After 4 league wins in a row and having been unbeaten all season, Mossley 1st XI entertained visitors Wistaston 2nd XI at Moss Road looking for win number 5 to keep them top of the league. A damp pitch and outfield, and overcast conditions, made it an easy decision for the Wistaston skipper when he won the toss and elected to field.
The damp conditions didn’t effect Mossley starts to badly as openers Ryan Speak and Tom Pearson shared a couple of boundaries early on to get the team off to a good start. However, this wasn’t to last too long as Speak was bowled by Woolley with the total on just 18. The next batsman Ian Riley looked to continue the positive start hitting an early boundary straight down the ground. But he was soon to be undone, again being bowled by Woolley. This brought skipper Gareth Cresswell to crease looking to steady the early wobble.
Both Cresswell and Pearson soon looked to be assured at the crease keeping the score ticking over with 1s and 2s and the occasional boundary without giving too many chances to the fielding side. As they passed the halfway point in the innings, Cresswell looked to push on and started playing more attacking shots including a pull for six. Not long after he brought up a well deserved 50. It was his attacking shots that brought his downfall being caught at mid on for 54. The next batsman was Richard Burkard and with 10 overs remaining, both Burkard and Pearson were after quick runs. Unfortunately this ended in two wickets, with first Burkard and then Pearson being run out going for quick singles, Pearson finishing on 49. It was left to the 2 new batsman Charles Wright and Tony Brown to see out the innings, leaving Mossley on 156-5 from their 45 overs.
With the confidence of their bowling performances in previous weeks the Mossley openers Brown and Kieran Turner set about getting some early Wistaston wickets. But this wasn’t to be, with the pitch drying out after the early dampness, the opposition openers came out attacking looking to put a dent in the Mossley total. Their attacking shots meant difficult catching chances were created, but the Mossley fielders were not able to take the catches. It was Brown who got the eventual breakthrough with a caught and bowled after the opener played one shot too many. This wicket slowed the run rate and gave the Mossley bowlers some control at one end, while the other opener continued to attack. Brown also claimed the next scalp, bowling the Wistaston number 3 and then took the prized wicket of the opener with Pearson taking a good catch on the boundary.
This left the match evenly poised at the drinks break with Wistaston 80-3 and all 3 results still possible. Both teams looked to push for victory after drinks with Wistaston scoring steady runs and Mossley continuing to take wickets. Brown took his 4th wicket of the day before Riley, on for Turner, also joined in the act bowling Whitehurst. Next it was turn of Speak to get amongst the wickets, courtesy of a catch by Pearson, followed by another Riley wicket being played on to the stumps by the Wistaston batsman. At this point it was looking less and less likely that Wistaston would get the win, and the final blow came when Turner, back into the attack, bowled the Wistaston captain. With the score at 120-8, Wistaston decided to shut up shop and play out the remaining 5 overs for a draw.
The draw will have been a disappointing result for the Mossley 1st XI, which sees them drop to 2nd in the table. However, they will take heart from getting back into the game after a strong start from the Wistaston batsmen. They will look to get back to winning ways next week away at Haslington.