Mossley 1st XI travelled to Bowden Vale in their quest to build upon their excellent result from last week. Skipper, Gareth Cresswell, won the toss and invited the opposition to bat. The Vale openers made a steady start although found runs hard to come by thanks to some accurate bowling from Andy Grange and Mark Butler. The break-through came in the 18th over as Mark Pearson clean bowled Dwai Sen for a creditable 32. The following over, Cresswell trapped Mark Nicholas LBW for 27. The new Vale batsmen, Gareth Roberts and Nomaan Hasan set about attacking the Mossley bowling in belligerent fashion. Roberts was intent on smashing every ball as hard and far as he could. His cameo came to an end with his score on 25 in predictable fashion as he hit a ball straight up which Cresswell calmly waited to come down from its orbit and took the catch off his own bowling. Hasan (26) continued to accumulate runs and struck up a useful partnership with Steve Bottomley before he was caught at deep mid on by Tom Pearson.
Bottomley was joined at the crease by Mike Drape and they continued to progress the Vale score at a steady rate. Bottomley was the first to fall with his score on 17. Attempting to force a delivery from Grange, Bottomley edged the ball towards gully where the dependable Richard Mort took a difficult chance with great aplomb. Mort joined the attack and soon trapped Drape LBW for 18. Louis Power (20) and Nigel Halsall (18) saw the Vale innings through to a declaration with the score on 207-6 and 2 overs remaining. It was decision which the Vale skipper would come to regret.
Andy Grange was the pick of the Mossley bowlers with figures of 2-19 off 10 overs. Cresswell also picked up two wickets and Pearson and Mort one each.
The Mossley innings started badly as opener Barry Carney drove a delivery from Harry Mills straight into the hands of Hasan at mid off with just a solitary run on the board. Cresswell joined Tom Pearson at the wicket and they set about building a partnership. With the score on 31, Pearson was trapped LBW by Halsall for 15. Grange joined Cresswell and some positive batting from the pair saw the score accelerate mainly through some fine strokeplay from the latter. Grange was eventually bowled by Hasan for 18. This brought Mark Pearson to the crease and he continued to provide support for in-form Cresswell who was now despatching balls all over the ground. Pearson’s innings came to an end when Hasan bowled him for 8 with the Mossley total on 105.
Out to the middle strode a confident looking Alfie Tideswell. Cresswell continued the onslaught but in a very measured and skilful manner. Tideswell was providing excellent support, hitting the ball cleanly and running intelligently between the stumps. Bowden Vale were beginning to look a little anxious in the field as their total seemed within reach of the Mossley batsmen. The Mossley pair soon passed a 50 partnership and the spectators abandoned the FA Cup Final on the clubhouse TV to come and watch a masterclass in batting. Cresswell cruised past his second consecutive century with a trademark six, just one of the twelve he would hit in his glorious innings.
With two overs remaining, Cresswell put an end to the misery of the Bowden Vale players as he hit a magnificent cover drive through to the boundary to claim the victory and finish unbeaten on 130. Tideswell was 25 not out and the partnership was an impressive 105.
This left the Bowden Vale skipper pondering if the result might have gone the other way had he not made, what turned out to be, an ill-advised declaration; but, given the quality of Cresswell’s batting, probably not!