The first game of the second half of the season saw a rampant Bramhall return to the top of the table in style, with a devastating 132 run victory over Bollington at Church Lane.
The weather of late has been good, and a hard wicket was prepared by the home team, however a couple of hours of rain on Saturday morning made Bollington believe that bowling first would be the best option.
Bramhall opener Adam Wilde is in top form however, and followed up his 50 at Bowdon last week with a solid 68 here, laying the foundations for another 200+ score for his team.
Captain Nick Cantello is also batting well, and when he fell for 46, Bramhall were well poised at 132-3 with around 15 overs remaining. Jack Clark picked up the baton just like in the previous match, smashing a rapid unbeaten 42 to finish the innings on 215-7 after 50 overs. This was a very competitive score on what looked to be a challenging wicket, but Bramhall were without opening bowler Chris Sanders who had been called up to the Lancashire 1st team squad after starring for the 2nd team in midweek.
Sanders would have relished the opportunity on a wicket that was at the quickest it has been all season, and with considerable bounce on offer, but instead it was Matt Higginbottom who expertly used the conditions to his advantage, extracting seam movement and bounce, and testing the batsmen at every opportunity.
Higginbottom removed both openers and his 9 over opening burst yielded 3 for 32. There was a wicket apiece for Simon Wilkinson, Ollie Latter and Luke Littlewood, but the star performances came from Ryan Macciocchi who extracted big turn from the wicket, and ran through the Bollington lower order with a brilliant 4 for 9, and sponsor’s man of the match Alex Hunt, who continues to improve behind the stumps and who claimed 4 catches in a very tidy exhibition of wicket keeping.
It was a comprehensive victory for a Bramhall side looking to gain more consistency in the second half of the season, as although they currently sit at the top of the table, there is no breathing space at all between them and the next 6 or 7 sides.
Bramhall’s big strength this season has been in the bowling department, with Macciocchi (20 wickets @10.25), Higginbottom (17 @ 14.29), Wilkinson (16 @ 11.94), Sanders (15 @ 19.40), Latter (6 @ 15) and Littlewood (3 @ 25) all with economy rates of between 2.3 and 3.5 an over, which in the modern game is an excellent return.
The batting has also been very solid in recent weeks, notwithstanding the blip against Romiley. Cantello leads the way on 298 runs @ 37.25, followed by Wilde (294 @ 36.75) and Jevon Kett (241 @ 26.78). There have also been some very handy contributions from Clark, West, Sanders, Higginbottom and Macciocchi in particular.
Next week sees the team travel to Upton, hoping to stretch their lead at the top of the table.