The first full set of winter fixtures in the men’s North West Counties League last Thursday brought mixed fortunes for the teams from clubs in and around our town.

This contrast was perfectly illustrated in Division Two East, where Prestbury’s First Team – promoted at the end of last season – got life at a new level off to an excellent start with a 5-0 triumph at home over The Northern 2, but Bollington’s ‘Firsts’ suffered the scoreline in reverse while hosting Crewe Vagrants 1.

Nathan Mayers and Nick Thompson – returning to play for Prestbury after leaving two and nine years ago, respectively – set their team on the path to victory, before cousins Paul and Mike Lomas followed suit. New signing from Macclesfield Rob Alcock completed the maximum game-points haul with a walkover, as the visitors from Didsbury were unexpectedly left a player short at the outset.

The ‘Bolly Firsts’ also handed a debut to a newly-transferred arrival – in this case, Rick Walters, formerly of Buxton – but struggled in vain against the visiting Vagrants. And the Crewe club’s Second Team provided stern opposition on home ground, too, as Prestbury 2, in Division Three South East, were beaten 4-1 – with Mike Brauckmann securing Prestbury’s sole long-distance win.

Knutsford Sports were another club to inflict a ‘double’ over our local teams. Third Division Macclesfield Squash 1 lost 5-0 away against their ‘Firsts’, while Prestbury 3, from the Fourth Division South, hosted, but fell to the same margin of defeat by, Knutsford’s Second Team.

It was a happier evening in Division Four for the Second Team from Bollington, as Malcolm Kendrick, Mark Collins and Aldo Palazzo all secured victories in the course of a 3-2 win at Alderley Park against Club AZ 1.

And Prestbury 4 got their Fifth Division South campaign underway by defeating News Mills Leisure 2. Kev Wynne, Paul Minshull, Dave Jones and Gareth Evans all chalked up opening-night wins in the 4-1 home victory.

Elsewhere in the Fifth Division, successes for Bollington 3’s Gareth Ainsworth and Andrew Berry could not ward off a 3-2 defeat at home to Alderley Edge 7. While Annika Hall was Macclesfield Leisure 2’s lone victor, as Macc lost 4-1 against Radbroke Hall 2.

The other winners of the evening were from Prestbury – rather inevitably, given that the club’s Fifth and Sixth Teams were pitted against each other! This very local derby featured no fewer than seven junior players, and three – Rory Hughes and Keon Raked (both 15), as well as 14-year-old Jonny Murray – enjoyed fine victories, as the ‘Sixths’ shaded the contest by the odd match in five.

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