Sale 2nd XI 2012. Back row (L-R): Rick Hampton, Mark Almond, Rob Moore, Andy Millward, Rob Walton, Harry Stepney, Dom Gandy. Front row (L-R): Rob Merga, Keith Wellings (Captain), Lionel Thompson, Gareth Watterson. Not pictured: Brad Ross, Matt Millward, John Hampton, Roux Joubert, Paul Battersby, Rory Woodward
Sale Cricket Club celebrated a double promotion this season. The 2nd XI crowned an excellent year finishing champions of division 1, confirming promotion to the premier league for the first time in the club’s history. The 3rd XI confirmed promotion to division 1, meaning Sale now have two senior teams playing at the highest possible standard in the Cheshire league pyramid.
Sale 2nd XI finished the season with a tense game at Dane Road against Stockport. Chasing only 155 Sale found themselves in trouble at 120-8, but news soon filtered through that Middlewich had only managed a draw at Irby confirming Sale were champions. The tail then wagged for Sale as the home side were bowled out with scores level, a tie, meaning 18 points and the Championship beyond any doubt. Rob Merga was the man of the match scoring 41 and taking 3-45.
The key to Sale’s success this season was been the bowling that regularly had the opposition in trouble. Rob Moore topped the averages with 31 wickets at 12.2, with Andy Millward (36), Rob Merga (35) and Brad Ross (27) forming a formidable quartet. Captain Keith Wellings topped the batting averages with 426 runs at 32.8, with Rob Merga (484) and Rob Walton (388) having fine seasons.
The 3rd XI confirmed their return to the top flight of Sunday cricket by beating Champions elect Urmston on the last day of their season. Young leg spinner Sully Butt finished top bowler with 20 wickets at 12.7, whilst Howard Briggs, Harry Stepney and Max Lloyd all topped 250 runs with the bat.
The 1st XI had a bright start to the season and was in contention for promotion at the halfway point, only for their form and the weather conspiring to deliver a creditable mid table position. The ever reliable Rick Halkon finished with 55 wickets including a league record 9-42 against Bollington. Nineteen year old South African Wihan Lubbe scored an incredible 1,100 runs at an average of 50 and took 30 wickets.