Alderley Edge CC Under 15s have been crowned the North of England champions. Their last games of junior club cricket will be played at Rugby School on 13 August as they battle it out with 3 other teams to win the Vitality ECB National Club Cup. Alderley Edge CC Under 13 and Under 15 teams, as Cheshire Cup winners, both progressed through 2 preliminary rounds, beating the Derbyshire and Lancashire champions along the way, to reach the ECB North finals days, played in 20:20 format, on 30th and 31st July.
The Under 13s travelled to Neston and faced the winners from Nottinghamshire, West Bridgfordians. West batted first putting on an opening partnership of 73 which was broken with a run out but despite their strong start West did not run away with it. Alderley Edge bowled and fielded well, with wickets from R Flintoff, J Chapple and M Davidson and great catches in the deep from J Chapple and D Woolf keeping West in check, the Notts outfit finishing on 126-4.
A more mature looking side, West Bridgfordians had 3 lively bowlers who kept it straight supported by a good leg spinner. A good partnership between A Vaughan (18) and T Rao (26) kept Alderley in touch but strong bowling and scoreboard pressure ultimately told and Alderley finished with 99-8.
West Bridgfordians went on to win the final and Alderley won the third place match by a comfortable 82 runs amassing 143 against Cumbrian side Netherfield and restricting them to 61-6 (M Davidson 33, T Johnson 30, both ret’d, and T Rao 4-6-2). With only 4 thirteen year olds in the squad, Alderley will be able to field an experienced team for next season.
The following day Alderley's Under 15s returned to York for the third time in a row for the North of England finals hoping to be third time lucky. A fast start against Mickleover, the Derbyshire champions, notably by G Bell (28), had Alderley moving along at 12 runs an over, but wickets fell, including 2 run outs, leaving them 4 wickets down inside 5 overs. After a few overs to steady themselves, boundaries began to come at a rapid rate; C Boddy (35) hitting out first, then the captain, B Chapman (52 ret’d) and B Kersh (12 n.o.). Set a considerable target of 186, Mickleover’s chances diminished in the first over bowled by B Kersh (2-2-2), taking wickets with his first 2 balls. Mickleover ended 68 all out with a wicket each for C Wilson, J Davidson, C Boddy and M Otway.
Netherfield, the Cumbria champions, awaited them in the final, having beaten Sheffield Collegiate. Put in to bat, Alderley had a dream start putting on 104 for the first wicket. G Bell (45), with his trademark placement and quick calling, raced along and J Bradbury (51 ret’d) weighed in with a crescendo of 6 boundaries. They left stage in the same over but the middle order of J Davidson, J Roberts and C Boddy kept Alderley's momentum going. In form B Chapman (28 n.o.) with B Kersh again scored quick runs in the last three overs to take the score to an impressive 174-4.
G Bell (4-21-2) broke through early in the second innings and a run out had Netherfield struggling in the early stages at 39 for 2. J Davidson had the new batsman caught behind first ball, but good innings from Netherfield's number 3 and number 5 kept them in it for a while until the run rate started climbing, eventually finishing on 133-8 giving Alderley victory by 41 runs. Wickets were spread across the attack with 1 each for B Chapman, B Kersh, C Boddy and H Moulding, Chapman also taking a fine running catch at long off to round off an excellent day for Alderley's skipper. Alderley have now qualified for the finals day on August 13th alongside Broadstairs, Taunton St Andrews and Walmley.
Alderley Edge playing Netherfield had added poignancy. A tribute was given by manager Tony Kersh to the late Dave Otway, former Alderley Edge Junior Chairman and manager of this group of players since they started playing. Dave would have dreamed of a final with Netherfield, his boyhood club, playing over 20 seasons for them.