A second century of the season from Australian Josh Henry was the individual highlight of a weekend with remarkable games for both senior sides. In a batsman’s paradise at Middlewich the 1stXI produced a level-score draw in a game with over 500 runs whilst at the DASC an inspired bowling performance from the 2ndXI dismissed Wilmslow Wayfarers for just 31.
Needing a win to maintain their slim promotion chances, the 1stXI elected to bat at Haddon Field in search of maximum points. The first part of the plan was executed to perfection as a batting masterclass from the Rams top order posted 253-1 declared in just 39 overs. Josh Henry was the standout performer, carrying his bat for a second century of the season as he finished on 122* (14×4, 0x6, 111b).
He combined with Andrew Clarke to add an unbroken 168* for the second wicket, the former skipper contributing a fluent 77* (11×4, 1×6, 76b) on a wicket offering no assistance to spin or seam. It suggested a tough session after tea and so it proved, Middlewich playing with intent and getting off to a flying start in a chase critical to their chances of survival.
The ball disappeared to all corners with only a Jamie Henderson (2-36) wicket to show as the scoreboard rattled along into three figures. Toby Carson (4-95) returned to strike twice with the score on 185 but the hosts were still favourites with the Rams unable to stem the flow of runs. Middlewich couldn’t get over the line though, pegged back in the latter stages to finish 253-8 in a brilliant game but one that left both sides resigned to their fates in 2017.
At the DASC the 2ndXI also elected to take first use but, without leading run scorer Stew Reynolds, only the inform Dave Potter threatened a big score with a useful 46 before being caught. Thilina Prathapasinghe offered support with a typically unorthodox 26 but 136 all-out looked well under par before a strong Rams bowling attack made sure it was more than enough.
Potter swapped willow for leather and removed both openers whilst the experience of Simon Hare delivered 2-7 in 7 accurate overs. There was no escape for Wayfarers against the change bowling either, a phonebook batting card returning eleven single-figure scores. Joe Rooney returned 1-0 from two overs whilst the club’s leading wicket-taker Mikey Gilmour took 4-7 from just 10 deliveries – Wayfarers put out of their misery for just 31 in 17.4 overs.