Leek hold nerve to seal NSSCL Premier Division safety, while Meakins net title


Leek retained their NSSCL Premier Division place with a four-wicket victory over Whitmore in the final-day relegation decider.

Whitmore made the trip to Highfield seven points clear of the Moorlanders, who were sat second-from-bottom of the table.

But Leek managed to find their form at just the right time to ensure that they will be playing top division cricket next summer.

For Whitmore, they were left to reflect on a horror start to the match with the bat which ultimately proved to be costly as they dropped down to Division One.

Leek skipper Alex Mellor had called on one of his players to be a hero in the key encounter – and seamer Craig Melrose heeded those words.

Whitmore were invited to bat, but made a dreadful start, which saw them reduced to 1-3 and then 9-5, which included the wicket of Northamptonshire’s Graeme White for a duck.

Whitmore tumbled further into trouble as Melrose’s haul of 6-11 saw them on 34-8 at one stage… and in danger of exiting the division with a whimper.

But Adeel Arshad counter-attacked late on to make 49 as Whitmore were dismissed for 109.

And they might well have fancied their chances of defending that total as Leek fell to 13-3 after the interval.

Mellor and Khalid Sawas took the sting out of the visitors’ attack, before the former was out for 32.



Leek captain Alex Mellor made a key contribution with the bat as his side beat Whitmore to secure their place in the NSSCL Premier Division.
Leek captain Alex Mellor made a key contribution with the bat as his side beat Whitmore to secure their place in the NSSCL Premier Division.

However, Sawas (48) pushed the hosts close to the winning line before he fell, but he had done his job as Leek completed their mission.

Muhammed Kaleem and Arshad both took two wickets for Whitmore, but their stay in the Premier Division has come to an end.

At the other end of the table, Meakins picked up the nine points needed to clinch the title in their draw at Stone SP.

Meakins had virtually sealed the deal by the halfway mark as they piled up 251-4 from their 50 overs.

An opening stand of 133 between Ben McGuire and Hamaiz Mahmood settled any nerves which may have been floating around the visitors’ camp.

McGuire hit nine fours and one six in his 64, while Mahmood found the boundary on nine occasions on his 61.

Sam Moores (51) also added a half-century, while Michael Hill chipped in with 40.

Jason Jakeman – a stand-in professional for Stone SP – top-scored with 63 after tea, while James Pokora added 30. But when they both fell, it was a case of survival for Stone SP and they drew stumps on 161-9.

Karl High took 3-48, with Meakins skipper Peter Wilshaw weighing in with a couple of key wickets, including the scalp of Jakeman.

Longton ended the season as runners-up after winning at Moddershall & Oulton – despite a remarkable fightback from the home side.

Longton had put 243-3 on the board, which was largely thanks to an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 169 between Riki Wessels and Tom Hope.



Leek seamer Josh Hudson in action in the NSSCL Premier Division relegation decider against Whitmore.
Leek seamer Josh Hudson in action in the NSSCL Premier Division relegation decider against Whitmore.

Wessels hit eight fours and five sixes in his 80-ball 100 not out, with Hope unbeaten on 70 at the end of the innings. Dan Ball had made 40 earlier in the afternoon.

The Modd men tumbled to 45-6 in reply, before Dan Richardson dragged them firmly back into contention.

The all-rounder compiled a rapid ton – and put on 144 for the seventh wicket with Elliot Colclough (41).

Richardson eventually fell for 102, which contained 16 fours and one six, before the home side were dismissed for 211.

Staffordshire seamer Alex Coates finished with 4-33, with Hope chipping in with 3-37.

Defending champions Porthill Park had to be content with a third-placed finish, but ended the season on a high with a five-wicket win at Burslem.

Burslem were limited to 154 all out as Craig Barker captured 4-21 and there were a couple of wickets for Harry Bailey.

Ash Shaw (36) and Sam Waterhouse (21) made the most progress with the bat.

Callum Harrison struck twice after the interval but Dan Hancock (35no), Matthew Coxon (26), Tom Mason (24no) and Louis Allison (22) all made decent contributions to Porthill Park’s successful chase.

Checkley finished in fourth after beating bottom of the table Ashcombe Park by nine wickets.

Philip Clowes and Anis Raza made 27 and 25 not out respectively, but Ashcombe Park were bundled out for 120.

Brendan Lovatt (3-20) and Seb Smith (3-21) took three wickets apiece, with the other four being shared by Niall Lovatt and Tom Moulton.

Moulton then anchored the chase with 28 not out, with captain Michael Allen taking on the attacking role.

He ended up unbeaten on 63, which came off 42 balls and featured 12 fours and one six, as Checkley cruised past the post.

Bagnall Norton wound up their campaign with a one-wicket win at Cheadle.

Cheadle’s 105 all out owed plenty to Ali Khan’s 72, which saw him strike eight fours and three sixes.

Kashif Naveed (6-18) did the bulk of the damage.

Bagnall Norton slipped to 31-5 in reply, but eventually scrambled over the line thanks to Freddie Doorbar (39), Joe Bridgewater (21), Naveed (20) and Greg Willott (11no).

Seamer Matthew Goodwin took 4-23 for Cheadle, but they couldn’t find that last wicket.





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