up in the air. 25/3.

A period of calm ensued with the openers replaced by Ecclestone and Charles – both happy to sit in on a good length and build some pressure. Catterall and Hewitt put a stand of 80 together and were just starting to find some momentum when leg spinner Mike Rowlands found the outside edge, Ian Charles did the rest at point. 105/4 after 34 overs.

A pacy stand then followed, seeming to take the game Widnes’s way. 33 was added in a flash with Burns adding 31 of them in fine style, before Rowlands drew a mistimed drive from Hewitt, Ouzinidis taking a great catch at cover. Ecclestone’s reintroduction stemmed the runs and when he bowled Burns, Alvanley were back in the game at 154/6.  Four overs later Ecclestone dismissed Moore and next ball he ran out Cain with a brilliant piece of fielding off his own bowling. A great stop was followed with a backhand flick to knock the bails off. 176/8 – 10 needed off 10 balls.  The rest of the overs was tidy and 8 were now needed off the 50th overs to bowled by Rowlands. He lured Menzies down the track first ball and Gee completed a sharp stumping. Singles came off the next three balls including a tough missed chance by Bennion at slip and with two balls left 4 were needed. Singh stepped back and cracked a square cut down towards deep point, Kenny Roberts sprinted round and picked up, he threw the most sublime throw over the stumps in to Gee’s gloves and Singh was gone by a yard. More jubilant scenes followed and a valuable 25 points were secured. Credit to Widnes for their part in a terrific, positive game of cricket. Rowlands ended with 3 for 31 off 10.5 excellent overs.


25/07/15 at Bollington. ACC 217/8, BCC 141ao. Win 25 points. [scorecard]

A magnificent 76 run win for Alvanley at high flying Bollington has put some breathing space between them and the drop zone and gives them a haul of 62 points from the last three games.

A large crowd and a hard green wicket greeted the teams and Alvanley were asked to bat first. Opening pair Jimmy Ecclestone and Mike Rowlands had to contend with a seaming new ball and with plenty of bounce for the bowlers, life was tough at the top. Ecclestone looked most at ease, accumulating busily before driving too uppishly on 14. Rowlands was finding batting tough but was up for the fight. He and Ste Charles added 53 for the 2nd wicket before Charles fell for 21 with the score at 70 for 2 with drinks approaching.

Si Gee, promoted to 4, assessed the bowling and the pitch watchfully as his partner went to yet another half century. Rowlands has been in terrific form but he will as frustrated as anyone at getting out just after he had raised his bat. 97/3. Gee, looking to play positively began to unfurl his range of shots and put on valuable stands of 44 and 42 with Will Speakman and Andy Bennion who both played second fiddle to the left hander. Gee opened his shoulders with a six into the noisy Western Terrace and an unbelievable hit over cover to clear the ropes at the longest boundary. The 50 overs closed at 217 for 8 – a decent score on a pitch offering seam and bounce. Gee was run out off the penultimate ball for a magnificent 92-ball 81.

Bollington have a strong batting line and a top 4 as good as any in the league. Early inroads needed then! Billy Ouzinidis bowled with pace and extracted bounce to have the openers in trouble. He will reflect on a number of edges that flew for four and two dropped catches that gave him no reward for some very decent bowling.

At the other end, Ste Charles grabbed a sharp gully chance off his brother Chris to remove the best of the lot – Rick Hough. Half chances went begging as the home team nervously got to 50 for 1 but when Charles removed Barrass for a flirty 39, Alvanley were in the hunt. Jimmy Ecclestone replaced Ouzinidis and embaraked on the most remarkable spell. His worst ball encouraged the dangerous Mallie to hit a short ball to Chris Jones at square leg and in the next over he yorked Henshall – 72 for 4.

Ste Charles off spin then accounted for the big hitting Imran, held at slip by Bennion. 72 for 5! When Ecclestone found the edge of Patterson’s bat in the next over, again clutched at slip by Bennion, Bolly had slipped from 72 for 2 to 72 for 6!! A further 9 runs were added before the Ecclestone / Bennion combination accounted for Jahangir and a further 9 runs later another edge found the flying Bennion to give him his 4th slip catch and Ecclestone his first 5 wicket haul for the 1st XI. 92/8.

Ecclestone wasn’t finished. A well judged catch by Ouzinidis gave him his 6th wicket at 110 for 9 but the the next 11 overs the last pair gave Alvanley some nervous moments, adding 31 runs and taking the game into the last 10 overs. An inspired bowling change saw Ecclestone removed (11 overs 6 for 28) and Kenny Roberts introduced. He persuaded McGernan to drive the ball straight to Captain Chris Charles at Gully to spark wild celebrations. 141 all out!

What a fantastic game of cricket!

Both teams contributed to a fabulous game of cricket played on a brilliant surface in fine weather and in a great spirit. Warrington won the toss and asked Alvanley to bat first but were soon on the defensive as Mike Rowlands and Jimmy Ecclestone looked in fine touch against the new ball – 27 runs came from the first 4 overs.

The pair looked in little trouble adding 60 for the first wicket until Ecclestone picked out a fielder with a lofted drive when he looked set for a long stint. His 30 came off 37 balls. Ste Charles joined Rowlands and kept the board ticking over – both players running well and putting the bad balls away. At 124 Rowlands, having just brought up yet another 50, again failed to go on and found the tall Green at full stretch at extra cover. Chris Charles joined his brother to add a quick 25 before Steve fell agonisingly one short of 50 and when Chris fell next ball, a rebuild was required at 152/4. Si Gee and Andy Bennion did so adding 33 for the 5th wicket. Bennion went for 19 to the returning Green and Gee went in the 190s trying to put Green out of the ground but finding long on instead for 25. With a long batting line up Alvanley would have liked 240+ but with wickets falling regularly 215 for 9 was a reasonable effort.

Alvanley began the 2nd half well removing Heaney – bowled by Chris Charles for 5, but the next hour was dominated by the bat at Clutterbuck and Green enjoyed the seam bowling on this belting pitch. 100 for 1.

Ste Charles has had some great spells this season and his introduction had an immediate effect, teasing a caught & bowled out of Green. When brother Chris ran out Rudd soon after Alvanley had their tails up. Another Ste Charles caught & bowled accounted for Clutterbuck and in a flash Warrington had two new batsmen at the crease with the score precariously poised at 115/4. Hughes and Fleetwood dug in for a while but a brilliant Ste Charles catch off Rowlands ended Hughes day and with Fleetwood living dangerously, Alvanley again felt ahead of the game. The ‘Charles show’ continued as Chris held a running catch off his brother to remove Fleetwood. 149/6. Nathan Green and Brad MacIntosh counter attacked to take the score on to 184 but this ended when Ste Charles produced a beauty to bowl him for 27. Scholes soon followed, gobbled up at slip by Bennion and when Cadepalli picked out the diving Ecclestone at mid on, to give Ste Charles his 5th scalp, Warrington were on the brink at 194 for 9. Green began to attack, supported bravely by the injured Agar, batting at 11. Gradually they whittled the target down and needed 2 from the last over. Sadly for Alvanley the winning runs came with 4 balls to spare to end an epic game. Ste Charles ended with brilliant figures of 5 for 41 off 16 skillful overs.

Much credit should go to Alvanley who fought bravely down to the wire. The defeat gave a reasonable points haul of 12 and eased Alvanley further away from the drop zone. Bollington next.

11/07/15 at Irby. ICC 91ao, ACC 93/1. Win 25. [scorecard]

A win!!!

Alvanley at last secured a league win, the first of the 2015 season, by a huge margin of 9 wickets, surely an indication that there are better things to come.

The headline acts with the ball were captain Chris Charles who’s 5 for 30 came off a marathon 19 over spell and 16 year old Sophie Ecclestone who grabbed 3 for 15 on her 1st XI league debut.

Irby won the toss and surprisingly elected to bat first on a patchy wicket and with weather due in at tea time. The first few overs from Joe Hornby and Chris Charles were lethal, the ball flying through head height to Si Gee behind the stumps with exaggerated sideways movement to boot. It was Hornby who struck first hitting Smith on the Gloves and Charles taking the easiest of catches running in from slip. Charles himself struck next, again finding bounce as Gee took an excellent catch behind. Irby limped to 24 before Charles removed Newman and Overend – both bowled and with the ball beating the bat more often than not, Alvanley smelled blood.

Mike Newman and Simon Renshaw stuck around for a while but the introduction of Billy Ouzinidis did for Renshaw brilliantly caught one handed by the flying Bennion at slip. Szymura soon got in on the act at 2nd slip taking a cracker to remove Newman off Charles. 58/6.

Sophie Ecclestone, playing against Australia B next week for England Academy was introduced for her first County League bowl. And what a start! She grabbed 3 wickets for just 15 runs in a great display of left arm spin bowling. The coup de grace was left to captain Charles who completed his 5 wicket haul to end proceedings at 91 all out.

Mike Rowlands and Andy Bennion, aware that rain was approaching set about the chase positively. Rowlands looked in great touch, making a mockery of the difficult surface to plunder 33 of 34 balls. He added 48 for the first wicket before playing a shot too many. Ste Charles joined Bennion and the pair tucked in to the seam bowling whilst playing the spin watchfully. They took their team home in the 21st over to ensure a 25 – 0 point margin. Charles ended 21 not out and Bennion 33 not out.

04/07/15 v Stockport. ACC 115ao, SCC 119/7. Lose, 5 points. [scorecard]

A day where the ball dominated the bat was testament to some impressive bowling from both teams on a pitch that offered occasional spin and seam and generous bounce.

Alvanley were asked to bat first but conditions were to the liking of left armers Dunley and Eley. Both found swing and seam movement with the new ball and within minutes of the start Szymura, Ste Charles and Jones were all back in the shed have been undone by top quality bowling. Chris Charles joined Mike Rowlands and the pair took the score to 40 before Rowlands nicked Eley’s 4th wicket to the keeper. Jimmy Ecclestone stuck around with his captain for a while and the pair looked secure without ever breaking the shackles. When Charles knicked off for a restrained 29, the repair work began yet again. Andy Bennion and Ecclestone reigned themselves in, looking to take the team closer to 50 overs but the introduction of Porter’s offspin did for the younger batsman who was bowled for a gutsy 17. Fisher came and went in similar fashion and when Bennion was given out for an unusually slow 16, a total under 100 looked likely. Ouzinidis soon followed and so it was left the last pair of Kenny Roberts and Max Tonge to boost the total. They took the score to 115 before Roberts fell for 20 to the returning Eley.

Stockport smashed 9 off the first 3 balls but were 9/1 after 4 balls as Roberts fine run out ended Khan’s day. The score went to 38 for 1 but catches were crucially spilled and decisions fell Stockport’s way until Chris Charles eventually got his reward as Facer edged to the flying Ste Charles at second slip. Another partnership developed but again, half chances came and went and confident appeal were ignored. At 94 for 2 Billy Ouzinidis joined Max Tonge in the attack. Ouzinis ran in with his usual enthusiasm and induced atop edge from Barber, the catch taken well on the run by Roberts. Two overs later he found the edge to Bennion with the gloves on and the home team sniffed blood. Tonge produced a beauty to remove Kiwi Pricemoor and at 105 for 5, two new batsmen were at the crease. Ouzinis then grabbed his 3rd to bowl Knott and next over Tonge found Edwards’ edge to Bennion’s grateful gloves. 110/7.

It took a couple of risky blows from that man Eley to take the visitors home in what proved to be yet another exciting game of cricket, which yet again, fell the way of Alvanley’s opponents.

Alvanley will reflect on some crucial decision and some dropped catches but also on the great bowling effort from Fisher, Tonge and Ouzinidis.

27/06/15 v Upton. ACC 234/8, UCC 238/6. Lose 10 points [scorecard]

Alvanley have been involved in a few exciting games lately and this latest encounter with Upton was no different.

Alvanley won the toss and chose to bat on a hard true Alvanley pitch. Restored to the first team, Mark Szymura gave his team a positive and secure start scoring 22 in an opening stand of 40 with Mike Rowlands. Szymura’s dismissal seemed harsh but this brought Ste Charles to the crease and the pair of left handers looked in full control, taking the score to 92 in the 18th over when Rowlands surprised everyone by tamely chipping to mid on for an attractive 42. Chris Jones came and went but Alvanley were still in control and Chris Charles joined his younger brother. The pair took the score on to 149 before Ste was bowled just 5 short of a half century. Captain Chris took centre stage for the rest of the innings, moving through the gears and dominating a series of useful partnerships. He eventually fell for a superb 71 in just 79 ball including a brace of big sixes. Alvanley closed on a decent 234/8.

The target was stiff but the pitch was great for batting and the outfield quick. Upton got off to a great start. Cowderoy chanced his arm, while Williams turned the strike over. Cowderoy had a few let offs but should be given credit for his approach as he charged to a run-a-ball 94.  141 was reached without a wicket falling and seam bowling was abandoned after just 14 overs. The breakthough came from the 3rd spinner used – Mike Rowlands. His leg spin deceived Williams and soon after Stowell-Smith to give Alvanley hope at 1551/2. When he also snared Cowderoy at 156, the momentum was swing the way of the home team. A series of near misses followed as the 4th wicket pair struggled against Rob Fisher and Mike Rowlands and at 182 Cant fell to the accurate Fisher. The dangerous Smith followed one run later, finally falling for Rowlands’ trap and with 51 still needed a win was in the offing. Further hope fell Alvanley’s way as Kenny Roberts’ brilliant run out added to Upton’s woes. 35 needed. Upton bat deep and Warburton and Roberts dug in. Warburton was crucially dropped on 13 and despite some huge appeals for leg before, the pair survived to take the game into the last over. Warburton smote the winning boundary with 4 balls remaining to end a memorable game. Rowlands ended with 4 for 81.

20/06/15 v Bredbury. BCC 214ao, ACC 134ao. Lose 5 points  [scorecard]

A below par performance and an inspired performance from the visitors combined to afford Alvanley a defeat they could ill afford.

A toss went Chris Charles way but statistics and situations pointed towards fielding first. This unfortunately results in the bowlers using a wet ball for most of the innings but credit to the Bredbury batsmen who played with energy and were full of shots. 70 for 0 was largely due to the bludgeoning Keyworth but two quick wickets for Roberts and Ste Charles turned the momentum briefly Alvanley’s way. Unfortunately, an old foe, Major Khan strode in for his first game of the season and hurled his bat ferociously at everything bowled at him. Whilst he flayed boundaries, wickets began to fall at the other end, mainly to Charles’ superb off spin. However the damage was done by Keyworth (80) and Khan (55) and Bredbury had managed 214 in the allocation. Credit to Roberts for his 3 wickets but plaudits to Charles. Amidst the chaos he bowled immaculately to snare a personal best 6 for 44 over 16 top overs.

Alvanley lost Will Speakman early but for a while all seemed well as Ste Charles and Mike Rowlands progressed steadily to 62 before Charles tried a pull too many. Jimmy Ecclestone joined Rowlands and was able to shake his hand as the gritty opener passed 50 yet again. At 94 for 2 Rowlands was adjudged Leg before and from hereon in the batsmen struggled. The drying pitch began to take some turn and Barlow became rather tricky. He bagged 5 for 22 as the middle order fell away and any thoughts of a draw disappeared as Chris Charles became another leg before victim and Alvanley were licking their wounds at 134 all out.

13/06/15 at Congleton. ACC 156ao, CCC 156ao. Tie 16 points [scorecard]

What a game!

An at times bizarre, tense, hard fought game with the craziest of climaxes was fought out to a tie at a drizzly Congleton, with both teams taking 16 points from a tied game.

Alvanley, missing a number of players including captain and and vice captain, won the toss and risked batting first on a very green wicket. Mike Rowalnds edged behind early on and despite a rush of 4s, so too did Will Speakman – 21/2 after 4. Jimmy Ecclestone and Si Gee both fell trying to survive a moving ball in bowler friendly conditions. Chris Jones and Ed Speakman coped better taking the score to 87 before Speakman injudiciously slapped one to cover for 16. Joe Hornby scored 14 before suffering a similar fate but at least saw the team past 100. When Jones fell for a lively 40, which at the final reckoning was a match defining knock, Alvanley were in trouble at 113 for 7.

Veterans Andy Bennion and Rob Fisher came out in unfamiliar and circumspect fashion and slowly built a partnership before Bennion on 18 smashed one to cover. Ken Roberts and Billy Ouzinidis soon followed and in 32 overs Alvanley had fallen for 156 with Fisher stranded on 21. 156 all was not a bad score on this wicket but it left the home team with 62 overs to get them.

Some scampered singles were interspersed with huge appeals, dropped catches and gathering darkness. With the scored level, Speakman steamed in and rearranged Copeland’s timbers to snatch the most dramatic of ties. He ended with 2 for 9, Roberts 2 for 22 but the hero of the day was Rob Fisher. His 4 for 22 of 24 marathon overs allowed the seamers to attack from one end. Brilliant stuff from the veteran.

A great game with a great finish played in great spirit.

11/06/15 at Christleton in the T20. ACC 169/8, CCC 136ao.  [scorecard]

For the 4th year in a row Alvanley have managed to take a scalp from the divisions above them in this competition, this 34 run win at Christleton being the latest.

Stand in skipper Andy Bennion showed his full time skipper how to win a toss and batted first on a dry flay pitch. He and Mike Rowlands made first use of the pitch but Rowlands, Arthur Brummitt and Chris Jones all fell before the score reached 15. Bennion was joined by young Joe Horby and the pair played positively in taking the score to 68 before Bennion was run out backing up for 35. Hornby was in fine form and with Pickersgill giving him the strike he began to open his shoulders. He hit an incredible seven sixes as he strode past 50 driving the ball well past the football pitch on several occasions. He finally fell for 78 and took his team to an imposing 169 for 8.

The response began well with Kenny Roberts taking an early scalp, Even better was to follow as Roberts induced an uppish drive from Kiwi star Renwick and the flying Ouzinisis did the rest at Mid off. Christleton kept playing their shots but tight bowling from Ecclestone, Ouzinidis and Rowlands kept the rate in check. The coup de gras was supplied by Fisher. Switching ends he grabbed 4 late wickets, 3 stumped by Fletcher and included a hatrick, with the last wicket coming caught smartly by Rowlands at Gully via Fletcher’s boot! It should also be noted that veteran keeper Chris Fletcher executed 4 stumpings.

Lovely ground, rasping weather, a great pitch and excellent hospitality was topped off by a fine win for the Alv.


Roberts and Hornby starred in this 34 run win for the Alv

07/06/15 v Ashton on Mersey (Cheshire Shield). AOMCC 192/9, ACC 193/1. [scorecard]

Alvanley booked their place in the next round of the Cheshire Shield with a thumping 9 wicket win over Ashton on Mersey. Joe Hornby bowled a superb new ball spell of 7 overs 2 for 5 to leave the visitors reeling. Billy Ouzinidis picked up a wicket with his first ball and Skipper Chris Charles weighed in with 2 of his own. 60 for 5 of 27 overs however was as bad as it got as the visitors finally realised they were playing on a road of a wicket. The Aussie took centre stage as this point and blasted a powerful century taking his team to a respectable but below par 192/9.

Joe Hornby - 5 overs 2 for 5

Joe Hornby – 5 overs 2 for 5

Mike Rowlands and Andy Bennion blasted a century stand in just 11 overs before Bennion fell for 53. Rowlands went on to an unbeaten 86no with Ste Charles ended 52 no. This 9 wicket win was completed in just 28 overs.

Ashley or Hale Barns away next

06/06/15 v Northwich. ACC 256/7, NCC 226/8. Draw 14 points. [scorecard]

Alvanley and Northwich played out a brilliant game of cricket a superb Alvanley wicket, with Alvanley coming out with a winning draw.

Yet again, Chris Charles lost the toss (that’s 7 losses from 8) and Northwich invited Alvanley to bat. Will Speakman started brightly pulling and driving confidently allowing Alvanley to fly to 31 in just 4 overs before drying a drive too many. Ste Charles joined Mike Rowlands who was looking in fine fettle and scoring freely as the new ball came on to the bat nicely. This allowed Charles to bed in. The pair soon settled and took singles particularly well. The pair took the partnership into the 70s and the score past 100 before Charles offered a caught and bowled for a pleasing 36. Si Gee joined Rowlands and was able to offer a handshake as the opener passed 50 yet again. Drives and singles collect off the legs both featured heavily in the knock. This 50 though, like the other was short lived as he fell soon after.

As is his way, the promoted Andy Bennion came in a threw the bat. 3 towering sixes featured in a 24-ball 37 that took the score away from Northwich. He, Gee and Chris Charles all fell in the late 100s but there was more to come. Chris Jones and Joe Hornby kept the pace going with a scintillating stand. Hornby belied his 16 years to smash two massive 6s on his way to a speedy 22 while Jones place the ball expertly to race to a 25-ball 30 not out. 256/7 was the final tally on a pitch where most predicted a par score of 240.

Northwich lost the early wicket of Gittens, snicking off to Chris Charles, but Stonely at the other end was on fire. He thumped the ball to all parts racing to 50 in just 30 balls – the chase was on! Charles reacted well by switching himself to the road end and asking brother Steve to bowl some off spin. Release from keeping duties, his spin has been excellent this season and he soon induced an edge from a flashing drive from Stonely. Bennion did the rest, flying to his right to take an excellent slip catch. Chrsi Charles then produced a jaffer to remove Sri Lankan Ishanka and at 67 for 3, Alvanley were on top. The returning Hornby removed Plant and the game was moving on at 88 for 4.

Mark Walker was joined at the crease by Glynod Cherion and this 6th wicket pair battled hard against some probing bowling. They stuck around and gradually built a dangerous partnership. All the time though the rate was creeping up and a situation came about that suited Kenny Roberts down to the ground. Bowl at the stumps was the demand from the skipper. Roberts began by yorking Walker for 55. He then inviting big hitter Yearsly and Sefton to take on the boundary riders. Will Speakman was up to the task, taking two very good catches and within a flash, Roberts had three scalps.

Cherion kept the chase going, passing 50 and working hard to take his team close. With three overs to go though he called the chase off. Ironically this is where he looked bost vulnerable, twice looking like he would be walking off after some confident appeals. he survived and so did his team.

This brilliant game of cricket ended with Northwich closing at 226/8 and the draw gave Alvanley a healthy 14 points. Roberts ended with 3 for 41 and the Charles brothers both took two wickets from their excellent spells.

30/05/15 at Mobberley. ACC 151/5, MCC 157/4. Lose. [scorecard]

Alvanley’s poor start to the season continued on Saturday with a 6 wicket loss at Mobberley. Sympathy should go the Alvanley though after losing yet another toss and being asked to bat on a sopping wet track. Much credit should go to Mike Rowlands (21) and Will Speakman (14) for their determination to stay at the crease in extremely difficult conditions, having to cope with sideways movement and vertical variation. They both fell LBW with the score on 38 after 22 overs. Further losses were sustained as Ste Charles was bowled by a snorter and Chris Jones nicked behind. Jimmy Ecclestone stuck around for a while but at 57 off 33 overs perished trying to up the rate.

Si Gee had been bedding in and was joined at the crease by Andy Bennion. Bennion immediately played a series of crisp shots and the pair stole singles well. They added 44 in 12 overs before the final assault. In the last 6 overs they blasted 59 mixing power with clever placement. Their unbeaten stand of 92 elevated the score to a very competitive 151/5 at tea. Gee ended with 37 not out whilst Bennion struck 62 not out of just 54 balls. There were signs though of the wicket drying and becalming.

Mobberley came out swinging after tea but soon lost Beresford-Ince to Ecclestone. At 30 for 1 a crucial moment came and went as Aussie Nield skied a chance. It went to ground alas and for the rest of the innings he dominated Alvanley’s attack. A frugal spells from Chris Charles and skillful performance From Rob Fisher were the highlights of the second innings as the other bowlers struggled to hit consistent areas. There were moments where the threat of Fisher might have given Alvanley the edge but Nield stuck a series of furious blows. He hit 8 massive sixes in a brilliant display of batting. His decisive 88 bot out took the game away from Alvanley and condemned them to a 3rd loss of the season.

Better catching and improved consistency with ball are needed for Alvanley turn their fortunes around. Northwich next

28/05/15 at Chester BH (T20). ACC 122/6, CBHCC 123/1

A fighting 54 from Mike Rowlands and impish 20 not out from Joe Hornby nudged Alvanley to 122 for 6 at National T20 champs Chester. Joe also claimed the scalp of Warren Goodwin but assured half centuries from Dixon and Law saw Chester home at a canter.

24/05/15 v Urmston (Cheshire Cup). ACC 148ao, UCC 149/5

23/05/15 v Brooklands. BCC 230/6, ACC 188/9. Draw 6 points [scorecard]

Stunning weather, a stunning setting and an equally stunning pitch set the scene for this first meeting of these teams in the County league for 17 years. Brooklands won the toss and chose to bat first and struggled initially as Chris Charles and Joe Hornby found bounce and a little swing. Just 11 runs came from the first 9 overs as the ball beat the bat regularly. Charles will feel particularly aggrieved not to have found the edge but had to settle for some miserly figures. The changes of bowling from either end saw some good deliveries sent down from Roberts and Ecclestone but a four ball per over allowed the visitors to up the rate. Rowlands and Fisher were the next pair to try their luck. The spinners combined well to re-establish some pressure and at 106 after 30 overs the home side were happy with their work. Crucially a couple of catches were spilled and wickets in hand was to prove critical as the batsmen were able to take risks in the last 20. Rob Fisher’s  1 for 60 in this context was therefore excellent and spells a return to form for the ex-Cheshire man.

Parmakelis and Hart were able to add some maximums to the total in the final flourish and a decent 230 for 6 was posted. This was considered by most to be around par.

Alvanley needed a solid start to build a base for an assault later in the innings. This didn’t materialise as Will Speakman, Steve Charles and Mike Rowlands (21) all fell before the end of the 12th over. There followed a ten over spell where just 3 runs were scored but at least Chris Jones and Si Gee were showing an appetite for the battle. Jones went on 42 and at this point the home side got their act together. Chris Charles injected some urgency and pulled Gee along with him. Scoring all round the wicket and running positively, the pair added 102 before a wonder catch removed the captain for 52 which included 3 big sixes. Andy Bennion joined Gee with a plan to bring the required rate down . He slammed 21 in just 10 balls and suddenly the rate was down to 6.5. His dismissal soon followed by Fisher and Ecclestone swung the game back to Brooklands and Charles decided enough was enough and with 5 overs to go the shutter were put up. Roberts had a rush of blood to leave Gee and 16 year old Joe Hornby to repel the last 3 overs, which they did expertly. ACC ended 188/9 with Gee unbeaten on an excellent 64.

Missed chances in the field and a poor start with the bat will be areas that Alvanley must address if they are to win games like this one.

16/05/15 at Widnes. ACC 180ao, WCC 169/9. Draw, 13 points. [scorecard]

Alvanley at last showed they are side to be reckoned with with a strong display at Widnes. Alvanley lost the toss for the fourth time out of five and were asked to bat first on a wicket that was only ever going to be very low. Will Speakman and Mike Rowlands had to work hard against excellent new ball bowling and looked well set until Menzies bowled Speakman for 13. Then followed a really impressive stand of 69 between Rowlands and Ste Charles. The pair saw off the openers and then settled in to a war of attrition against the spinners. Charles eventually ran out of patience for a well made 25. Andy Bennion joined Rowlands and the pair, at 89 for 2 after 31 overs had to step on the gas. Both players hit gaps well to move the score briskly on before Rowlands swung wildly to end his excellent innings of 64. Bennion quickly lost Chris Charles and Jimmy Ecclestone as they succumbed trying to be positive and when Bennion fell for 32, the lower order had work to do at 148 for 6. Ed Speakman and Mark Szymura repelled the returning Menzies and scored quickly enough to get the score to a respectable 180 all out in the last over.

Chris Charles and Joe Hornby began steadily with the ball but 20 runs were posted without alarm. There followed a mini spell of 4 overs 3 for 7 by Hornby as he suddenly found rhythm and took out 3 top players in a flash. 29 for 3 was precarious for Widnes but in Chris Kirby and veteran Phil Catterall, they had decent players at the crease. They showed character and quality in adding 80 runs. They were however coming under increasing pressure. Ste Charles removed his keeping gloves and teamed up with leg-spinner Rowlands to bowl his team back into the match. The pressure they created led to a superb run out by Kenny Roberts. Charles then had a brace of wickets and from 117 for 3, Widnes had slipped to 133/7. A Rowlands googly dazzled Myers but in Alex Hewitt Widnes had a player who was still eyeing up the win. Alvanley were convinced they had him stumped and when he went on to crack a couple of 6s, Alvanley might have wondered if the game was slipping. Charles held his nerve to remove Hewitt and with 2 overs remaining, Widnes needed 12 runs with the last pair in. Unfortunately no more wickets were to fall and Alvanley had to settle for a draw and 13 points.

This was a very decent performance and will give cause for optimism moving on to a home encounter with Brooklands.

14/05/15 v Tattenhall. T20 Cup. ACC 177/7, TCC 180/1 [scorecard]

350 runs in 39 overs provided rich entertainment on Thursday night in the first group game of this years T20 cup. Alvanley chose to bat first on a flat hard pitch but soon lost Will Speakman to Ben Gibbon, the pace of Johnson was proving to be to the liking of Mike Rowlands and Ste Charles as the score rattled to 68 in the 6 over powerplay. Rowlands in particular hitting the bowling to all parts in a savage display. With the score on 80 it was a surprise to see him beaten but he gained all the plaudits in scoring 57 in just 37 balls. Charles soon followed and a mini collapse involving Syymura, Ecclestone and Aveyard followed – 109 for 5. This brought Andy Bennion and captain Chris Charles together. They upped the tempo again and both looked in fine form. The pair hit 55 in under 5 overs to take the game back to Tattenhall. Charles fell for a 17-ball 29 that included 3 towering 6s while Bennion went on to a 32-ball 43no. Joe Hornby added a breezy 12 not out at the death to take the total to a respectable 177/7.

Tattenhall, like Alvanley began well, seizing on anything short to post 51 in their powerplay. Alvanley will reflect on a couple of half chances in an otherwise excellent fielding display that could have tipped the game their way. Wickets were not falling but the run rate ebbed and flowed. There were times when Alvanley would have felt they were ahead and other when Tattenhall would have felt in control. A big over at 72 from 8 made a real dent in the score as Sadler and Thompson went on the attack. There were other moments where hope remained – Hornby’s wonder catch off Ste Charles, being one of them, but in the end Dan Power’s power rammed the away team’s victory charge home and they won with 6 balls remaining.

Alvanley will reflect on a a mixed performance where the bowling was often too short and the batting lost some momentum in the middle. Lots of positives were taken too.

09/05/15 v Bollington. ACC 104ao, BCC 105/1. Lose. [scorecard]

A wet wicket greeted the teams after Friday’s deluge breached even the very best efforts of the Charleses, the covers and the sheets. Bollington had no hesitation in bowling having called the toss correctly.

The ball occasionally misbehaved as you would expect on a wet wicket but Will Speakman and Mike Rowlands looked in sharp touch against some probing new ball bowling. It was surprising to see them both go within 2 balls both caught in the offside ring. Some tightening up needed there. Steve Charles fell in similar manner but the calm Jimmy Ecclestone and Chris Jones looked assured against the backdrop of a worrying scoreboard. Ecclestone defended stoutly while Jones looked for the bad ball and invariably punished it. Alvanley seemed to be out of the choppiest water at 53 for 3 but Ecclestone was adjudged leg before right on the drinks to tip the scales back to Bolly.

Further support for Jones was supplied by Gee but when he tried to expand a freakish caught and bowled by Plant saw him on his way. This started an unstoppable rot. Jones, for a really well constructed 47, Bennion and Charles all soon followed. Ainsworth was trapped in front too and when Hornby unadvisedly ran past a turning ball, the game was up at 104.

Opinions varied about whether wicket calmed down after tea, if it did, it was only marginal. Chris Charles led the new ball attach well but went luckless and wicket-less.  Jahangir’s job was to run at the bowlers and attack, some bold shots were interspersed will some lucky ones, but hats off to his enterprise. He and opening partner Hough posted 60 until the excellent Rob Fisher induced a Ste Charles stumping. That was that though as overseas Mallie blasted his way to 30.

Alvanley’s effort in the field was commendable but too many easy hits were afforded to the visitors. The batsmen must also set their sights on batting for longer spells if the team are to revert back to last season’s winning ways.

Widnes next.

02/05/15 at Warrington. WCC 12/1 (7 overs), abandoned. [scorecard]

With some major players returning for Alvanley, hopes were high travelling to Warrington and with ball in hand, skipper Chris Charles looked full of confidence. He beat the bat 4 times in the first over, 3 times in his 2nd over and induced two edges, one of which was grabbed by bother Steve. His 4 overs were maidens and he looked in ominous form when the umpires rightly took the players off for rain.


To not return at some stage was poor. The ground was firm and untouched by the rain and to not play any further cricket in (at times) spitting rain goes against the spirit of the rule that was introduced to stop teams playing in heavy rain to seek an advantage. The 3rd XI game on the adjacent pitch completed their 90 overs. Oh dear

25/04/15. Alvanley v Irby. ICC 197ao, ACC 134/8. Draw 6 [scorecard]

With 9 1st XI players unavailable this game was always going to be a real test of Alvanley’s depth and resolve and so it proved. Alvanley were asked to bowl first on what proved to be a lightening fast and bouncy wicket – a real credit to the curating skills of Ian Charles.

The wicket was to the liking of openers Chris Charles and 16 year old Joe Hornby who both extracted bounce and the slightest seam movement with the new ball. Both took an early wicket as Irby battled to 26 for 2 in 14 overs. There could easily have been more wickets with big shouts and near misses aplenty. Newman and Caswell though rode the storm and gradually turned defence into attack, posting 98 for the 3rd wicket before the returning Charles removed Newman. A series of smallish stands followed but added up to getting the visitors to 197 all out at tea. Jimmy Ecclestone and the returning Joe Hornby were responsible for all the remaining wickets, both bowling well in the second half of the innings. Ecclestone ended 3 for 50 (in the week his younger sister Sophie took two against Sri Lanka ‘A’) and Hornby took his first 5 wicket haul to celebrate his call into the Cheshire Under 17s. His 2 spells were of the highest quality and he ended 5 for 45.

16 year old Joe Hornby celebrated his selection for Cheshire U17s by taking a brilliant 5 for 45

16 year old Joe Hornby celebrated his selection for Cheshire U17s by taking a brilliant 5 for 45

The Irby new ball attack were probing but 28 was posted by Rowlands and Ste Charles before the former was judged to be LBW. Charles fell 4 overs later to leave the home team 45/2. Ecclestone and Chris Jones consolidated, taking the score comfortably to 71 before both played poor and out-of-context shots to change the complexion of the match. Chris Charles and Andy Martin added 16 before Martin lost patience and so the skipper was joined by Andy Bennion. The pair added 30 but could not up the rate against accurate bowling and deep set fields. Both perished trying. 9th wicket pair Ian Charles and Dave Jones had a survival job to do. With the two opening bowlers back in tandem, they had 9 overs to survive in very poor light. They did so expertly and with no alarms. Alvanley were disappointed not to chase the target but with so many changes to the team, a draw is not a bad outcome.

18/04/15. Alvanley at Stockport. ACC 110 all out, SCC 112/2. Stockport win. [scorecard]

After last weeks encouraging friendly win at Middlewich, the wind was taken from Alvanley’s sails in the season’s first league game at Stockport on Saturday. Alvanley were asked to bat first on a typical April green wicket. Stockport’s Mark Ely was soon causing problems finding late movement and some variable bounce with the new ball. He had Will Speakman trapped LBW in his first over and soon after Steve Charles was bowled by the same bowler. Jon Suckley has no answer either, edging to the keeper and at 31 for 3 batting was proving to be a struggle.

Having battled hard for 20 Mike Rowlands followed his team-mates back to the shed and Captain Chris Charles had no answer to a nip-backer from Tom Kidd. 45/5.There followed a brief spell of Alvanley ascendancy as Andy Bennion and Chris Jones fought back taking the score to 76 before Bennion chopped on for a belligerent 29. Jones fought on but suffered a similar fate as the timbers were breached once more. Another promising partnership between Jimmy Ecclestone and Rob Fisher was thwarted by Fisher chopping on and the innings soon folded as Ed Speakman was trapped in front and Joe Hornby was run out. Ecclestone had looked untroubled and it was a shame to see him left high and dry.

110 all out was obviously below par but with a variable wicket, there was a sniff of a chance for Alvanley. Hornby removed Barber early on and there followed a number of half chances, loud appeals and scares but Kiwi Price-Moor and Tom Kidd rode their luck and played some meaty shots to take their team past 50. The return to bowling action for Rob Fisher was a big plus for Alvanley. He got no help from the pitch but was deadly accurate with a wicket and just 12 runs coming from his first 5 overs. The inevitable was just round the corner though and the job was finished with some big shots from Kidd and Facer to take Stockport to a deserved win.The game did have a number of positives for Alvanley but they will know that batting just 26 overs was where the game was lost.

Better things to come this Saturday as Irby provide the opposition in Alvanley’s first home game of the season.


11/04/15. at Middlewich (Friendly). MCC 204/6, ACC 260/5. Alvanley win

An excellent Middlewich pitch and decent opposition were on show for Alvanley’s only friendly before next week’s league action. Middlewich made first use of the pitch from which Mike Roberts and Joe Hornby found occasional movement in probing new ball spells. Roberts will consider himself unlucky not to bag a scalp in his 6 overs for just 10 runs. The frugal work was continued by Billy Ouzoudukis on debut and after 14 overs just 36 runs had been scored. Further decent bowling spells from spinners Sophie Ecclestone and Mike Rowlands kept the rate in check as the Middlewich tried to up the pace. Ecclestone in particular was quite superb. Her 7 over spell yielded just 11 runs and bagged her first 1st XI wicket. The home team had a good base at 70/1 and began to kick on as the bowlers rotated. Suckley’s fine spell went unrewarded as the bat swung harder and Middlewich at last found some momentum with 15 overs to go. Cornford, Du Toit and Clorley all threatened 50s as the rate climbed. Bowling under pressure Hornby and Ouzoudukis stood up well to the barrage, picking up wickets and restricting the Div 1 team to a below par 204.

Will Speakman and Mike Rowlands made batting look easy, coasting to 34 before the latter fell for 24. Speakman was joined by brother Ed and the apir added 53 in 10 overs before Ed swung a nick to the keeper. Suckley came and went but young Ben Aveyard played an important role alongside Speakman to take the team to 138 before the senior player retired on 53. Chris Jones had a brief stay and when Aveyard went for a admirable and composed 28, Alvanley had plenty to do at 153 for 5. Andys Martin (19) and Bennion (29) made light of the target, coasting home with 4 overs to spare.


04/04/15 Monday’s 1st XI friendly at Oulton Park has fallen victim to the weather. There will be a nets session running instead.


05/03/15 – Cheshire Cup!! The draw is out and Alvanley are pitched against Urmston in Round 2. The game will be at Alvanley on May 10th. The winners will be at home to Premier League Cheadle.

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22/01/15  – Village KO draw has been made. A first round bye puts Alvanley up against Barrow in Round 2. If successful at Barrow, the next round would be at Birchvale, Prestbury or Hawk Green.