THE Groves continued their upturn in form with an impressive performance at promotion-pushing Pott Shrigley on Saturday.
Although Martin Flanagan’s side ran out of time to claim the victory their display deserved, there were plenty of positives to take from the draw going into this Saturday’s crunch clash at relegation rivals Barrow.
Heavy showers on the way to Pott Shrigley’s picturesque ground in the Macclesfield hills left The Groves fearing yet another washout.
But on arrival at Shrigley Road it became clear the host club’s new covers had done the trick and play was able to start on time.
Flanagan lost the toss and was asked to bat first. It looked a good decision from the Pott Shrigley skipper as Nathan Evans (1) and Flanagan (1) were dismissed inside the first three overs.
The recalled Byron Ward (70no) and the in-form Mike Caulfield (32) repaired the damage, though, and in between two breaks for rain they were able to add 55 for the third wicket.
With the match now having been reduced to 52 overs, The Groves looked to post a decent target and give themselves enough overs to try and force the win.
Thanks to Ward, Daz Green (15), Nick Brimble (6no), Mike Garvey (3) and the out-of-retirement Steve Flanagan (3), they managed to reach 140-7 off 39 overs.
Pott Shrigley, who had won their previous four completed outings, had 23 overs to chase down that total.
But their hopes were effectively ended inside the first two balls of the reply as Damian Walters (6-13) trapped their openers LBW.
The on-fire Walters went on to tear apart the middle order apart before Tom Garratt (2-27) and Mike Garvey (1-16) left the home team hanging on at 62-9.
But Pott Shrigley’s final pair managed to see out the final two overs – adding just the one more run – to salvage a draw.
Groves captain Martin Flanagan said: “That was fantastic effort by the lads, such a shame we came up short but to get that close in just 23 overs was a great effort.”