By Tom Sherratt
Leek started the defence of their title with a six wicket victory over Hem Heath. The reigning champions restricted the home side to 186-8, Shakeel Ahmed top scoring with 39. In reply Leek lost Tom Steele early but Alex Mellor (75) and Chris Beech (29) set the platform for captain Greg Willott (42no) to see his side over the line in the 48th over.
Porthill eased past Wood Lane by seven wickets successfully chasing down 105. Ben Cotton (3-9) and Adam Ralphs did the damage with the ball for Porthill, as the away side were dismissed after 48 overs. It took Porthill just 25 overs to reach target, George Cairns leading the way with 63 not out.
Eddie Jones set the tone for Longton as they were victorious against Audley. Jones blew away Audley’s top order finding themselves 34-4, but Mustafa Bashir’s 50 helped the visitors recover to 144 all out. Jones finished with figures of 7-57. In the second innings Longton lost both openers with 66 runs on the board, but Dave Wheeldon (60no) and David Fairbanks (45no) ensured no further wickets were lost on their way to victory in the34th over.
Checkley narrowly beat Whitmore by two wickets. Chasing 160 Checkley looked in trouble at 112-7 with Yasim Murtaza claiming figures of 5-41, but Daniel Spasic’s crucial 38 edged them closer to the target and Dan Knight (14no) and Jason Brown (3no) saw them to victory.
Yasir Ali’s 97 wasn’t enough for his Elworth side to prevent defeat against Stone. Ali’s knock helped the home side set 190, Russell Ballard (6-63) and David Womble (4-42) took all the wickets for Stone. In reply Luke Cheadle (55) set a solid platform at the top of the order for his team to build on and they passed the finish line with four wickets in hand.
Knypersley claimed a winning draw at home against Burslem. The home side posted 187-8 from their 55 overs, Phil Dutton finishing on 50 not out and Kevin Cockerton weighed in with 32 not out at the end of the innings. In the second innings Burslem got off to a poor start falling to 22-2, but slowly recovered and closed their innings on 152-7.
Meakin secured the full 25 points beating Moddershall by 72 runs. Sam Nixon (70) and Ben Mcguire (46) were the main run scorers for the home side, as they set Moddershall 235 to win; despite Kashif Bhatti’s efforts claiming figures of 8-59. Moddershall got off to a woeful start with the bat as they fell to 44-6, which then turned into 72-8, Matt Goodwin put up a fight with 75 but it wasn’t enough as they were dismissed for 162.
Betley scraped past Alsager by one run. Richard Bebbington (100no) and Zia Ur Rehman (104no) both hit centuries for Betley as they posted 236-2. In reply Alsager looked in a strong position at 207-4 but they slumped to 219-9 Faisal Irfan Butt (5-57) doing the damage. Andrew Watkins tried to guide the lower order to the victory target, but Paul Newnes was bowled, as his side were all out two runs short of victory.
Cheadle started their campaign with a one wicket victory against Meir Heath. Richard Stonier was the bright spark of the Meir Heath innings with 45, as they were restricted to 140-9 at home, Steve Morgan collected figures of 4-27. Cheadle then lost wickets at regular intervals with only opener Darren Plant (49) staying at the crease for a significant period of time and Dan Sutton (11no) and Steve Morgan (5no) saw their side nervously over the line.
Blythe ran out easy winners against Sandyford with a six wicket victory successfully chasing down 108. Aqab Ahmed and captain Peter Finch both collected three wickets for Blythe as the away side were dismissed in 37 overs. After a solid start with openers Simon Owen and Greg Prime both making it into the thirties, Blythe lost four wickets for 14 runs, but Asif Hussain and Dan Hammond steadied the ship both finishing 15 not out seeing their side over the finishing line.
Little Stoke collected 20 points beating Barlaston by four wickets. Barlston recovered from 39-2 to post 168-8, Tom Taylor top scoring with 48. In reply Little Stoke made a slow start falling to 25-2 but Richard Adams (50), Naveed Arif (46) and Daniel Richardson (40) were instrumental to the recovery as they chased down the target inside 38 overs.
Silverdale experienced defeat as they were unable to defend 205 against Ashcombe Park. Mitchell Stokes smashed 80 as his side set the visitors the target, but David Proffitt 63 not out guided his side to a two wicket victory on their arrival in division one.
Endon started life in division two with a dominant seven wicket win against Bignall End. Michael Dawson took 5-30 as the home side dismissed Bignall End for 91,Simon Howle (26), the only batsmen to make it into the 20s. It then took Endon until the 41st over to knock the runs off with Anthony Sheeran (24no) and Jordan Weaver (20no) in at the end.
Leycett also won by seven wickets, beating Bagnall at home. Only Robert Ward (40) got to terms with the home sides bowling attack as his side were dismissed for 121. Ian Birkin then guided his side to victory with 58, alongside captain Tom Lawton (14no).
Ahsan Tariq ensured Norton collected 20 points against Caverswall with a two wicket win. Chasing 150 to win; Tariq opened the innings, batting through to finishing 85 not out carrying his side to victory after 56 overs. Early on Yasser Tariq had claimed figures of 7-39 as Caverswall were all out inside 47 overs.
Rode Park & Lawton got off to a miserable start at home against Oulton in a two wicket defeat. The home side were put into to bat and found themselves 0-1 and never recovered and were eventually all out for 126, Daniel Colclough doing the damage for Oulton with figures of 6-43. In reply Oulton found themselves in similar trouble at 14-2,which became 84-7. Noel Hunt at number nine hit a valuable 27 to get his side over the line in the 43rd over.
Newcastle & Hartshill were victorious against Weston, claiming a six wicket victory. Jake Short was the pick of the bowlers with 4-53, backed up by Nasir Malik (3-15) as Weston were disissed for 151. Newcastle & Hartshill then never looked in danger of losing the game, as captain Simon Wood (32no) and Zoltan Toth (30no) saw their side home in the 46th over.
Richard Brazier’s century wasn’t enough to ensure his side claimed the maximum points against Kidsgrove. Brazier finished 111 not out off 97 balls, as his side posted 257-4 from 54 overs. In reply Kidsgrove lost wickets at regular intervals with most of the top order getting starts but not going on, they eventually closed their innings on 180-8 after 66 overs. Aparajit Singh Khurana was the pick of the bowlers with 6-40.
Leek & Moorlands found life difficult in division three as they sunk to an eight wicket defeat against Crewe. Batting first Dinesh Cooray (37) was the only batsmen to make it past 20 as they finished on 128-9, George Harding was the pick of the bowlers for Crewe with 6-39. Harding then set the tone with the bat at the top of the order making 62 not out as his side reached the target in the 25th over.
Woore comfortably beat Church Eaton by 114 runs as they claimed maximum points. Dave Moors top scored for Woore with 43 as his side declared on 197-9 in the 54th over, Matt White picked up 5-70 for Church Eaton. In reply Church Eaton never got going and were all out inside 27 overs for 83.
Oakamoor also claimed 25 points away against Stone SP. Adam Keates’ 62 not out helped his Oakamoor side post 197-8 from their 55 overs. In the second innings Jack Hassall did the damage with the ball taking 7-43 as Stone SP slumped to 144 all out in the 61st over, with two balls remaining in the game.
Hanford beat Fenton by 88 runs as they successfully defended 220. Zafar Iqbal top scored with 54 for Hanford as they were all out after 50 overs, Stephen Atkinson and John Seabridge both took four wickets. In the second innings Chris Mellor claimed figures of 4-38 for Hanford as Fenton were dismissed for 132, Atkinson finishing 49 not out.
Forsbrook defended 188 to pick up 25 points away at Norton-In-Hales. Most batsmen chipped in for Forsbrook, Craig Walley top scoring with 54 as they declared nine down in the 55th over. Shazad Liaqat then took 4-29 for the away side, as they removed Norton-In-Hales for 137.
David Hibbert’s knock was enough to see his Eccleshall side come out victorious against Wedgewood. Chasing 157, Hibbert smashed 91, finally being dismissed with only two runs to win, being supported by Tom Hibbert (69no) as they reached the target in the 36th over.