Macclesfield extended their lead at the top with a home win over Alderley Edge in a derby in which they avenged an early-season defeat.
In overcast conditions Alderley captain Alan Day won the toss and put Macclesfield in.
The ball was swinging and a green pitch aided Edge’s opening bowlers Ben Davis and overseas player Zaymn Chapman, who bowled well to reduce Macc to 11-2 and 43-3.
Khalid Sawas and Rob Porter then played watchfully against the opening bowlers and the first-change seam of Calum Rowe and Tom Foreman.
The introduction of spin accounted for Sawas, who played on to the bowling of Charlie Reid for a well-made 46.
Hodgson joined Porter at the crease and the leg spin of Harding replaced Rowe from the Pavilion end. As the pair settled they started to up the rate and build a good platform for the final overs both taking the singles on offer as well as clearing the boundary on occasions.
An unfortunate run out saw Andrew Hodgson dismissed for 30 just as he looked set to up the tempo further with the score at 164-5. By this time Porter had passed 50 and he continued to play the spin well, picking up regular boundaries before being caught at extra cover off the bowling of Reid.
Craig and Jim Melrose added very useful late runs to get Macc up to 225 from their allotted overs, collecting maximum batting points in the process.
The mainstay of the innings was Rob Porter’s excellent knock of 87.The wickets were shared with Chapman being the pick of the bowlers with figures of 2-23.
In reply Ian Tait got Macclesfield off to the best possible start by removing Mark Currie caught behind in the first over.
What can only be described as an exhibition of seam and swing bowling then followed from Craig Melrose as he ripped through Alderley’s line-up.
Day was trapped LBW, then Rowe, Jon Steele and Adam Worrall all failed in their attempts to pierce the infield and were well caught.
After a tight nine-over spell in which Tait bowled with good pace and accuracy Ward was introduced into the attack and immediately had Reid caught at slip by Tait.
Melrose then induced the edge of two more Alderley batsmen and Macc needed only two more wickets to secure the full 25 points.
Another wicket apiece followed for Ward and Melrose and Macc had bowled Alderley out for 79 inside 30 overs.
It was a superb bowling and fielding performance for which Alderley had no answer to.
Ward claimed 2-22 but Melrose stole the show with figures of seven wickets for just 19 runs.
With four games to go Macclesfield are top of the table by 27 points but face a tough run of games, starting with a trip to reigning Champions Nantwich next weekend.
The match was sponsored by the Chilli Banana Thai restaurant in Macclesfield.
POYNTON and Stockport played out the league’s only draw of the day at London Road.
Poynton batted first and put on 185-9, with Tom Berzins the top scorer with 81.
Rick Clark made 36 while Paul Gould added 30 for the hosts. Mark Green was Stockport’s most successful bowler, finishing with 6-75.
The visitors’ response faltered from the off as they slipped to 39-3 and then 73-5, and that was the end of their run chase as they elected to see out the draw and take the batting points on offer.
With Facer unbeaten on 48 in the face of eight bowlers used by Poynton – Clark’s 2-21 the pick of the attack– Stockport finished on 141-5 to take seven points, Poynton collecting 10.
PRESTBURY suffered defeat in their game at home to Northwich, as promotion from the Meller Braggins Cricket League Division One was confirmed.
Prestbury were set a winning target of 164 by their visitors but were bowled out for 157.
Meanwhile Davenham and Weaverham have confirmed their promotions to the CCCL.
In Duivision Three Langley eased to a seven-wicket win at The Groves. After dismissing them for just 69 they raced to the target to keep up their promotion bid.
Pott Shrigley had a disappointing day at Alderley Park.
After Park had made 177-3 Pott were dismissed for 97.
KERRIDGE travelled across Cheshire in the hope of a second double of the season but left Capenhurst by late afternoon a well beaten side.
With half the side comprising second-team regulars Kerridge were put in to bat and, apart from Shane Ainsworth and Alex Williams who scored 13 apiece, no one reached double figures with three being dismissed for ducks against the bowling of Ian Hart (5-26) and Adam Walking (3-23).
Although they lost an early wicket in response the home side romped to a nine-wicket win thanks to Rob Brumby (44 not out) and Steve Batty (19 not out) leaving Kerridge to mull over their home game with Tranmere Vics at Clarke Lane.
Kerridge seconds had to concede their home game against Tranmere with only six players available, which made it two weeks of perfect cricket weather without a game as this frustrating season draws to a conclusion.
Anyone looking to get a game this year is asked to pop down to Clarke Lane for Thursday evening nets.