IN BOXING terms, Ashcombe Park were flat on the canvas with the referee counting eight in their local derby game against Cheadle.
Yet they somehow managed to climb back onto their feet to deliver a a deadly knock-out blow of their own.
Ashcombe were 25-5, with the Cheadle opening attack of James Sellers and Marlon Martin running riot, having claimed five wickets between them.
Ryan Ball (1), Nick Goodwin (4), Chris Bradstreet (0), Rizwan Haider (10) and captain Dave Proffitt (2) were all back in the pavilion.
Cheadle skipper Shaun Jenkinson rung the changes replacing Martin (2-10) after a very dominating seven-over spell, including five maidens, with William Dobbie.
The young spinner, whose opening overs had looked threatening, with three maidens in the first five, was eventually kept on too long.
His 12 overs became slightly expensive and easier to play, giving the Ashcombe middle order time to get their breath.
The fightback was led by Ian Alcock, persuaded back into 1st XI action for the first time since 2002, after a string of huge scores as 2nd XI captain.
Alcock struck 25 in a manner that showed he was far from beaten and encouraged by that, was followed by a superb effort from both Brad Cartlidge and Josh Johnson, who each scored 31.
Alcock was caught by Cheadle pro Muhammed Kashif off Sellers’ replacement, left-arm spinner Steve Morgan, at 63-6 But Cartlidge and Johnson batted with great patience and application to add 56 for the next wicket, until Cartlidge also fell to Morgan (2-24), caught by Jenkinson at 119-7.
Mystifyingly, Kashif did not come into the attack until 39 overs had elapsed but then turned the ball almost square, looked a real threat and fizzed through Johnson’s defences to have him lbw with no addition to the total.
Very belatedly, Sellers returned at the Lane end to clean bowl Jake Johnson and Grant Roberts inside four balls, leaving Lee Slater 5 not out, and Ashcombe were finally dismissed for 131, with Sellers claiming 538.
The hosts probably scored 50 runs more than they should have been allowed to – but were still a further 50 short of what was thought at tea would be a competitive score.
Ashcombe came roaring into the attack after the interval to rock the visitors back on their heels. Slater tore in, getting movement off the seam and bowled Andy Coxon.
He then dismissed Kashif second ball, thanks to wicket-keeper Ryan Ball’s brilliant diving leg-side catch, and had Darren Plant caught by Dave Proffitt.
Haider joined in, clean bowling Jenkinson, and with the total now 14-4, Ashcombe had turned the game on its head.
Sellers counter-attacked, taking boundaries off Haider and Slater, and was joined by Ryan Day, who struck a quick 20 until neatly caught by Bradstreet at point, off Haider.
Potential game-changer Marlon Martin fell to Grant Roberts’ superbly judged catch at mid-on, as Josh Johnson gained his first wicket – but the game was still in the balance until Dave Proffitt clung on to an outstanding catch at short extra-cover to dismiss Sellers for 37 off Roberts at 79-7.
Ashcombe wrapped up an amazing comeback to win by 44 runs as Roberts bowled Davies and Josh Johnson – thanks to brother Jake – had Harry Smith caught at cover and last-man Dobbie caught behind.
Cheadle were bowled out for 87, with Johnson taking three wickets for just four runs, Slater claiming 3-15, Roberts 2-14 and Haider 2 -47.
Ashcombe’s first maximum 25-point win of the season eases any lingering relegation worries for them, but Cheadle’s defeat puts a dent in their promotion hopes as they slip to fourth place, 15 points below the current promotion places.
However, with six games to go, there’s still much to play for.