16th September 2017 – Macclesfield Vs Marple

Marple’s Miracle Men Ensure Top Flight Return!

Marple 215 for 5 (50 overs) 25 points beat Macclesfield 119 all out (33.3 overs) 3 points by 96 runs.

A cursory glance at the match scores in this game would suggest a straightforward victory for the visitors at Macclesfield’s Victoria Road ground. Nothing could be further from the truth, as a remarkable fifth wicket partnership of 163 between James Crisall and James Morgan rescued Marple from the depths of 45 for 4. If Marple could win or draw this game, they and not their opponents would be promoted.

Despite a period of more than a week of very wet weather, the home ground was in good condition. The pitch was, not unnaturally, on the green side, but was firm and had a decent carry through to the wicket keeper. Macclesfield’s strength this season has been in the seam department, and skipper Rob Porter’s opening attack of Craig Melrose and Tom Key were bang on target from the first ball. It was Key in particular who caused most problems. This tall young bowler hit an awkward area just short of a drivable length. Andrew Hall had clipped Melrose for an early boundary, but a delivery from Key that bounced a little more than he expected found the outside edge and Tudor took a fine catch at second slip as Hall attempted a late cut. Crisall, at number three this week, got away to a fast start with three boundaries in a rare loose over from Melrose, but the same bowler produced a good one to get through Makin’s defences at 27 for 2. At the other end, Key continued his deadly accuracy, and Mark Bennett was well caught by Tudor again at slip from a beauty that left him. Macclesfield were then cock-a-hoop when Marple’s Mr Reliable, Paul Wood, was bowled for a duck from another excellent delivery. All four of Marple’s leading batsmen of the season were back in the pavilion for a combined total of just 19 runs.

Wicket keeper batsman James Morgan has an excellent pedigree though, having come through the Yorkshire Academy and the Lincolnshire minor county side. Any side in the top two divisions would be glad to have a player of his class coming it number six. His parting words to his concerned colleagues on making his way to the middle were, “a good time to get a few then!” Crisall at the other end had got himself into the twenties with a mixture of fine strokes and several slices of good fortune, as the Macclesfield fieldsmen spurned several chances, some difficult and others straightforward at this level. Whilst Morgan played himself in with confidence, Crisall went through a period where he could not find the middle of the bat, adding just 12 runs in 17 overs! Morgan caught up his partner, and eventually Crisall rediscovered his touch, especially so after removing his helmet and continuing bareheaded.

The first goal of avoiding a complete collapse was gradually avoided as the hundred mark was passed, but Marple’s target of 200 and maximum batting points looked way off. Maybe Porter, possibly distracted by his fieldsmen’s inability to catch the ball, made an error in bowling Melrose and the excellent Key straight through their allotted spells of 15 overs each. The batsmen had weathered the storm and looked to cash in when the change in the attack came. Porter himself was initially accurate when he replaced Key, but the main problems occurred at the pavilion end. Moores was removed after just one bad over in his seven over spell, but after this, carnage ensued with 98 runs coming from the final ten overs. Morgan mixed up some superb timing with ferocious hitting, and Crisall cleared the ropes on a couple of occasions as Birchall and Tudor were treated very harshly, the Macclesfield heads dropping as the 200 was reached. Morgan was then caught at extra cover in the final over for a fantastic 90. Marple’s top six have all produced some stunning performances this season, and this knock was right up with the best of them. Pat Morahan then hoisted the unhappy Porter for six as a remarkable recovery brought up a fantastic total of 215 for 5. James Crisall ended up 93 not out. He enjoyed good fortune, but joined Morgan in the rout of the Macclesfield attack at the end of the innings. In terms of importance, this innings was possibly his most significant for the club. Tom Key had the excellent return of 3 for 27 from his fifteen overs.

Having gained the maximum batting points, Marple now required just five wickets and two further points for promotion back to the Premier League. When Jack Grundy produced a beauty to Porter to have him caught by Morgan at 2 for 1 Marple were on their way. However, Birchall, possibly smarting from being carted all over Macclesfield, was in defiant mood. Tudor gave good support at the other end as the second wicket stand grew steadily. Paul Wood rested Morahan after six accurate overs, and introduced Greasley. Marple’s master spinner was not quite at his best today as Birchall deftly flicked him over backward square a couple of times, and also cut a short delivery for four. Ed Saxelby replaced Grundy and showed excellent temperament after a nightmare over went for 16. He kept his cool and beat the outside edge with two beauties. Maybe this unsettled Tudor (17) as he then played a careless drive back to the bowler who took a fine catch. Macclesfield were 73 for 2. From this point onwards, no Macclesfield batsman had a plan to try and stay with Birchall. Wood reintroduced Morahan, and his second spell proved to be unstoppable. The middle and lower order were blown away. Birchall continued to attack, but despite hitting a powerful 66, containing some excellent strokes, he was caught in the deep and the game was up. Morahan demolished the tail with some terrific fast bowling as Marple achieved victory, Macclesfield being dismissed for just 119. Morahan was not to be denied with 6 for 33.

So with this victory, Marple return to the top flight of Cheshire cricket for the 2018 season. Captain Paul Wood has made his mark on the team, fostering an excellent spirit and also real steel. On a number of occasions seemingly desperate situations have been turned into fantastic victories. Congratulations are due to all concerned.

At Bowden Lane Marple seconds were soundly beaten by Macclesfield seconds. For the visitors, Isherwood hit a memorable century, completely dominating the innings of 245 for 7. Macclesfield had a more than useful attack, including former Cheshire opening bowler Ian Tait. Marple were 30 for 7 at one stage, but a defiant eighth wicket stand of 60 between Mike Fitzgerald and Matthew Shelton gave the home team some respectability. This has been a difficult season for the second eleven, but with Upton losing at champions Toft, they maintain their second eleven Premier League status.

9th September 2017 – Upton Vs Marple

Weather Gods Smile on Marple in Rare Favour!

Marple 141 for 6 (30 overs) 25 points beat Upton 99 all out (20.2 overs) by 42 runs.

Marple, being on the eastern edge of Cheshire and on the fringes of the Peak District, are usually victims of any wet weather that is around. On two occasions this season, games at Bowden Lane have fallen foul of the elements when many other teams have avoided the rain storms. However, this late season quirk in the fixture list saw Marple make the lengthy journey to Upton, at the northern end of the Wirral peninsular.

The dark and ominous rain clouds of the morning finally passed over, and with a brisk westerly wind and strong September sunshine drying things up, a game of thirty overs per side took place starting at 3.15pm on what was finally a glorious afternoon. The Wirral does have it’s own distinct micro climate, and in addition, any surface water drains away much quicker than in the east, due to the soli content. Full credit should also be given to the Upton players and members, who were conscientious in their efforts to get the ground fit for play.

Upton captain Matt Owen inserted Marpl e on winning the toss, and Paul Wood was probably frustrated at having to take first knock on a greenish wicket that had been under the covers during the heavy downpours. With bowlers, Sundve and Mc Arthur on the spot straight away, Marple’s immediate target of 140 for maximum batting points looked a long way off. It was here that Andrew Hall showed his class. He was the one player in the game who used his feet to upset the length of the bowlers. After gauging the pace and bounce of the pitch he got Marple away to a good start, and inspired Crisall at the other end. Both players found the boundary with regularity, adding 46 before Crisall (22) mistimed McArthur to Di Stefano at mid off. Bennett joined Hall in adding 32 more for the second wicket, but was brilliantly run out from a direct hit by Matt Smith, departing for 14. After this, Hall went on to an excellent half century (55) but he fell lbw to the canny slow left arm spinner Williams at 102 for 4, Marple captain Wood not having stayed too long today. Jim Morgan and Andy Wild kept things moving well though adding 24 in good time. With the overs running out, both fell on unlucky 13. It was left to Pat Morahan to smite the final ball of the innings for four to bring up a good total of 141 for 6 in 30 overs and maximum batting points. For Upton, McArthur was testing with 2 for 40, and Williams bowled with skill and guile to record 3 for 22 from just seven overs.

After a short break, tea having been taken before play began, Upton got away to a rapid start as Morahan and Grundy struggled to find the best length to bowl. The powerful McArthur, promoted to open, was severe on anything loose, and of his 28 quickfire runs, 20 came courtesy of two fours and two brutally smashed sixes. However, Jack Grundy is full of confidence at present and woe betide any batsman who takes him lightly. After Greasley had found some turn and bounce to have Owen caught by Hall at slip, Grundy got one through MacArthur’s defences and Upton were 49 for 2. He then picked up three more quick wickets to leave the home side in tatters at 63 for 5. After this, the back of the Upton innings was broken and despite a cultured 20 from Matt Smith, things fell apart. Marple’s catching was good once more, with Wild taking a towering steepler with aplomb to remove Stowell- Smith and keeper Morgan pouching a further two. Upton kept on going for the runs, but were all out for just 99 in the 21st over. Grundy had 4 for 37, Greasley  4 for 27 Morahan came back with two late wicket to record 2 for 27.

 With one game remaining, Marple are now in pole position for promotion back to the ECB Cheshire County League Premier Division. As luck would have it, the fixture is against nearest rivals Macclesfield next Sunday at Macc’s Victoria Road ground, 12.30pm start. Marple have a 16 points advantage, being in second place in the league.

Marple’s second team game with Upton at Bowden Lane was not so lucky with the elements, and was abandoned without a ball being bowled. The seconds are still in danger of the drop, but are at home to Macclesfield next weekend who are also rivals at the bottom of the table in the second eleven premier league. Upton are also in trouble, and play champions Toft in their final fixture.

2nd September 2017 – Marple Vs Widnes

Morgan Calms Marple Nerves!

Marple 147 for 5 (37.3 overs) 25 points beat Widnes 144 for 9 (50 overs) 6 points by five wickets.

A short unbeaten innings of confidence and class from Marple’s wicket keeper batsman, Jim Morgan, took Marple to an ultimately comfortable victory over promotion rivals Widnes at Bowden Lane last Saturday.

Paul Wood elected to field first on winning the toss against Widnes on a glorious September afternoon, the Marple ground looking an absolute picture. On such days batsmen used to like to have first knock and make hay in the sunshine. However, the modern way is to try and chase down a target, and also the newly laid Marple square has proved tough for bowlers to dismiss determined batsmen. It was all on the win for the home team. Anything else was of no use to Marple. Pat Morahan was right on target straight away, giving nothing away and passing the outside edge on a number of occasions. His partner, Jack Grundy, was a little rusty but did produce a snorter to remove Widnes skipper Kirkby which came back and hit the stumps as the batsman shouldered arms at 4 for 1. The second wicket partnership between Burns and the league’s leading run scorer South African Marcus Fourie was now crucial. Fourie, in particular, put the loose deliveries away as Burns dug in for the long haul. They added 47 before Andy Greasley came up with a beauty to Fourie (28) who edged to Morgan, the wicket keeper taking a very smart catch. From this point onwards Marple assumed control of the game as Greasley, Morahan and Mudassar Phanchbhaya all bowled with excellent control and quality on what was a pretty good batting surface if a little on the slow side. Wickets fell at regular intervals, and when Jack Grundy returned for a second spell, he made up for his earlier inconsistency by taking three quick wickets. Marple’s young seamer has the very happy knack of taking wickets, and can remove good players with his ability to move the ball both ways. Although Burns battled to a determined half century (51), the Widnes batsmen were always on the back foot. A final total of 144 for 9 looked to be way under par. Grundy finished with a fine 4 for 40 and Morahan a very testing 3 for 31. They were given first class support from Greasley 1 for 31, Mudasser 1 for 16 from seven overs, and Ed Saxelby 0 for 21. Although a couple of chances went down, Paul Wood took a couple of steeplers and keeper Morgan had an excellent afternoon behind the stumps with two catches and several fine takes.

By the interval a goodish crowd had assembled and looked forward to a comfortable run chase from the home side with no real pressure on to score quickly. Widnes needed wickets, and Kirkby threw his trump card in straight away, asking Fourie, with over fifty wickets this season, to open up with his testing slow left arm spin. This has been a mode of attack that has caused Marple trouble in recent seasons, there being a number of good proponents of the art in the top two divisions. However, Fourie could not find a consistent length, and Andrew Hall dispatched a couple of boundaries in the opening over, Makin doing similar in Fourie’s second over. The experiment was jettisoned, and with the Widnes seamers also struggling with line and length, Marple’s top class opening pair entertained spectators to some gorgeous strokeplay. Makin was more about power, not being afraid to clear the infield, whereas Hall relied more on finesse, producing a number of delicate late cuts for four. It looked odds on a ten wicket victory as 91 runs containing 16 boundaries came up with relative ease. Now Fourie became the last throw of the dice as Kirkby threw him the ball for a last effort. Immediately Hall was adjudged lbw for a quality 45. This seemed to inspire second change bowler Keen who found consistency at the pavilion end. Makin, after cruising to 40, appeared to lose his timing a little and fell also lbw to Keen at 93 for 2. Fourie now had the ball on a string, with Crisall and Wood both departing at 105. Two new batsmen were now in, both on nought, and Widnes, after being thoroughly outplayed, were suddenly back in the game. As a batsman this season, Jim Morgan has had limited opportunites, mainly in part due to the success of the other top order players. However, he is a player off class and ability. He also has a fine temperament, which he showed earlier this season when making a match winning 77 not out against Upton. These same qualities were evident again today. With a determined Will Darby bedding in at the other end, the fifth wicket partnership eased any worries the watching players and spectators might have had. Morgan is brutal in despatching anything loose, and when Keen fatally dropped short, he was hammered away. With this stroke, the Widnes spell was broken, and the winning runs were gathered in untroubled fashion. Sadly Darby (6) was given out lbw with two runs needed, but he did a fine job, solid in defence, in support of Morgan. A powerful cover drive from Morgan (31 not out) brought up a dominant win against what was a strangely subdued Widnes team. Fourie came back well with a second spell of 3 for 17 from ten testing overs. This gave him a final analysis of 3 for 31. Keen was good in support with 2 for 30 from nine overs.

Marple are up to third in the league, and are in control, weather permitting, of their own destiny this season. They face the long trip to Wirral side Upton next Saturday with a 12.30pm start.

Although Marple’s second eleven toiled hard, they were well beaten by 107 runs at Didsbury’s Wilmslow road ground on Saturday. Didsbury skipper Qasim elected to bat first and saw his side rattle up 217 for 5 at tea. Qasim himself hit a fine 74, and Tubby (41) and Hussain (45) then punished some tired bowling in support. Matthew Shelton showed his class to record 2 for 32 from fifteen overs for Marple, and Max Fitzgerald chipped in with two late wickets with his promising leg spin.

The Marple reply struggled to get going faced with scoreboard pressure. Stewart Bass with 45 and seven fours played a valiant innings, and he added 30 with David Brook (18) for the sixth wicket. From 84 for 6, the end was not long coming though, and Marple ended 108 all out for the second week in succession.

This has been a hard season for the seconds, with injuries and unavailability. Indeed, skipper George Clarke is out for the rest of the season after having a bone in his hand broken against Chester last week. They are at home for the final two games of the season, starting with Upton next week, and are, like the first eleven, in control of their fate if at the other end of the table.

Marple thirds, under Greg Marsland’s excellent leadership brought their season to an end with a rain afftected draw at Didsbury on Sunday. Didsbury made 136 for 5 in 25 overs, and Marple replied with 126 for 9 after being 99 for3. Tom Travis, 45, and Will Travis, 27, added 79 for the third wicket to give Marple a sniff of victory, but in the late chase for runs, wickets fell quickly. The team retain their status in the Sunday third eleven premier league as a result of this drawn game.

26th August 2017 – Urmston Vs Marple

Perfect Partnership Puts Marple in Position!

Marple 210 for 3 (46.3 overs) 25 points beat Urmston 209 for 5 (50 overs) 9 points by seven wickets.

A remarkable partnership of the highest quality between Mark Bennett and Paul Wood of 193 runs unbroken took Marple to victory at Urmston last Saturday.
Urmston’s suburban ground looked absolutely immaculate in the late August sunshine. The outfield was like a green carpet and it is hard to think of any ground looking in better condition. It is no wonder that Lancashire use this superb facility for some second team games. The pitch itself had a tinge of green, but was very firm, and bowlers of all types had to work hard for any success. Home skipper Callum Turner, the Lancashire second team batsman, elected to bat first on winning toss. He probably hoped that he would be able to bat Marple out of the game in the favourable conditions.

Marple’s opening attack of Morahan and Saxelby did not bowl badly, but the margin for error was very small. Turner and more particularly Ness got the home side away to a fast start. However, after posting 50 fairly trouble free runs, Ness was deceived in the air by first change bowler Greasley and bowled for 33. Marple’s senior off spinner came back well from a horror first over which saw a wide and a huge six hoisted by Ness. Greasley also accounted for Turner (26), lbw, 15 runs later. The third wicket pairing of Thomas and Jackson gradually settled and added a further 63 runs, but Marple had dragged back the scoring rate. Both players will have been disappointed to get out at the same score of 128, Thomas brilliantly caught and bowled by part time spinner Makin, for 33 and Jackson for 25. Fortunately for Urmston though, Furkan Hassan a 19 year old Sheffield University student, was in control from the start of his innings. He made an excellent 50 not out, timing the ball well and also clearing the ropes on a couple of occasions. A final score of 209 for 5 was possibly a few under par, but would certainly require Marple to bat well if victory was to be achieved. Andy Greasley was Marple’s most successful bowler with 3 for 47, and Pat Morahan did an excellent job, being unlucky not to take a wicket. He beat the outside edge regularly and had a sharp slip chance put down. Joel Greasley also made a promising first team debut, and part time spinners Makin and Bennett picked up a late wicket apiece.

Urmston have some very good young cricketers in their ranks, and the opening attack of Espley and Dominic Ashling had to be watched. After Mark Makin clipped a couple of boundaries away in the opening over, disaster struck for Marple as Ashling took the wickets of Andrew Hall (1) and James Crisall (0) with the his first two deliveries! Mark Bennett averted the hat trick, but Makin was smartly held by Ness at mid off of Espley soon afterwards when he mistimed a drive. At 17 for for 3 the winning post suddenly seemed on the distant horizon. Now Marple’s hero of 2017 captain Paul Wood came out to join Bennett. Wood has been struggling with a calf injury in recent weeks, but he put this out of his mind as he determinedly got himself established. Bennett has also been in top form this season, and little by little these two high class batsmen got Marple back into the contest. At first they were content to rotate the strike and put the occasional loose delivery away, not taking any undue risks. However, Urmston spinners Grindley and Callum Turner found control increasingly difficult as the batsmen began to dominate. The fifty and hundred partnerships were passed, and although the home attack did not wilt, there was an air of inevitability about Marple’s progress. The ball hardly ever passed the bat and both players combined beautiful timing with some power hitting. Spectators were given a real treat as the ball sped across the lush green turf. Bennett had a touch of the nervous nineties, being dropped on 99, but stroked the winning run, and finished 100 not out. Paul Wood ended 93 not out, his tenth half century of the season, and the partnership of 193*was one of highest and best in the history of Marple Cricket Club. The wicket was good and the outfield fast, but this was a run chase from the very top drawer.

This win, and with results elsewhere going Marple’s way, means that they are now in control of their own destiny this season whilst in fourth position in the league. Next week they entertain second placed Widnes at Bowden Lane with a 12.30pm start.

Marple seconds were defeated by six wickets at home to Chester Boughton Hall. On an excellent pitch 108 all out was nowhere near enough. David Brook and the returning Gary Cash and Ryan Lindsay all reached the twenties but could not go on. Despite a determined effort in the field, Chester were comfortable winners.
A weakened Marple third team put up a spirited display against Cheadle at Bowden Lane on Sunday. Jonny Arrowsmith, (87) and Lewis Braddock (46) got Marple away to a terrific start, and the rest of the order chipped in to take Marple to 199 for 6 at tea. Cheadle were patient in reply, and Marple’s young attack, especially Sam Stretton and Peter Withers bowled well. However, some late hitting brought up a five wicket win for the visitors with two overs remaining.

19th August 2017 – Marple Vs Weaverham

Tropical Rainfall Scuppers Marple!

Three days of monsoon like rainfall in the east and north east of the county meant that Marple’s key game against relegation doomed Weaverham was abandoned without a ball being bowled last Saturday.

The newly laid square and the wicket itself were well protected against the elements and appeared to be in great shape. However, despite the best efforts of the groundsman Mike Hibbert, the Marple players and helpers, a final heavy rain shower at around 2.30pm put paid to any hope of play.

With other games affecting the top of the table escaping the deluge, results did not go Marple’s way on Saturday. The team now lie in fifth place, and will rely on other teams to slip up if promotion to the top flight is to be achieved. Next week they travel to unpredictable Urmston, a side assured of mid table mediocrity this season.

There was welcome other news though with vital victories for both the seconds and third teams away from home.

A five wicket haul from Matthew Shelton sent Tattenhall seconds on their way for just 70 runs over in the west of the county. In reply, Marple were never under pressure and coasted home by eight wickets.

The third team produced a terrific performance to beat Alderley Edge at Moss Lane on Sunday. Alderley were pegged back from 74 for 1, with Andy Gichero 3 for 24, and skipper Greg Marsland 3 for 38. Connor Bergin also produced a superb spell of 2 for 30 from twelve overs to help swing the game in the visitors’ direction.

Chasing 169 for victory, Matt Leech once more led the way for Marple with 57. The crucial partnership came later though, as Dav Tomlinson, 36 not out, and Tom Travis 35, added 60 vital runs for the sixth wicket. Marple finished on 169 for 7.

12th August 2017 – Davenham Vs Marple

Vintage Greasley Master Class Does for Davenham!

Marple 148 all out (49.4 overs) 25 points beat Davenham 127 all out (38.2 overs) 5 points by 21 runs.

A superb spell of off spin bowling from Marple’s evergreen master Andy Greasley brought Marple a hard earned victory at second placed Davenham last Saturday.

Once again, Paul Wood lost the toss and was asked to bat first as is the norm in most games of club cricket these days. However, the Davenham wicket was no batsman’s paradise. The bounce was uneven, and the ball did not come onto the bat. Marple’s openers Andrew Hall and Mark Makin had added 139 the previous week, but here they put together a vital 40 runs for the first wicket in testing conditions. Some deliveries, particularly from first change seamer Hunt were keeping low, and Gough got one or two to lift awkwardly from a length. It took a good delivery to account for Makin when he was bowled for 21 by Blackie. Hall was somewhat troubled with a niggling injury, but kept going, being severe on Hancock when the home skipper replaced Blackie. Will Darby (10) chipped a simple catch to mid wicket off Hunt, and when Hall fell for the game’s top score of 42 (nine fours) at 81 for 3, Davenham were back in the game. Paul Wood (17), also hampered with injury, and Jim Morgan (12) added 25 not entirely trouble free runs, but both fell at the same score of 106. The rest of the innings saw several batsmen gift their wickets in the chase for runs, but Jake Warner (19) stood firm. His last wicket stand of 15 with Greasley was to prove invaluable for Marple. 148 all out might not sound a big score, but batting was never easy against Hunt and the twin slow arm attack of Hancock and Bliss, who was the most successful bowler with 4 for 23 from 11 overs.

With a modest total to defend it was imperative that Marple gave nothing away at the start of the reply. However, a mixture of some loose deliveries, good batting and the fast outfield saw Davenham get away to a flying start in the chase. Greaves dropped anchor whilst Gough went for his shots. 58 runs came up in quick time, but Greasley had caused both batsmen some problems when he came on, although he did not initially pick up a wicket. Gough (40) lost patience though, and clipped the ball firmly to Wood who took a sharp catch. Maybe the middle order was over confident, but star men Gallichan (1) and Hunt (0) lasted a mere six deliveries between them, both undone by Greasley’s guile. From 66 for 3, Davenham looked completely at sea against Greasley, and with Morahan settling into a tighter second spell the runs dried up. The collapse was gradual but had an air of inevitability about it, despite Hornby (15) trying to hold one end up. The game looked up for Davenham at 107 for 9, but Bliss and injured keeper Freedman added 20 frantic runs for the last wicket to give the home team a sniff of victory. Wood then reintroduced Ed Saxelby who produced an absolute beauty to bowl Bliss at 127 all out and calm Marple nerves. Greasley had a terrific 6 for 42, with most of the runs coming from just two overs! He was well supported in the end by Morahan 2 for 28, Mudassar Panchbhaya 1 for 21 and Ed Saxelby 1 for 21.

Marple are now up to fourth in the league. Next Saturday they will hope for fine weather as the visitors are bottom club Weaverham, almost certainly doomed to relegation, 1.00pm start time.
Marple seconds had a tough afternoon at home to Alderley Edge. Two dubious early lbw decisions put Marple on the back foot at 0 for two, and despite the Massey brothers and Stuart Bass reaching the twenties, a modest score of only 93 was posted. Despite a gutsy effort from Marple in the field, Alderley emerged winners by six wickets with overs to spare.

Marple thirds hung on for a draw against Nantwich thirds at Bowden Lane on Sunday.

Nantwich 165 for 4
Jacob Combey 3 for 42, Tom Travis 1 for 23

Marple 135 for 9
Matt Barrow 39, Tom Travis 25

5th August 2017 – Marple Vs Oulton Park

Marple Humble Leaders!

Marple 200 for 6 (50 overs) 25 points beat Oulton Park 93 all out (29.3 overs) 2 points by 107 runs.

League leaders Oulton Park became the latest side to discover that chasing a target at Bowden Lane has a become a difficult occupation this season.

After winning the toss and asking Marple to bat, Park were no doubt pretty happy at the drinks break. Andrew Hall and Mark Makin had struggled to time the ball against the nagging attack of Parkinson and Hards. With a run rate of not much above two an over, there were a few anxious eyes on the scoreboard from the home players and spectators. However, the key statistic was no wickets down. Hall began to find his touch first, and change bowlers Kashif and East began to suffer some heavy punishment. The opening stand reached 139 before Hall fell to East for a terrific 82. Although Morgan went two balls later for a duck, Makin now came into his own, with Wood quickly finding his from in support. Makin was run out for 70 at 167 for 3, the overs running out, but Andy Wild (11) and Wood (26*) added 28 in rapid time. A final total of 200 for 6 was an excellent effort against an awkward attack. East had 3 wickets but was expensive, his 8 overs costing 51 runs.

Marple’s young swing and seam bowler Jack Grundy relishes playing against Oulton Park, and he set things rolling in the field for Marple. He removed East for 1, Begg for 0 and then Cheshire opener Danny Leech for 1. When Pat Morahan also bowled skipper Pat Roberts for a duck, Park were in total disarray at 4 for 4! There was to be no recovery for Park today. Wickets fell at regular intervals, and although Lancashire Academy starlet Ben Gibbon with 34, and Parkinson 24, added 32 for the ninth wicket, Marple were not to be denied. Grundy had 3 for 16, and Morahan 4 for 8 from nine overs. Morahan has shown an increased awareness of how to bowl in English conditions in recent weeks, and here he gained deserved reward. Greasley, with 2 for 27 and Mudassar Phanchbhaya 1 for 29 were good in support for Marple.

In producing the best and most complete all round performance of the season, Marple with have renewed confidence for next week’s visit to second placed Davenham, who themselves were beaten by lowly Sale. The league is now extremely tight, with promotion spots up for grabs for two of the top six after a topsy turvy weekend of results.

Marple seconds, decimated by injury and unavailability made the long trip to Neston but were defeated by ten wickets.

29th July 2017 – Sale Vs Marple

A Good Game, But Neither Side Happy

Marple 147 all out (38 overs) 13 points winning draw against Sale 141 for 9 (38 overs) 8 points.

Up to three inches of rain in the three previous days meant that the players were lucky to actually get a game of cricket at Sale’s Dane Road ground last Saturday. The game began at 2.25pm and was reduced to 38 overs per side.

In reduced overs matches it is always more difficult to bowl out the opposition, and Marple captain Paul Wood was probably disappointed to be asked to bat first on a freshly prepared pitch. Free scoring proved tricky, with Will Darby falling early to veteran seamer Mo Ali in the second over. James Crisall settled in to play a responsible knock, but Mark Bennett played the most fluent innings of the day. He made a classy 31 adding 51 runs with the determined Crisall. The early threat of Sale’s Barrowman and Ali appeared to have been weathered when Bennett miscued to Wellings off first change bowler Adams. Paul Wood played himself in as Crisall expanded his strokeplay. They added a further 56 whilst not putting Marple out of sight. Wood fell for 26, but although Jim Morgan made a fluent 19, the Marple innings folded quickly after this. Crisall’s fine effort came to an end at 137 for 6 when he was caught and bowled by Macfarlane for 43. Maybe Mo Ali was reluctant to return for a second spell, but he rolled back the years as he took an astonishing 6 for 3 from his final eleven deliveries including the hat trick! The Marple lower order all fell quickly in the chase for quick runs, and Ali ended with remarkable figures of 7 for 27 from his ten overs. 147 all out represented a reasonable total, however, on a difficult track.

Sale are in a lowly position in division one, and the lack of confidence was evident during the chase of what was to prove a testing total. Opener Cannon took almost an hour and a half over his 21, and although Gyves and Spells attempted some aggression, they did not last long, both falling to Wylie. At 59 for and with only 17 overs remaining, the winning post looked a long way off. Lancashire second team wicket keeper batsman Brooke Guest represented his side’s best hope, but he too struggled to time the ball, only getting going once Barrowman entered the fray to throw the bat. Guest had been dropped first ball when Marple keeper Morgan uncharacteristically grassed a sharp chance off Wylie. Barrowman added 36 with Guest in quick time. When he fell or 21 at 102 for 5 less than eight overs were left, but Mo Ali, confidence high after his bowling, swung lustily, hoisting Morahan for the game’s only six. However, Ali (15) and Guest (37) were dismissed in quick succession and although the Sale lower order wielded the willow with gusto a home win was never on the cards. Marple needed two wickets from the final over, and when Jack Grundy comprehensively bowled Adams from the first ball, a win was a possibility. Despite a few scampered singles and leg byes from the final five deliveries, Marple frustratingly earned another winning draw, and Sale fell seven runs short at 141 for 9.

For Marple, Greasley was once more on target with 3 for 40. Mudassar Phanchbaya had 2 for 36 in a mixed spell, and Wylie 2 for 21. Wylie also injured his knee in following through, and only bowled 6.2 overs. Once again, Marple’s catching was first rate, with Mark Bennett taking two in spectacular fashion, a steepler, and the other a diving one handed gem at silly mid off to remove Cannon.

It will be of little consolation to Marple that both sides produced a decent game of cricket in difficult conditions. Another draw was not what the doctor ordered though. Results in the league have been unpredictable of late, and Marple now slip to sixth in the table. The next two weeks are likely to define the season, as they take on leaders Oulton Park at Bowden Lane next Saturday, 1.00pm start, and then visit Davenham, surprisingly in second spot, the week after.

Torrential rain meant that Marple second team’s game with Timperley due to be played at Bowden Lane on Saturday was abandoned without a ball being bowled.

The weather also had the upper hand as Marple thirds were eventually washed out at Bramhall on Sunday. Bramhall made a useful 203 for 5 in 39 overs, Connor Bergin 3 for 50 and Joel Greasley 1 for 6 from seven overs. Marple were 110 for 4 when the rain finally put paid to the game, Rob Bradley 25 and Matt Leech 37 not out.

22nd July 2017 – Marple Vs Bollington

Seale Unstoppable as Bollington Gain Revenge!

Marple 46 all out (20 overs) 4 points lost to Bollington (31.5 overs) 25 points by 88 runs.

A spectacular return of 8 for 22 from just ten overs by Bollington’s former Barbados youth quick bowler Dario Seale demolished Marple at Bowden Lane last Saturday.

Paul Wood won a second successive toss for Marple against their nearby promotion rivals, and elected to field first in the knowledge that chasing a total on the newly laid square at Marple has become a tricky task. His bowlers were in generous mood early on, as Bollington skipper, the elegant Rick Hough was fed a surfeit of loose deliveries. The score rattled along to 48 for none in just 10 overs, with Hough playing some well timed strokes through the off side. Fortunately for Wood, the Bollington batting then fell apart. A series of injudicious strokes saw all ten wickets fall for the addition of just 86 more runs. At no stage did the Marple bowlers, Greasley excepted, exert control on the Bollington team. It was more a case of just waiting for the wickets to fall, the one aspect of Marple’s game that was up to scratch being the catching. Seven good chances were pouched, Morahan taking three, and none were spilled. Having said this, there were some encouraging signs from Mudassar Phanchbaya, who started his first eleven career at Marple with a wicket maiden, and Jack Grundy, who mixed some loose stuff with some good deliveries. Grundy also produced an excellent throw from the deep to run out Cross. In Bollington’s under par score of 134 all out in just 31.5 overs, Hough top scored with 35, but after that, extras was next with 22. Marple, unusually, were guilty of serving up plenty of wides and no balls. Morahan had 3 for 43, Greasley 2 for 14, Mudassar 2 for 35 and Grundy 2 for 16.

What followed after an early tea was nothing short of a nightmare for Marple. Paceman Dario Seale, given good support from Jack Ward, was simply irresistible as Marple were blown away, having no answers. Seale bowled with the old virtue of a good length, arrowing in from the off stump. He hit the stumps six times, as the Marple innings was done and dusted in just 20 overs. He did not try and bowl any short stuff in this game, realising that the surface had no extravagant bounce. Indeed, the pitch could not really be blamed for the loss of so many wickets in the game in such a short space of time. It was an object lesson in quick straight bowling. Paul Wood top scored with 22, and then Mark Bennett had 10. After this, the next highest individual score was just three. This was sweet revenge for Bollington, who had been comfortably beaten by Marple in the earlier fixture back in May.

Bollington were also the victors in the noise stakes on the field. Marple are, in common with most teams, not averse to giving the batsmen an occasional friendly word of advice between deliveries, and reminding them of the score if they are struggling a little. This is usually done with an element of humour, and is also meant to encourage the bowlers to try a little harder. Marple’s senior coach and former player, the ex Leicestershire, Surrey and England pace bowler, James Ormond was caught up in one of the more memorable pieces of “banter” on his test debut against Australia in 2001 at the Oval. On coming out to bat to join Mark Ramprakash , Ormond was greeted by Mark Waugh with the words, “ Hey, look who this is. You aren’t good enough to play for England”. His reply has become the stuff of legend. “Maybe not Mark, but at least I’m the best player in my family!” Bollington’s attempts at Mark’s brother Steve Waugh’s so called “mental disintegration” had no such humour. There was just a Pavlovian response of inane drivel, delivered fortissimo after each of the 120 deliveries of Marple’s brief innings. It mattered not whether the ball hit the bat, went into the wicket keeper’s gloves or was retrieved by a fieldsman, the ensuing result was identical and had spectators reaching for the ear plugs long before Marple’s final demise. The fully merited applause that greeted Seale as he led the players off at the end felt rather muted in comparison.

Marple are now fourth in the league, but results in the past couple of weeks have changed the complexion of things somewhat. Oulton Park are now well clear at the top, and Marple find themselves in with a group of possibly up to six other sides chasing the second spot. There will be no easy games to come, and Marple face lowly Sale at Dane Road next Saturday in a game that will see the home side battling for their division one survival.

Marple seconds fought out a losing draw against Hyde seconds at Werneth Low on Saturday. A brilliant century of 107 not out by Mike Schofield held the Hyde innings together as Marple produced a gutsy display in the field. Andy Massey had 5 for 40 and Connor Bergin 3 for 45 as a good total of 194 all out was posted. Mark Nicholson (28) and Tim Radford (34) both got good starts for Marple, but could not go on. It was left once more to Jamie Massey (49 not out) to shepherd the lower order through to a draw, Marple closing on 151 for 8. James Chew had 4 for 14 for Hyde on a day when the spinners held sway.

A weakened Marple third eleven put up an encouraging display in a four wicket defeat at Grappenhall. After being put into bat, Marple posted 139 all out, Jonny Arrowsmith 37, Connor Bergin 24 and Lewis Braddock 33. Grappenhall were made to fight hard and ended on 143 for 6. Jacob Combey 2 for 42, Greg Marsland 2 for 28 and James Reeve 2 for 21. This game was played in an excellent spirit.

15th July 2017 – Warrington Vs Marple

Morahan the Hero as Marple Prevail in Thriller!

Marple 221 for 9 (49.5 overs) 25 points beat Warrington 218 for 9 (50 overs) 12 points by 1 wicket.

A remarkable innings of 43 not out from Marple’s number nine Patrick Morahan brought a one wicket victory at Warrington last Saturday after all had seemed lost.

After being frustrated by the visiting teams’ lower order in the two previous games at Bowden Lane, Marple skipper Paul Wood won a welcome toss at Warrington’s tree lined Walton Lea ground on Saturday. His decision to field first though almost backfired, as the home team recovered from the loss of three early wickets to post an above par score of 218 for 9 on a surface that gave some assistance to bowlers of all types. At 41 for 3, the Marple side probably felt that they were in complete control, with the returning Wylie picking up a couple of wickets, and Morahan showing some welcome hostility with the new ball. If any such thoughts existed, they were very soon extinguished by the home side’s fourth wicket pair of South African Johan Els, and Brad MacIntosh. What followed was utter carnage for nine overs. The Marple spinners were carted for 85 runs as the destructive Els and MacIntosh ran riot. A total nearer 300 than 200 beckoned for Warrington, but Greasley recovered his equilibrium, and with Morahan returning for a second spell, three welcome wickets reduced the total to 144 for 6, but with plenty of overs remaining. Els (61) and MacIntosh (36) will both have been disappointed not to reach a huge score, but the Warrington lower order all showed excellent batting ability. Heaney made 25, Batey an effortless 23, and Scholes and Soni added 18 useful runs unbeaten for the tenth wicket. Marple were probably relieved at the final score of 218 for 9. Greasley recovered well from an early mauling to record 3 for 59, Morahan battled to 3 for 61, and Wylie 2 for 35. Ed Saxelby, used late in this game, bowled six good overs and took 1 for 19.

When Marple replied, James Crisall laced his third ball received through the covers for four. However, when he got another short one from Ashley Scholes two deliveries later, he mistimed the stroke and was brilliantly caught at point by Tom Higham, much to the delight of a fired up fielding side. In Mark Makin, fresh from a brilliant century the week before against Oxton, and Mark Bennett, treating all bowlers the same, Marple have two of the league’s form players. They played with care against a keen attack, but whenever Scholes or Soni strayed, they were able to find the boundary. Bennett was the more dominant player in a good stand of 54. He played some delightful shots off his legs, but when off spinner MacIntosh was introduced he was trapped lbw for 35. Paul Wood, in such dominant form this season failed for once, caught at gully off second change bowler Batey for just a single. Marple were on the back foot at 73 for 3. Jim Morgan seemed to be settling in nicely, but after reaching 13, he played round a straight one from Batey and was bowled. At 89 for 4, when Andrew Hall came out to join Makin, it appeared that the fifth wicket pairing represented Marple’s last real hope of a win. After a watchful first half to his innings, Makin began to open up, and brought up a responsible half century as Hall battled to try and find some form. Just as they were looking secure together, Rudd began a fateful over. From the first ball Makin clipped to deep square leg, the ball seemingly on course for the boundary. The Warrington fielding had been tigerish, and belied the team’s lowly position in division one, and now Heaney took the first of two spectacular boundary catches, brilliantly taking the ball inches from the turf. Makin departed for a well made 62, and Marple were 137 for 5. Further trouble came for Marple, as Rudd claimed that collector’s item, a triple wicket maiden, Fitzgerald and Saxelby both departing for ducks. When Morahan joined Hall at 137 for 7, it seemed that victory was almost out of sight. Almost, for Morahan, with no batting form in 2017, due to lack of opportunity, settled well with Hall. They added 58 runs for the eighth wicket with sensible batting. With three overs remaining Marple required 28 for victory. Heaney then took his second superb catch as Hall (39) was taken at deep extra cover when a six looked on the cards. Morahan appeared totally unfazed though, and with Wylie promoted to number ten with licence to swing the willow, the runs continued to flow. Wylie heaved lustily, and was rewarded with a quickfire 13 including two perfectly placed fours off the outside edge! In the penultimate over Morahan played the shot of the day, a perfectly timed six over extra cover to leave Marple needing 9 from the final over. Wylie edged his second boundary from the first ball, then carved the next ball over point for two more. He was bowled from the third, a full delivery from Scholes, but then the bowler fatally allowed number 11 Greasley an easy single from the fourth. Morahan , showing exemplary coolness under pressure, crowned a fantastic knock by striking a one bounce four straight over the bowler’s head. 221 for 9 brought up a remarkable one wicket victory against the odds, against a Warrington side that played well above their position in the league. Scholes had 3 for 56 and Rudd 3 for 52, all his wickets coming in that one over.

This victory lifts Marple up to third position in the league. They have home games to come against most of the other teams near the top of the league, starting next Saturday against the talented Bollington oufit, a 1.00pm start at Bowden Lane. The match sponsor for this game will be former Marple captain Bryn Thompson. His brother will also be in attendance to sign copies of his latest book.

In a game that was almost a mirror image of the one at Warrington, Marple seconds lost by two wickets to Nantwich seconds. On a slow and low pitch, Marple posted an extremely competitive 173 for 8 in the full 50 overs. Will Darby and Mark Nicholson added 40 for Marple’s first wicket, but when Nicholson fell, a mini collapse followed. However, the Massey brothers, Jamie and Andy, both passed the 40 mark as the crisis was averted. With some lusty blows from the lower order, Marple were fairly happy at tea. Once again, Mudassar Panchbhaya and Matthew Shelton posed problems for opposition top order. Nantwich slumped to 30 for 3, but the middle and lower batsmen showed good sense and skill to bring up a hard earned win. Mudassar had 3 for 55, and Andy Massey and Sam Stretton two wickets apiece. Shelton and skipper Clarke bowled well without luck. This game, against one of the top sides in the second eleven premier league, showed Marple’s improvement since the beginning of the season.

Matt Leech, with a sensational 104 from 94 deliveries took Marple thirds to a superb three wicket win at Hyde on Sunday. Hyde took first knock and rattled up 227 for 9, with Greg Marsland 4 for 62 and Jacob Combey 3 for 32 being excellent for Marple. In a terrific run chase of 228 for 7, Leech was aided by Joe Yates 31, Jonny Arrowsmith 22 and Jacob Combey 17 not out from 7 deliveries to see it through with one ball to spare! Three incredible games for the Marple teams.

World Champs at Marple!

A Marple eleven will play two T20 games against World Champions the England Physically Disabled side next Sunday, 23rd May. The games will start at 10.30am and 2.30pm, with the bar open for food and hot and cold drinks throughout the day.

Dilip Vengsarkar’s Indian Under 19’s Academy at Marple.

Next Monday, 24th July sees former Indian test great Dilip Vengsarkar bring his Under 19 Academy side to Marple. They will play a 45 over game against the Cheshire Academy IX. The game is due to start at 11.00am. This is a unique opportunity to see some potential Indian stars of the future at a terrific club venue in the local area.