CAPTAIN Mike Garvey could not hide his delight after The Groves got their Cheshire Alliance Division One season off to a flyer on Saturday.
The Chester Road outfit were staring an opening game defeat in the face after Hartford set a formidable 201-9dec. But led by Garvey (69) and man-of-the-match Mark Evans (97no), the visitors roared to back to reach 203-3 and snaffle a superb seven-wicket success.
Garvey said: “What a fantastic result for us to start the season.
“The lads all played their part but the innings belonged to Mark. It was a magnificent innings, probably the best I’ve seen him play, and it only lacked the one ingredient – the century.”
Garvey (1-41) also impressed in the field, taking the first Hartford wicket with the ball and the second with a direct run out.
But the runs continued to flow for the home side despite the efforts of young Thomas Garratt (0-27).
The Groves never let their heads drop, however, and Steven Aldcroft (2-44) and Mike Caulfield (1-22) claimed Hartford’s prized scalps before the hard-working Michael Piercy (4-62) finished off the tail.
Now it was all about Garvey and Evans. With the skipper playing the role of the aggressor, the openers put on 136 before Dale Cook (18) shared a 56-run partnership with the excellent Evans to ultimately settle the contest.
The Groves host Langley on Saturday.
A stunning unbeaten century from Brad Rasool could not stop Neston from going down to their first defeat of the Cheshire County League Premier Division season on Saturday.
Rasool fired 152no and Andy Roberts 51no as Neston declared on 282-6dec. But hosts Oxton were more than up for the challenge as they smashed 285-7 in reply (James Hawley 3-74).
Neston entertain Toft on Saturday.