Nantwich CC win 5th title in 12 years - pic by Graham Pearson

Nantwich CC 1sts are celebrating another title after securing victory in their final league game of the cricket season, writes David Hulme.

They travelled to bottom placed Cheadle in search of the two points required to win the Cheshire County Premier League crown.

Nantwich needed to either take five opposition wickets if bowling first or score 130 runs if batting first.

The latter threw up the unlikely scenario they could fail to get two points if bowled out for less than 130 with Cheadle winning by more than 7 wickets.

Cheadle won the toss and asked the visitors to bat first.

Things got off to a sticky start for the prospective champions, as the hosts made two early breakthroughs to leave Nantwich on a nervous 17 for 2.

With skipper Ray Doyle opening the batting, he made a shaky start with a series of playing and missing before settling into a 3rd wicket partnership with Luke Robinson.

Robinson’s typically aggressive style wrestled the initiative away from the bowlers and suddenly the skipper became more fluent too.

In less than 20 overs together the partnership took Nantwich to the brink of the title before Robinson was third man out for a hard-hitting 54 including 11 boundaries with the score on 112.

The league championship was secured shortly afterwards when the experienced Rob Cook-Sievewright flicked his first delivery for two runs in the 29th over.

That took the score to 130 for 4 and it was fitting the skipper was there unbeaten on 52 with his first 50 of the league season in the final match.

The pair added 56 runs in just nine overs for the 5th wicket.

Phil Stockton then came to the crease to hit a quickfire 30 off 21 balls, while supporting Doyle to get to his century, to allow a declaration at 234 for 5 after 44 overs.

Cheadle’s batting started like a 20/20 match as Dan Adams thrashed 44 in just 25 balls including 9x4s and a six, before Oli Griffith’s wily bowling defeated his attacking effort.

There was only some brief resistance from the host’s middle order as wickets tumbled swiftly with Griffiths grabbing a five wicket haul for just 37 runs.

Spinners Scott Wardley and Robinson cleaned up the tail with two wickets a piece, as Cheadle were all out for 141 runs in an hour and a half.

Nantwich’s win by 93 runs secured the maximum 25 points, and gave them their 5th title in 12 years to continue their current domination of the Cheshire Premier League.

Nantwich CC players celebrate 5th league title - pic by Graham Pearson

Their success is due to an excellent all-round bowling attack with four mainline bowlers all taking 30-40 wickets each during the season.

This attack is spearheaded by opening bowler Jimmy Warrington (36 wickets), leading wicket taker Phil Stockton (39), pace bowler Mitch Spencer (31), and left-arm spinner Oli Griffiths (32).

Brilliant support in the field from the league’s best wicket-keeper – Spencer Byatt with 29 dismissals – and Robinson’s 23 catches mainly in the slips, ably backed up with some other outstanding catches.

The batting performances were led by Aneesh Kapil with more than 500 runs at an average just above 50, with 80% of his runs in the first half of the season.

Towards the end of the season other batsmen became more prominent as Luke concluded with over 400 runs and Chris Simpson scoring over 350 at the top of the order.

(Images courtesy of Graham Pearson)

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