Bramhall’s 1st XI put their recent poor run of form behind them with a dominant performance at Didsbury on Saturday.
After winning the toss on a batsman-friendly track and rapid outfield, Beavers skipper Nick Cantello took the perhaps surprising decision to bowl first. To the onlooker, this seemed like a gamble with the sun beating down and Bramhall still short of 3 key bowlers.
At the end of the first over, however, Cantello’s decision seemed to have been justified by a lively six balls from the returning Ashley West who picked up a wicket with the fourth as he sent the bails flying. West soon followed up his initial success with 2 more, inducing a top-edged pull high to Luke Littlewood at deep square leg, and then a yorker to leave Didsbury struggling at 31-3 with their top three batsmen back in the pavilion.
Despite any significant contact between ball and bat resulting in a boundary, Bramhall found the best way to keep the runs in check by picking up regular wickets. The fielders seemed to be more energised than in recent games, and their energy was matched by the bowlers who continued to find ways to deceive the host batsmen.
Didsbury staged a mini-recovery to limp to 78-5 from 48-5, but Ryan Macciocchi picked up the first of his 3 wickets to send the home side towards a very low total. The 40th over had just begun when number seven Nick Gregson, trying to hit some late last-wicket runs, was caught in the deep and the 10th wicket fell with the total on just 113. Surprisingly, on such a good looking wicket, 5 of the home batters were bowled, and West & Macciocchi’s 3 wickets apiece were aided by tidy double wicket spells from Iftikhar Naseer and Luke Littlewood.
Despite Didsbury’s total exactly matching that of Marple in a recent Bramhall defeat, the Beavers were determined not to let another good opportunity to win to slip by. Ashley West, this time with bat in hand, started positively from the first ball and looked in excellent touch in an innings of 50 that included 11 boundaries from the 50 balls he faced. His opening stand of 76 with Adam Wilde (19) took the game away from Didsbury, and even the loss of a 2nd wicket almost immediately afterwards was not enough to see nerves get the better of the Beavers. Cantello (22*) and Banthorpe (14*) saw the visitors home by 8 wickets in the 28th over, wrapping up a comprehensive win which also denied Didsbury a point.