HAD James Plant not dropped a catch early in Weaverham’s innings, then Northwich would have won last night’s derby even more convincingly than they did.
It was a solitary blot on the all-rounder’s copybook, for he was still the home team’s outstanding performer at Moss Farm.
He batted destructively, hitting two fours and a pair of sixes while contributing 28 runs to an unbeaten partnership worth 57 with Glinoj Cherian (23no off 16 balls), to boost Northwich’s total to 173-6 during a brutal final five overs.
After removing opener Jake Lightfoot and Tom Hulse, reducing the Russets to 2-3 in their reply, he spilled a ball chipped his way by Ian Eaton.
Weaverham’s captain went on to amass 76 off 48 deliveries, finding the boundary more than a dozen times, before Plant returned to bowl him.
In the worsening gloom, when not even a bright pink ball stood out, it ended the visitors’ hopes of a victory at a moment when they were strongest.
Indeed, Eaton had added 90 runs with Australian Cohen McElroy (28), during a recovery that had started to make an improbable recovery possible.
However Alex Nash (11) was the only other Weaverham batsman to reach double-figures.
Matthew Dufty (3-28) benefitted from two slick stumpings by wicket-keeper Luke Tapsfield, while Mohammad Ajmal (1-20) bowled efficiently and with impressive discipline.
The Russets’ innings closed 33 runs of their target on 140-9.
Earlier, Northwich captain Mark Walker had chosen to bat after winning the toss, and Tapsfield (32 off 36 balls) was discreet in compiling a neat innings before he became James Bell’s first victim, caught on the boundary by McElroy.
The spinner’s opening over provided entertainment, including too a huge six from Chandrika Wathukarage (26) and the dismissal of Dufty first ball.
Northwch’s overseas signing was then run out when quick-thinking bowler Kevin Douglas, aware the Sri Lankan had changed his mind over charging for a single, steered the ball into the stumps with his left boot.
When Walker (23 off 15 balls) went shortly afterwards, the score was 116-6.
Plant and Cherian were unforgiving when facing Eaton and McElroy, who conceded 54 runs between them in five overs – a stand that proved decisive in the final reckoning.
Northwich will go through if they beat Davenham in a fortnight.
However a win for the hosts at Butcher’s Stile would keep Weaverham in the competition for their meeting with Dan Hancock’s men next month.
Joseph Holt Brewery T20
Thursday, May 11
Northwich 173-6 Weaverham 140-9
Link to scorecard is here.
Fixtures (both from 6pm)
Thursday, May 25
Davenham v Northwich
Thursday, June 8
Weaverham v Davenham