ELLESMERE Port go into their biggest game of the season so far in confident mood following a gutsy display at new Cheshire Alliance Division Two leaders Audlem on Saturday.
Seven days after rain denied them victory over previous pacesetters Frodsham, Port’s two-wicket reverse kept them firmly entrenched in the relegation zone and extended their winless run to nine matches.
The mood in their camp is upbeat, however, on the eve of this Saturday’s visit of fellow strugglers Rostherne to the Whitby Sports and Social Club.
And their positivity is entirely justified given their performance against an Audlem outfit that have now not tasted defeat since they went down to Port in the second game of the campaign.
There seemed little chance of a repeat of that result, though, after the hosts used a testing track to full effect to put Gareth Boys’ side on the rack.
Nick Brimble top-scored with just eight as the visitors were skittled for 51 inside the 29th over.
But Port captain Boys did not believe the outcome was cut and dried – and so it proved.
With the two-pronged attack of Fahad Khan (4-32) and Wayne Shore (3-16) in ferocious form and Chris Gatrell and Paul Betteridge taking brilliant catches, Audlem were rocking at 30-7.
They regained their composure, however, and just made it to 52-8 inside the 20th over.
“We never gave up and it was an outstanding team effort, especially in the field,” said Boys, who will name an unchanged XI for the big clash with Rostherne.
“The wicket was like the 12th man and there was nothing we could do about it, but we knew it would be the same for them. Our bowlers bowled very well and our fielding was spot on, but we just couldn’t get them out.”
The Groves head to Stalybridge St Paul’s in Division One on Saturday having seen their trip to Langley rained off.
The Groves 2nds were in action on Saturday, though, in Division Three.
They were beaten by five wickets at home by Haslington 2nds, who successfully chased down 126 (Stephen Jones 49, Patrick Hickey 35no) when reaching 127-5.
Ellesmere Port 2nds drew an entertaining affair at home to Appleton 2nds, who, despite the best efforts of Ian Daniels (5-36), held out on at 113-9 in reply to 121-9 (Neil Percival 42).