ASCENSION Day provided glorious sunshine for the latest group matches of the Church Times Cricket Cup.
On Thursday of last week, in temperatures that hit the high 20s at Warrington, Manchester squared up to Chester/Liverpool. After winning the toss and electing to bat, Manchester reached 100 from 25 overs, with James (38), Hills (27), and Lindop (17) contributing to this total. Chester/Liverpool took a number of wickets to get back into the game.
With only a few overs left, Hollingsbee, making his debut, scored a very rapid 78, before being caught and bowled by Milton. Manchester had moved their score on to a respectable 189 when the last man was out on the final ball.
In reply, Chester made a solid start, keeping up with the required run rate. Corbett and Pennystan made an impressive opening stand, the latter going on to score 102 — his maiden century.
Chester still needed more than 30 runs from the last few overs, a formidable task. Goodwin and Milton rose to the occasion, the former hitting the winning runs in the 31st over to seal a remarkable victory.
Also on Ascension Day, a team consisting of players from Blackburn, Carlisle, and Durham dioceses played Lichfield at Burneside, in the Lake District.
Lichfield won the toss, and chose to bowl. Their opening bowlers — an episcopal duo of Rylands and Gregory — restricted the batsmen Jefferson and Smeaton to 20 from the first ten overs. This set the tone for the Blackburn innings, as they struggled to reach a convincing run rate.
The middle and lower order struggled to cope with the bowling of Searle (4 for 3) and Darlington (4 for 15); and the side was eventually all out for 58 off 28.1 overs. Only Jefferson (20) and Saarvananthan (12) managed double figures.
Lichfield barely broke sweat in reply, knocking off the required runs in 9.5 overs, with the loss of two wickets.
Manchester 189 all out (James 38, Hills 27, Lindop 17; Milton 4 for 46, Birch 2 for 32, Razzall 2 for 29). Chester 191 for 4 (off 31 overs) (Pennystan 102, Corbett 25, Goodwin 21 n.o., Milton 17 n.o.; James 2 for 40, Thompson 2 for 41). Chester won by 6 wickets.
Blackburn/Carlisle/Durham 58 all out (off 28.1 overs) (Jefferson 20, Saarvananthan 12; Searle 4 for 3, Darlington 4 for 15). Lichfield 58 for 2 (Gregory 17, Ackroyd 20). Lichfield won by 8 wickets.