By Tom Sherratt
League leaders Knypersley were beaten at home by five wickets against Wood Lane. The table toppers were reduced to 138 all out; Samiullah Kahn took 5-54, supported by Steve Norcup (4-34) for Wood Lane. In reply Jamie Jervis (44no) and Maz Shah (42no) saw their side over the line in the 56th over, recovering from 13-2. Defeat still leaves Knypersley 11 points clear as the teams below them couldn’t take advantage.
Checkley drop to third with a losing draw against Leek who collected their seventh draw of the season. Leek batting first posted 236-5, Chris Beech top scored with an unbeaten 87, finding support in Nadeem Malik (60no). In response Checkley got off to a poor start, falling to 7-2, but Michael Allen (62) and Andy Carr (39) rebuilt the innings. Both were dismissed with the score on 111-5 and they had to scrap to hold on to the draw, closing their innings on 166-5. Checkley are now a point behind Longton who moved into second and 12 adrift of leaders Knypersley.
Despite being beaten at home by five wickets against Stone, Longton jump Checkley into second. David Wheeldon’s unbeaten century and Michael Longmore (86) were the mainstay of the Longton innings, setting Stone 229 to win. In the run chase Phillip Cheadle guided his side to victory with 87 not out after 54.5 overs, Luke Cheadle also hit 48 in the innings.
At the other end of the table Whitmore beat Audley by six wickets. Audley were restricted to 140-9 from their 55 overs, after a terrible start, falling to 31-4. In reply Whitmore themselves had a dreadful start being reduced to 9-3, but Raj Kumar (58no) and Justin Mould (36) rebuilt the innings and when Mould was dismissed with the score on 110-4, Yasim Murtaza (27no) carried it on. Whitmore reached the winning total in the 40th over leaving themselves 12 points ahead of Audley and the drop zone.
Bottom of the table Elworth picked up a crucial six wicket victory against Burslem, who lose touch with the top three. Burlsem stuttered their way to 169-7 after being put into bat, Michael Rowley top scored with 52, as Mike Holt took 3-59. In the second innings Yasir Ali then dominated the innings hitting 76 not out, guiding his side to victory in the 41st over, moving Elworth 22 points from safety and Whitmore.
In the middle of the table Hem Heath, at home, blew Porthill Park away winning by nine wickets. Bilawal Bhatti took 5-31 and Muhammad Jahangir 4-23 for the home side as Porthill were dismissed for 59. In the run chase Jack Wood top scored with 37, as it took Hem Heath 18 overs to clinch victory.
Meakin got back to winning ways, beating Betley by 87 runs. Richard Hassall smashed 139 off 112 balls as his Meakin side declared after 49 overs on 285-5, with Peter Wilshaw also hitting 67. In the second innings Matthew Redican took 4-51 as Meakin dismissed the away side for `198. The victory puts Meakin 12 points clear at the top, while Betley are 10 points above the drop zone.
Little Stoke sit second after they were able to chase down 185 against Meir Heath, winning by seven wickets. Gareth Morris was the star with the ball for Little Stoke cleaning up the lower order with figures of 6-29, dismissing Meir Heath in the 55th over for 185. In the run chase Peter Turnbull hit 61 not out , with Joseph Smith making 51 as Little Stoke reached the target in the 46th over. The victory enables Little Stoke to jump four points clear of Moddershall.
Moddershall drop to third after only managing a winning draw away at Blythe. Batting first Moddershall posted 220-8, Matt Goodwin top scoring with 67 off 61 balls on his return to Blythe, as Lea Bolton took 5-69. In reply Greg Prime shone with the bat hitting 90, as the innings ended with his side holding on to a draw with one wicket remaining, Kashif Bhatti the pick of the bowlers with figures of 5-73.
Cheadle stayed just in touch with Little Stoke and Moddershall with a five wicket victory against Alsager. Cheadle had to chase down 187 in the second innings, after Sean Price had top scored with 56 for Alsager, as Steve Morgan took 4-51. In the chase captain Shaun Jenkinson hit 83 not out, leading his Cheadle side to victory after 45 overs. The victory puts Cheadle 30 points behind Little Stoke in second place, while Alsager are at the foot of the table five points from Barlaston and safety.
Bronson Meehan and Michael Dyer played an integral role in Barlaston picking up a crucial 150 run victory against Silverdale. Meehan finished on 108 not out, in an innings that saw his side post 257-7. Dyer then tore through the Silverdale batting line up collecting 6-31 on his way to dismissing Silverdale for 107 in 38 overs.
Sandyford could only manage a winning draw against Ashcombe. Sohail Rauf hit 112 not out, playing the dominant role in the Sandyford innings, setting the home side 225 to win. In reply Ashcombe closed their innings on 182-7 after 57 overs, David Proffitt top scoring with 60, with Rauf and Andrew Barnett both taking three wickets each.
Top of the table Kidsgrove beat strugglers Bignall End at home by four wickets. The away side were put into bat and were dismissed for 173, with Harry Jones hitting 58, as Ian Bailey collected figures of 4-19 for Kidsgrove. In response the home side had runs throughout the innings, Richard Hagan top scoring with 53, reaching the total in the 52nd over. Kidsgrove have a gap of 22 points between them and Stafford in second place.
Stafford beat rock bottom Bagnall by 32 runs, successfully defending 100. Asif Ahmed Khan took wickets through Stafford’s batting line up, collecting 5-38, dismissing the promotion chaser for 100. Bagnall were then blown away for 68 in reply after 33 overs, Aparajit Singh Khurana the pick of the bowlers with 5-24. The defeat puts Bagnall 33 points adrift of safety and Weston.
Weston were experienced defeat at the hands of Norton by 23 runs. After being put into bat Norton posted 176, with Weston sharing the wickets around the attack. In response Weston got off to a poor start falling to 8-2 and never really recovered being reduced to 153 all out in the 56th over, as Yasser Tariq claimed 6-51.
Back at the top of the table Newcastle & Hartshill woes continued, defeated for the third week running, losing by seven wickets against Endon. Batting first Newcastle & Hartshill fell for 51, Gareth Rigby (5-28) and Daniel Bailey (4-22) the only two bowlers used by Endon. It took Endon just 14 overs to reach the total Jordan Weaver top scoring with 34 not out off 22 balls. The defeat leaves the former league leaders 25 points of top spot.
Caverswall also lost touch on the top two teams with a five wicket defeat against Rode Park & Lawton. Jeandre Ludick was the only Caverswall batsmen to come to terms with the Rode Park bowling attack hitting 85 as his side was dismissed for 141. In reply Rode Park lost wickets without partnerships being built, but reached the total in 44th over for the loss of five wickets.
In the last game in the division Oulton could only manage a winning draw against Leycett. Having posted 254-9, Oulton had Leycett teetering on 109-9 in the second innings, but Michael Barcrofft hit 25 not out off 77 balls at number 10 and Richard White finished on 39 not out off 57 balls at number 11 to save the game for their side.
Eccleshall continued their march in division three with a two wicket victory against Woore. Benjamin Lucas hit 85 not out when Andrew Burton finished on 70 for Woore, posting 232-4. In response the league leaders had valuable runs in the middle of the order, with Simon Howland top scoring with 56 not out, reaching the total after 54.5 overs. Eccleshall’s gap at the top is now 26 points over Crewe in second and 42 points above Woore in third.
Crewe closed the gap at the top with maximum points against Wedgewood & Stanfields winning by 85 runs. Shahid Mahboob hit 51, pushing Crewe up to 152 before they were all out, as Adrian Lello claimed 6-54. Mahboob in response to Lello collected his own six wicket haul as Wedgewood were reduced to 67 all out.
Zafar Iqbal was the star at Hanford, beating Oakamoor by eight wickets. Oakamoor were put into bat and Iqbal collected bowling figures of 7-25, as they the visitors were dismissed for 100. In the second innings Iqbal opened the batting for his team and thrashed 62 not out off 29 balls, smashing his side to victory after 9.3 overs.
At the other end of the table Norton-In-Hales were beaten at home by four runs against Stone SP. The away side were put into bat and were dismissed for 153, with Craig Ruscoe taking 6-38 for Norton-In-Hales. In reply the home side looked in a good position to take victory but the lower order failed to fire and they fell four runs short of victory, all out for 149. Norton-In-Hales now sit at the foot of the table 19 points behind Leek & Moorlands.
Leek & Moorlands like their relegation rivals were beaten, losing to Forsbrook at home by one wicket. Having been restricted to 139, after Muhammad Rahim took 6-41 for Forsbrook, they reduced the away side to 137-9 but didn’t have enough to take the final wicket leaving them just above the drop zone.