By Tom Sherratt
Checkley are the new league leaders, beating Burslem by 118 runs, while Knypersley slipped up against Leek. Andy Carr (51no) top scored for Checkley as they posted 201-5. In reply Burslem only had Michael Rowley (30) and Kevin Mountford (29) to make double figures, as they were dismissed for 83 – Richard Cooper collected 6-44 from 21.4 overs.
Knypersley fall to second seven points behind Checkley, unable to chase down 140 at Leek, losing by 44 runs. Leek were bowled out in the 53rd over for 140, with Dan Cumming collecting 4-38 for Knypersley. In response the away side got off to a poor start at 46-5 and never managed to recover, being reduced to 96 all out, Greg Willott the pick of the bowlers for Leek with 4-32. Leek moved up to third with the win, 10 points behind Knypersley and 17 adrift of Checkley.
Longton lost again dropping to fourth, this time losing by three wickets on their travels to Porthill Park. Rao Ifthikar Anjum picked up a five wicket haul for the home side, restricting Longton to 160 from their 55 overs. Porthill’s run chase didn’t get off to a great start falling to 30-2, which then became 102-7, but Ben Cotton (27no) and Andy Viggars (32no) guided their side to the target after 52 overs. The defeat leaves Longton 17 points off the pace at the top.
At the other end of the table Audley picked up a crucial two wicket victory travelling to Stone, putting them within touching distance of safety. Thomas Perkin took 5-41 for Audley, restricting the home side to 180-8. Audley then needed late runs from Mustafa Bashir (58no), to recover from 100-7 to pass the finish line in the 55th over with two wickets remaining. The victory puts Audley just a single point behind Wood Lane and safety.
Wood Lane were beaten at home against Hem Heath by 21 runs, being unable to chase down 138. Samiullah Kahn collected 4-39 and Steve Norcup collected three wickets for the home side, dismissing Hem Heath in the 50th over for 138. In response Wood Lane looked in a strong position at 63-2 and then 95-3, but it fell away in the middle order and they were eventually all out for 117, Tom East taking 4-15, with Bilawal Bhatti picking up four wickets as well.
Elworth look adrift at the foot of the table with a 10 wicket defeat against Whitmore. Mathew McCall (4-6) and Yasim Murtaza (4-19) demolished the Elworth batting line up dismissing them for 73. In the second innings it took Whitmore just 16.1 overs to knock off the total, Tom Meredith being the aggressor, making 51 not out. The defeat puts Elworth 31 points from Wood Lane and safety.
Moddershall take top spot with a 38 run victory against Sandyford, as Meakin were beaten by Ashcombe. Having set Sandyford just 110 to win, Moddershall’s Matt Goodwin and Kashif Bhatti both collected five wicket hauls to blow Sandyford away for just 71, to put their side a point above Meakin.
Meakin were beaten for only the second time this season with a two wicket defeat against Ashcombe, slipping down into second. Andrew Whitehead top scored for Meakin with 35, before they were all out for 165, Rizwan Haider collected 5-67. In the second innings David Proffitt hit 45, then Rob Drummond (34no) and Jake Johnson (11no) saw their side over the line in the 49th over. Defeat leaves Meakin a point behind Moddershall, but they are still 14 points clear of Little Stoke in third.
Cheadle stayed in sight of the top two, beating Little Stoke by 54 runs. Cheadle had starts with the bat throughout the line up, but nobody could convert into a big score; they were bowled out in the 44th over for 153. In the second innings Cheadle’s Chris Barker was the star of the show taking out the Little Stoke middle order with a hat trick, leaving them 30-5 and they were eventually dismissed for 99.The victory puts Cheadle 25 points behind Meakin and 11 points behind Little Stoke.
At the bottom end of the table Alsager were beaten by 18 runs at Barlaston. Gareth Rowe collected a five wicket haul for the away side reducing Barlaston to 152 all out, falling from 118-3. Sean Price set a solid platform for Alsager with the bat hitting 51, but they fell away from 73-0 to 134 all out, Alex Thorley taking 7-46 for Barlaston. Alsager are now 20 points adrift of Sandyford and safety.
A point above Alsager is Meir Heath who were beaten by 31 runs at home against Blythe. Rich Brough collected figures of 5-32 for the home team restricting Blythe to just 103, there were late runs from Tom Simcock (34no) to push the total up. In reply Meir Heath got off to a terrible start and never managed to recover being reduced to 72 all out, with Aqab Ahmed (6-36) and Peter Finch (4-34) bowling through the innings.
Betley picked up a 54 run victory at home against Silverdale. The home side were put into bat and posted 155-7, Zak Lally top scoring with 39. In the second innings the wickets were shared around the Betley bowling attack who dismissed the away side for 101.
League leaders Kidsgrove cruised to a nine wicket victory against Caverswall. Simon Plant took 5-37 for the table toppers reducing Caverswall to 127 all out. Kidsgrove then knocked off the total in the 42nd over. The win puts them 12 points ahead of Stafford and 20 above Newcastle & Hartshill.
Stafford closed the gap on Kidsgrove picking up maximum points against Rode Park & Lawton winning by 73 runs. Deciding to bat first Stafford were dismissed for 157. Rode Park & Lawton were then blown away inside 28 overs for 84, Oliver Stark the pick of the bowlers for Stafford with 4-23.
Newcastle & Hartshill carried on the winning feeling also closing the gap on the leaders with 33 run victory at home against Leycett. Jonathon Gidman hit 53 for the home side, helping them post 187-7. In reply Leycett recovered from 28-3, but were eventually reduced to 154 all out, Nasir Malik picking up a five wicket haul, with Chris Jenkins collecting four wickets.
Norton stayed in touching distance of the top three with a six wicket victory as they travelled to Bignall End. The away side won the toss and decided to bowl first and at 43-7 it proved to be the right decision, but lower order runs from James Platt (33no) pushed the total up to 106, with Yasser Tariq taking 4-22 for Norton. Tariq then top scored in the run chase with 40 not out, seeing his side over the line in the 48th over. Victory leaves Norton 19 points adrift of Stafford who sit in second place, while Bignall End are 36 points below Weston in the last place above the relegation zone.
Weston picked up a crucial six wicket victory against Endon. James Littlewood tore through the Endon batting line up taking 5-10 from 9.1 overs, finding support in Phillip Stockton (4-20), with Endon collapsing to 67 all out. In reply Weston got off to the worst start possible, losing captain Martin Dawson with the first ball of the innings, but his side reached the target in the 18th over.
Rock bottom Bagnall were on the receiving end of a heavy 107 run defeat away at Oulton. Jono Whalley dominated the Oulton innings with 109, helping his side declare on 234-6 after 52.5 overs. In response Bagnall lost wickets at regular intervals and were dismissed after 44.2 overs for 127, Daniel Colclough was the pick of the bowlers for Oulton with 6-43. Bagnall now sit 47 points adrift of Weston and Safety.
Eccleshall maintain their lead at the top of the league, picking up maximum points in a dominant performance, beating Stone SP by 143 runs. David Hibbert (66) and Myles Coughlan (50) were the main run scorers for the league leaders, before they were dismissed for 236 in the last over. In the second innings Cameron Sinclair was the pick of the bowlers for Eccleshall on his way to collecting 5-23, supported by Coughlan who picked up 3-13, as Stone SP were reduced to 93 all out. Eccleshall’s lead stays at 26 points above Crewe and 42 points ahead of third placed Woore.
Crewe picked up maximum points against Church Eaton, winning by 82 runs. Hammad Usman hit 88 for Crewe as they set the visitors 221 to win. Crewe spinner George Harding picked up figures of 6-48 in the second innings, bowling Church Eaton out for 138, after 60 overs.
Woore also kept the pressure on the top two with 133 run victory against Wedgewood & Stanfields. Woore were put into bat and made a solid start, Navid-Ul-Khurram Kaleem hit 69, while fellow opener Andrew Burton made 60, putting on an opening partnership of 107, finally declaring on 211-6. After tea Mark Bengry and Craig Heap, both picked up four wickets each, helping their side dismiss Wedgewood for just 78.
At the foot of the table Norton-In-Hales were dealt a blow, being beaten on their travels to Oakamoor by four runs. Oakamoor recovered from a poor start after being put into bat, but recovered to post 166-9, as Norton-In-Hales shared the wickets around. In the second innings Oakamoor looked to be in a strong position, but the Craig Ruscoe pushed Norton-In-Hales into a winnable position, but they fell just five runs short of victory. The defeat leaves the away side 31 points behind Leek & Moorlands and safety.
Leek & Moorlands picked only their second win of the season, after successfully chasing down 157, to beat Fenton by three wickets. After dismissing Fenton in 53.5 overs for 157, Leek looked to be in trouble at 71-6, but Nick Bailey at number seven hit 54 not out, being supported by Paul Hammersley (35), guiding his side over the line in the 53rd over.
Hanford comfortably beat Forsbrook by seven wickets. Zafar Iqbal collected 6-39 helping his Hanford side dismiss the home team for 87. They then knocked off the total after 15 overs, Faisal Mahmood top scoring with 40 not out.