North Staffs & South Cheshire League Division One
Sandyford 184 Ashcombe Park 152
Sandyford won by 32 runs – Sandyford 25pts, Ashcombe Park 9pts
ASHCOMBE Park's 1st XI began the new season with a trip to Sandyford on Saturday for their first league match, followed by a visit to Alsager 24 hours later in the first round of the Talbot Cup.
However, there was no joy for Ashcombe on either day. Saturday's match saw Ashcombe have what looked to be a winning position prised from their grasp by a Sandyford side who recovered from a perilous 82-6.
Sunday's game was much the same. with Ashcombe starting well before fading and going on to lose by six wickets.
After an early wicket for Jake Johnson, Ashcombe's Rizwan Haider did much of the damage to Sandyford's early batting.
The Pakistan all-rounder, back for his third season at Basford Bridge Lane, finished with 5 -43 ,with Josh Johnson claiming 3 -37.
However, a determined 72-run, seventh-wicket partnership between Andrew Barnett and James Pringle loosened Ashcombe's grip.
Barnett (30) and Pringle (47) steered Sandyford to a more than
Despite Ashcombe captain Ian Alcock's battling innings of 63, Barnett and Pringle caused their opponents further misery, this time as bowlers, claiming 4 -64 and Pringle 2-14 respectively, alongside Sandyford's Australian import, Louis Rutzou (3-42).
Tom Boulton hit a fluent 20 early on and Haider added 28 but Pringle dismissed the Johnson brothers with successive deliveries – Josh bowled for 19 at 129 -7 followed by Jake, adjudged lbw next ball ,just about, ending any hopes Ashcombe had.
Skipper Alcock battled on, passing 50 off 79 deliveries and together with his son Joe, he held up the home side for 40 minutes.
The pair added 18 for the final wicket until Ian was last man out, caught by Craig Leese at long-off with Ashcombe 32 runs short.
Talbot Cup first round
Ashcombe Park 159 all out (43.3 overs) Alsager 160-4 (31.3 overs)
Alsager won by 6 wickets
SUNDAY'S Talbot Cup encounter saw a changed Ashcombe side put in to bat on a slow sticky wicket all out for 159, largely due to an impressive innings of 64 from opener Ryan Ball.
Rizwan Haider added 29, Dave Proffitt 14 and Ian Alcock 19 but a bright start was slowly stifled by Alsager spinners, Oliver Sadler (3 -21) and Paul Newnes (1 -15) with Mike Hindle booking figures of 4 -34.
Alsager had little trouble with their pursuit. Sadler hit a swift 37 and with 34 from Aussie Jack Hill and 33 by Chris Greenhalgh, the hosts eased home with almost 14 overs to spare.
Grant Roberts claimed 2-44, Brad Cartlidge 1-23 and 16 year-old Aidan Derbyshire made a promising 1st XI debut for Ashcombe with figures of 1-19, having Hill caught by Haider at mid-on just before Alsager reached their target.