By Tom Sherratt
Leek strengthened their position at the top extending the gap over Wood Lane to 32 points after beating Hem Heath by 69 runs. Alex Thompson dominated the batting finishing on 104 not out, while Alex Mellor hit 59, as Leek posted 224-4. Hem Heath then made a poor start with bat being reduced to 28-4, but Mathew Bailey looked to rebuild the innings, but when he was out for 44, the score was on 116-7 and they were finally dismissed for 155, Tom Steale the pick of the bowlers with 4-49.
Wood Lane’s title hopes took a blow when they were unable to defend 207 away at Longton. The away side made a poor start and were reduced to 7-2 and lost opener Deane Jervis injured, but Ryan Hassett (53), Jeff Maynard (68) and captain Daniel Brierley (27) battled to rebuild the innings, when Maynard was out the score was on 184-8 and they closed their innings on 207-9, Longton sharing the wickets between the bowlers, Richard Hassall taking 3-65. Despite losing Richard Holloway for a duck Longton never looked back, James Towle (80) and Michael Longmore (67) set the foundations for the run chase, they then lost a couple of quick wickets but Tom Redfern (18no) saw his side over the line. Wood Lane look adrift of Leek 32 points behind and Longton are now 43 points away from the leaders.
Fellow chasers Porthill Park kept their slim title hopes alive, picking up maximum points at home against Stone, beating them by 21 runs. George Cairns (85) was the mainstay of the home side’s innings, with only Ben Cotton (22) making it past the 20 mark, as Porthill were dismissed for 166, Andrew Winfield (5-30) and David Womble (4-34) took the majority of the wickets. Stone’s innings then never really got going, but Matt Coxon fought back against the Porthill bowlers with 61 not out as his side were reduced to 145 all out, Ben Coxon being the pick of the bowlers taking 5-27. The home side are now 40 points behind the Highfield outfit, with Stone in mid table between Knypersley and Checkley, in sixth.
Knypersley beat rock bottom Cheadle by four wickets at home, as Nayyar Abbas claimed figures of 4-14. Knypersley won the toss and put the strugglers into bat, and after a positive start from the away side at 75-2, wickets began to fall at regular intervals and Abbas took out the lower order, with Kevin Cockerton claiming 3-44 as Cheadle were all out for 133. Knypersley looked to be in trouble with the bat but Abbas (38) stabilised the innings and Tom Goodwin (41no) saw his side over the line in the 40th over. Cheadle are now 54 points behind Little Stoke and safety.
Little Stoke managed to hold on to a losing draw against Checkley, with one wicket remaining, chasing 189. Checkley batted first and Daniel Spasic (61) and captain Andy Carr (48) helped their side post 189-5. In reply Little Stoke made a poor start being reduced to 54-5, but Dave Ecclestone (50no) and Jack Phillips (34) rebuilt the innings and after 60 overs Little Stoke managed to hold on with one wicket remaining finishing on 172-9, Richard Cooper was the pick of the bowlers with 4-49.
Burslem gave the survival hopes a revival after beating Audley by three wickets, moving within a point of Little Stoke. Hamza Siddique (47) was the only batsmen who put up any resistence against the Burslem bowling attack as they were dismissed for 91, Phil Adams and Michael Brown both taking four wickets. In the second innings Burslem lost wickets at regular intervals but Brown (23) saw his side over the line with three wickets remaining.
Elworth extended their lead at the top to 59 points after they demolished Leycett. Elworth batted first and their were runs for David Toft (77), Michael Winter (71no) and Yasir Ali (50no) as they declared on 289-5 after 52 overs. Ali and Steve Morgan both claimed four wickets in the second innings as Leycett were reduced to 116 all out.
Elworth’s title hopes were helped by second place Whitmore only managing to get a winning draw against strugglers Moddershall. Raj Kumar smashed 97 not out and was supported by Tom Meredith (66) as Whitmore set the home side 261 to win. In reply Khalid Malik hit 69 as Moddershall closed their innings on 171-7. Moddershall are now four points clear of Barlaston and the drop zone, while Whitmore lost ground at the top.
Sandyford closed the gap with Whitmore to 33 points after beating Meir Heath by 48 runs. Sandyford made a poor start at 45-4, but Jonathon Barnett (60) and Sohail Rauf (57)rebuilt the innings and dominated the run scoring as the home side were all out for 169, Iftikhar Asghar the pick of the bowlers with 4-53. In reply Asghar then hit 47 not out but his side were reduced to 121 all out.
Silverdale sit 46 points behind Whitmore, beating Norton by three wickets. Scott Degg took 4-17, while Mitchell Stokes and Glynn Moore both taking three as Norton were bowled out for 134. Stokes then smashed a run a ball 76 not out as he guided his side to the finish line in the 33rd over.
In the game between the bottom two Barlaston travelled to Betley and took maximum points, winning by 162 runs. Abdur Rauf Khan top scored for the away side with 62 and was supported by Richard Sharpe (43) as their side posted 243-7. Kahn then claimed figures of 6-34 and Alex Thorley 4-36 as Betley were dismissed after 13 overs for 81. Betley are now 81 points adrift from safety, while Barlaston close the gap to Moddershall and safety to four points.
Meakin gained the winning draw against Blythe as they set the home side 259 to win. There were runs for Ranesh Perera (64) and Peter Wilshaw (60) as Meakin posted 258-7. Blythe then closed their innings on 196-6, with Simon Owen (49), Asif Hussain (40) and Aqab Ahmed (44 no) were all in the runs.
Newcastle & Hartshill extended the lead at the top to 50 points over Ashcombe Park with a 73 run victory against Eccleshall. Simon Wood hit an unbeaten 101 as his side declared on 234-6 from 52 overs. Sathpath Kelum then took 5-53 as Eccleshall were dismissed for 161, Pradeep Jayaprakash top scored with 48. Newcastle & Hartshill are now 74 points clear of Alsager in third place.
Ashcombe beat Bignall End by seven wickets by second, so lost five points on the league leaders. Rizwan Haider took 4-28 and David Clowes 3-13 as Bignall End were dismissed for 96. Haider then smashed 75 not out off 51 balls as his side chased down the target after 20 overs after being 6-3. Ashcombe are now 50 points behind Newcastle & Hartshill but are 24 points ahead of Alsager.
Third place Alsager were beaten away at Caverswall going down by 72 runs. The home side posted 170, captain Rob King top scoring with 54, Gareth Rowe was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 6-75. In reply Alsager made a dreadful start with none of the top six making double figures and were all out for 98 as Gregory figures took figures of 4-17.
Oulton moved within eight points of Kidsgrove and safety after they beat Stafford by four wickets. Dries Nell took 4-42 as Stafford managed to make it to 177-9, Aparajit Singh Khurana top scoring with 44 not out. In reply Karl Harvey hit 50 as his side chased down the total in the 54th over.
Rode Park & Lawton gained the winning draw against Kidsrove and move within 12 points of their opponents, but they still sit bottom of the table. Adam Donnelly (89) set the platform for Rode Park & Lawton as they set Kidsgrove 207 to win. Donnelley then claimed figures of 5-20, but Kidsgrove managed to hold onto a crucial losing draw closing their innings on 122-9 after 65 overs.
Muhammad Arshad helped Woore move eight points clear of the drop zone after they beat Weston by five wickets chasing down 226. Weston had runs throughout the innings with Phillip Stockton top scoring with 63 as they posted 226 Arshad taking 8-84. He then smashed 100 off 80 balls at the top of the innings as his side reached the target in the 45th over. Weston are now only 16 points clear of the bottom two.
Asif Raza helped his Bagnall side move clear at the top of the innings after they demolished fellow title hopefuls Wedgewood & Stanfields by nine wickets. Raza took 9-29 as Wedgewood were dismissed for 64. Bagnall then knocked the total off in the 13th over, Martin Mason top scoring with 44 not out. Baganll are now 20 points clear of second place Endon and 23 in front of Wedgewood.
Endon moved into second place beating Fenton by five wickets. George Sellers took 5-44 as Fenton closed their innings on 151-9, Chris Mellor top scoring with 38 not out. In reply Jordan Weaver hit 54 and captain Alex Bailey scored 41 as they chased down the target after 40 over.
Oakamoor moved up to fourth and 33 points behind Endon to keep their promotion hopes a live beating Norton-In-Hales by 88 runs. Oakamoor had runs at the top of the innings, Tom Sherratt (52) and Muhammad Ayub (41) and runs at the bottom in Jack Hassall (35no) and Matt Wolff (27) as they set the away side 193 to win. In reply Norton-In-Hales never got going, being dismissed for 104, James Ruscoe top scoring with 42 off 36 balls.
Moddershall A gained the winning draw against Stone SP as both teams finished on 181. Dave Stupples top scored with 44 for Moddershall before being dismissed by his brother Matt (5-50) as his side were all out for 181. In reply Adrian Butters’ 103 not out wasn’t enough to get his side past the total as and it took them 4.2 overs longer to reach the 181. Moddershall A are now 18 points adrift of Fenton and safety.
Crewe beat Hanford by 85 runs and sit mid table. Crewe posted 214-8, Waqar Ahmed top scoring with 45. In reply Hanford got off to a poor start losing both openers for ducks and it didn’t pick up from their, being dismissed for 129, Shashid Mahboob pick of the bowlers with 7-70.
Forsbrook beat Church Eaton by 62 runs and are now 36 points behind Endon in second place. Jack Wood top scored for Forsbrook as they set the home side 219 to win. Fida Hussain then took 6-43 as Church Eaton were dismissed for 156, Ryan Harris top scoring with 52.