CRICKET: Toft start in top style

Knutsford Guardian: Australian batsman Jake Hancock led Toft to victory in their county league opener at home to Nantwich Australian batsman Jake Hancock led Toft to victory in their county league opener at home to Nantwich

Toft 158-1 Nantwich 154

TOFT’S cricketers cruised to victory against former Premier Division champions Nantwich on the opening day of the new Vivio Cheshire County League season on Saturday.

And the Knutsford outfit did so in style, winning by nine wickets at Booth’s Park.

Toft dismissed their guests for 154 after asking them to bat first, with Jimmy Lomas (6-78) playing a starring role with support from England under 19s international Rob Jones (2-33).

The visitors were grateful to ex-Lancashire wicket-keeper Gareth Cross (26) and Rob Cook-Sievewright (30) after they shared in a 53-run partnership for the third wicket, while tail-ender Ollie Griffiths (36 off 13 balls) upped the total with a late flurry.

Australian Jake Hancock, back at Toft for a third season, led their reply with an unbeaten 91 as the home team coasted to victory at 158-1 in 42 overs. Rob Jones (37no) contributed to an unbroken stand worth 115 runs.

Toby Drummond’s men travel to Urmston this weekend.

Toft’s seconds shared the spoils with their Nantwich counterparts in the return fixture the same day.

The visitors totalled 198 all out, led by veteran Nigel Muirhead (35) with contributions from debutant Harri Dickinson (29), Chris Drummond (27), David Blackburn (21) and Ewan Williams (20).

The Dabbers replied with 176-8 after opener Tom Atkins (64) had hit a half-century.

Muirhead (3-47) returned impressive figures with Matthew Cornes (3-28) to help restrict the home team’s reply.

On Sunday, Toft’s third lost by 28 runs against Bowdon in their Jack Gardner T20 Cup opener.

Hal Dwobeng (131no) was in extraordinary form as the visitors posted 188-4.

The Knutsford outfit made a spirited attempt in reply, eventually closing on 160-5 with Ewan Williams (90no) and fellow opener Chris Drummond (40) their leading scorers.

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