RELEGATION battlers Castrol went into Saturday’s game against Meller Braggins Division Three table-toppers Kingsley hoping to spring their second upset of the season – but ended up sliding to an eight-wicket home defeat.
Having beaten then-league leaders Stockport a few weeks ago, the Oilmen knew they were capable of beating the best.
But when the visitors won the toss and told Mike Garvey to bat, it was always going to be tough.
Garvey and Pete Hyndman senior were back in the side but star Indian bowler Nishan Bhandary fell ill on the eve of the match and was forced to miss out, Pete Hyndman junior summoned as his replacement.
Things did not start well with Pat Hickey (0) being cleaned bowled with the eighth ball of the innings to make Castrol 0-1.
Tony King (27) tried to keep things on an even keel but when he was dismissed at 28-4, Castrol were in real trouble.
Eventually they were bowled out for just 83.
Castrol took to the task of bowling Kingsley out for less than 83 but never caused the travelling side much trouble.
The visitors reached their target of 84 with just two wickets down. John Elliott (21) and Russell Cook (37) did the majority of the work at the top of the innings, both falling victims to the off-spin of Garvey (2-34). Ed Leneghan (23no) eased the visitors to victory in just the 30th over.
A disappointed Garvey said: “That was a real bad performance from our lads.
“We didn’t show any application in our batting and nearly all of us gave our wicket away. This game is all about partnerships and we never really gave ourselves a chance to create partnerships with our poor batting.
“Bowling wise we did all right but we weren’t accurate enough to put their batsmen under any real pressure. Saying that, we didn’t have much to defend.
“Unfortunately we never showed up and certainly didn’t seem up for the challenge from ball one, unlike when we played Stockport.”
On Saturday, Castrol travel to Lindow in a crunch relegation clash.
ELLESMERE PORT’S purple patch abruptly finished on Saturday as they took fewer than 14 points for the first time in eight Cheshire Alliance Division Two games.
With the exception of the cancelled match against Styal last week, Port have been achieving their target average of 14 points per game and have the best average in the league as a result.
But against Langley, Gareth Boys’ men slipped up. Port were sure they had arrived on time, but they were told they were late and that Langley had claimed the toss and decided to bat.
It was a move which almost backfired on the hosts, as Port took them to 44-4 (Cameron Mukhtar 3-47) and looked like getting them all out before they reached 100 runs.
But three home batsmen had other plans. Rick Hollinshead scored 75, Matt Stevens 60 and Andy Mannion 50no as they propelled Langley to 241-6.
In reply, Port were bowled out for 132, only skipper Boys making a real stand with 49 as Dave Frame took 4-51 and Alex Berzins 3-27.
“It was disappointing but it was just a blip,” said Boys. “We maybe relaxed too much after the couple of months of good form we have had.
“This will hopefully wake us up a bit and allow us to put together another run of results to finish the season on a high.
“By the time I got in my main thought was to just stay at the crease.
“I made a little stand with Dom Green but I soon started losing partners.
“We have had a great run and we need to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and focus on Rostherne at home on Saturday.
“We owe them a thrashing so we really need to be on the ball if we are going to deliver.”
In Division Three, Appleton beat CAPENHURST by five wickets. Cape scored 104ao before Appleton 2nds replied with 105-5.