By Tom Sherratt
Knypersley stay top of the table, despite hanging on to a losing draw at Checkley. The home side won the toss and decided to bat and with an opening stand of 70 the decision paid off. The top order all got starts for Checkley as they managed to post 187-7 as Michael Allen top scored with 53. In reply the league leaders lost wickets at regular intervals, but the lower order put up a fight as Paul Goodwin (40) and Tim Goodwin (34), made the game winnable for either side with the score on 174-6, but the innings fell away at the end as they closed on 177-9. Richard Cooper claimed figures of 6-39.
Porthill didn’t capitalise on Knypersely’s slip up, as they were unable to chase down 117 against Audley in a 10 run defeat. Hamza Siddique hit 53 for Audley as they were dismissed inside52 overs for 117, Ben Cotton did the most of the damage on his way to collecting 6-19. In response Porthill got off to a dreadful start at 9-3, but Rao Ifthikar Anjum (45) and Dan Hancock (33) steadied the ship as they looked to rebuild the innings and at 62-3 and 83-4, their side looked in the driving seat, but a flurry of wickets at the end put pay to it as they were all out for 107.
Longton took full advantage, moving back into second place with an eight wicket victory against Burslem. Craig Barker took 6-54 in the first innings for Longton as the home side were reduced to 133 all out. In the second innings Michael Longmore (77no) set the platform and found support in Dave Wheeldon (40) as they chased down the total in the 40th over.
Hem Heath picked up another crucial win against strugglers Elworth, victorious by 81 runs. Bilawal Bhatti smashed 100 not out off 66 balls, helping his side recover from 76-4 to post 212-7. Bhatti then blew away the Elworth middle order taking 5-30 as they were all out for 131. As a result Elworth sit two points from safety behind Whitmore.
Whitmore could only hang on to a losing draw at home against Leek. Alex Mellor top scored for the away side with a run a ball 36 as they were restricted to 166-8. Leek captain Greg Willott then did most of the damage with the ball in the second innings with 6-41, but it wasn’t enough as Whitmore closed on 126-9 from 58 overs.
Wood Lane closed the gap between themselves and the rest at the bottom, with a four wicket victory as they travelled to Stone. The away side put Stone into bat and it paid off immediately removing Luke Cheadle without a run on the board. Wickets kept tumbling with Phillip Cheadle top scoring with 46 as his side managed to scramble to 161-9, as Steve Norcup picked up a five wicket haul. In reply Ryan Hassett hit 52 as his side chased down the target in the 47th over. Wood Lane are now just 10 points from safety.
Meakin won the game at the top and closed the gap from league leaders Little Stoke to just two points with an 18 run victory. Meakin were asked to bat and got off to a woeful start falling to 6-2 which eventually became 57-8, but Matthew Redican (21) and Dave Edwards (15no) helped push the total up to 109 as Naveed Arif took 7-35. Little Stoke got off to an equally poor start losing Joseph Smith without a run on the board and after the second fell at 39the rest fell at regular intervals, as they were reduced to 91 all out; Edwards collecting figurers of 6-34.
Moddershall took full advantage of Little Stoke’s defeat as they beat fellow promotion chasing Cheadle by 72 runs. Kashif Bhatti top scored for Moddershall, smashing 75 on their way to posting 246-6. In reply Muhammed Kashif hit 55 not out for Cheadle, but there was too many single figure scores in the batting line as they were dismissed for 174.
Betley failed to make the most of the league leaders result as they slip from third with a four wicket defeat against Blythe. Blythe captain Peter Finch (7-33) blew away the Betley batting line as they restricted to just 92. Blythe looked in trouble in the second innings as they fell to 27-5, but Dan Hammond hit 56, finding support in Tom Lowe (15no) as they reached the total in the 34th over.
Barlaston look in real trouble as they lost by seven wickets as they travelled to fellow strugglers Ashcombe. Rizwan Haider was the pick of the bowlers for the home side with 4-24, as Barlsaton collapsed to 69 all out. Ashcombe in reply looked to be in similar trouble at 1-2 and 10-3 but Haider (35no) and David Proffitt (26no) steadied the innings seeing their side over the line. Barlaston are now 36 points from Blythe and safety.
Sandyford moved away from the bottom few with a 61 run victory against Meir Heath. Sohail Rauf top scored with 53 for Sandyford as they set the away side 138 to win, but Rauf then took 7-34 as Meir Heath were all out for 76.
Alsager beat Silverdale by seven wickets. Paul Newnes collected 5-36 as Silverdale were dismissed for 106, Mitchell Stokes top scored with 44. Oliver Sadler then carried his bat for Alsager with 40 not out as he guided his team home in the 52nd over.
Newcastle & Hartshill remain top of the table and unbeaten with a six wicket victory away at strugglers Bagnall. Nasir Malik was the star with ball for the league leaders, taking 8-53, as Bagnall were reduced to 119 all out. In reply Newcastle & Hartshill had batsmen making starts but not going on but they reached the total in the 32nd over, James Hagan finishing 21 not out.
Stafford kept the pressure on the leaders with three wicket victory against bottom of the table Bignall End. After choosing to bat Bignall End’s bottom order failed to fire, being dismissed for 154, Aparajit Singh Khurana took 6-47 for Stafford. Mo Ahmed top scored in the second innings for Stafford with 55 as his side chased down the total in the 44th over.
Caverswall are third after a comfortable 157 run home victory against Leycett. The home side dominated the bowling early on, with Jeandre Ludick (74) and Robert King (53) going after the bowling as Craig Lancaster played the supporting role. Leycett did fight back with the score on 185-4 to reduce it to 185-8 and eventually bowling Caverswall out for 202 from 46-5 overs. The second innings was disaster for Leycett with only Dan Gibbs (12) making double figures, falling for just 45, Mat Phillips collected 7-26 for Caverswall.
Norton slip to fifth with a 57 run away defeat against Kidsgrove who move into fourth. The home side stuttered their way to 140 recovering from 56-7, Tom Lench leading the way with 46. In reply Norton never got going with the bat and the innings fell away for just 83.
Weston slumped to a five wicket defeat as they were unable to defend 200 as they travelled to Oulton. Hassan ul Qasim Haleem top scored for Weston with 49 as posted 200-8 from their 55 overs. In response Oulton got off to a good start with an opening stand of 62 and Simon Baker (51no) saw his side over the line in the 46th over.
Endon came away from Rode Park & Lawton with the winning draw. The away side had runs throughout the innings as they were dismissed for 204, Jim Johnson the pick of the bowlers for Rode Park with 5-51. In the second innings the home side collapsed to 96-8 but late runs from Ian Harding (66no) saved them from defeat as they closed their innings on 169-9.
Crewe remain top of the table with a two wicket home win against Forsbrook. Crewe’s two spinners did the damage once again, as George Harding took 6-23 and Shahid Mahboob collected 3-20 as Forsbrook were dismissed for 67. Andrew Jones didn’t give up the fight for Forsbrook as he took out Crewe’s top order with 4-32, but there weren’t enough runs on the board to defend and Crewe made it home in the 20th.
Eccleshall moved level on points with Crewe beating Fenton by 39 runs. Robert Lakin top scored for Eccleshall with 44 as his posted 190-8. They then needed 65.5 overs to dismiss Fenton for 151 in the second innings; Myles Coughlan collected figures of 4-38.
Woore beat Oakamoor at home by seven wickets as they successfully chased down 167. The away side needed late runs from Adam Keates (44) as they were all out on the very last ball of the innings, as Taz Hussain was the pick of the bowlers for Woore with 7-45. Woore got off to a slow start with the bat losing three early wickets, but John Collins (59no) and Harry Oliver (53no) saw their side over the line in the 37th over. Woore are now just eight points off the top two.
Hanford also keep the pace at the top as they travelled to Leek Moorlands winning by 12 runs. The away side managed to post 132 in a stop start innings, with Neal Lafford taking 5-48. Lafford (64) was then the only Leek batsmen to get to grips with the Hanford bowling attack as they fell for 120, Chris Mellor doing the damage with figurers of 8-35.
Church Eaton beat bottom of the table Norton-In-Hales at home by nine wickets. They away side could only muster 118, as Matt White claimed figures of 5-20 for Church Eaton. Andy Greaves then top scored in the second innings for the home side with 45 not out as they chased down the total in the 17th over. Norton-In-Hales now sit 24 points from safety.
Wedgewood & Stanfields could only manage a winning draw against Stone SP. Having posted 204, Wedgewood, couldn’t pick up the final two wickets for victory as Stone closed their innings on 185-8.