ASHTON-on-Mersey Cricket Club’s first team opened their season with a hard fought draw against a strong Cheadle Hulme side in Cheshire Cricket League Division One.
Batting first, Ashton found early trouble as Cheadle Hulme’s opening bowler Scott Howarth showed why he is regarded as one of the best in League.
Making the most of the new ball, Howarth removed both openers with fine deliveries before Tom Scott and Ed Faulkner steadied the home batting effort. After Faulkner was adjudged lbw, Scott was joined by overseas player Peter Hatzoglou, who hit out in aggressive style.
Scott posted a fine half century before falling for 69, but the home side remained on the front foot as the middle order continued the assault on a bowling attack who struggled as the ball became older.
Debutant Matt Bradshaw powered to a quickfire 46 and Dave Patterson played a controlled innings to remain unbeaten on 47 as Ashton closed on an above-par 274-9.
In response, Cheadle Hulme also found trouble against the new ball before the Ashton spinners took control of the innings. Faulkner and Hatzoglou tied up the Cheadle middle order and were unlucky with a number of lbw appeals.
Cheadle were indebted to Nauman Akram who made a fine 58 before falling to Faulkner.
Ashton had hopes of the win, but were denied by a splendid innings by Archie Beckley, who batted with a maturity beyond his years to see the game out with an unbeaten 58 as Cheadle closed on 212-8. Faulkner was the pick of the bowling with figures of 4-68.
Ashton’s seconds were well beaten in the game played at Cheadle Hulme – a weakened side bowled out for 61 and losing by nine wickets.