Leek lead grows despite Stone wall
League leaders Leek slipped up against Stone losing by 21 runs but their lead in the North Staffs & South Cheshire Premier League extended to 33 points as Knypersley beat Wood Lane, leap frogging them into second place.
Leek reduced Stone to 22 for four, but David Womble rebuilt the innings with support from Liam Hickey (41) and Matt Coxon (27), before they were dismissed for 160, Leek captain Greg Willott picking up his sixth five wicket haul of the season returning figures of 5-49.
In reply Leek’s batting never got going with only Rob Haydon (46) in the top order getting to grips with the Stone bowling attack as they slumped to 109 for eight. Late runs from Brian Mellor (37no) pushed Leek up to 139, Russell Ballard the pick of the bowlers with 4-43.
Knypersley moved into second place, 33 points behind Leek as they jump Wood Lane beating them by 105 runs. After Dan Ball (61) and Paul Goodwin (43 not out) helped Knypersley set the home side 198 to win; it was down to the bowlers and Kevin Cockerton didn’t disappoint.
In a 10 over spell Cockerton took 6-10 as Wood Lane fell from 58 for three to 92 all out, as their title hopes took a huge blow sitting three points behind Knypersley in third.
Longton couldn’t take full advantage of Leek’s slip up, only managing to get a winning draw when they travelled to Checkley. Michael Longmore hit 96 not out for Longton as they posted 192 for four from their 55 overs.
The away side then picked up wickets at regular intervals, but Checkley captain Andy Carr (53 not out), stabilised the innings, finding support in Nick Hubble (35) and then Richard Cooper (14 not out) as Checkley closed their innings on 156 for eight. Longton championship hopes are drifting away, now sitting 38 points behind Leek.
Porthill Park also missed the chance to close up on Leek, as they were beaten by bottom of the table Cheadle. Porthill sat 40 points behind Leek at the start of the day, but this extended to 42 with a 52 run defeat, Cheadle keeping their slim hopes of survival going.
Cheadle won the toss and batted first, but no one scored heavily, Dave Wheeldon top scoring with 29 as they posted 175 for nine. In reply Porthill got off to a positive start but they fell from 93 for two to 123 all out, Cheadle captain Simon Plant (4-24) and Chris Barker (3-23) did the damage at the end with ball.
The gap between Plant’s side and Little Stoke and safety remains at 54 points after they beat fellow strugglers Burslem by 20 runs.
Gareth Morris (53) and Hassan Raza (43) helped Little Stoke post 139 for seven, Sam Waterhouse and Michael Brown both taking three wickets for Burslem. They then slumped to 119 all out in the 53rd over, Morris returning figurers of 6-40. Little Stoke moved 20 points clear of their opponents and the relegation zone.
In the battle in mid table Audley came out victors, beating Hem Heath by 30 runs. Atta Ur Rehman hit 40 for Audley as his side posted 165, Fida Hussain claiming figures of 5-20. In reply Hem Heath had no one score heavily for them and they were dismissed for 135.