Tom Hope and Shaun Rashid inspire Longton to dramatic NSSCL Premier victory

Longton moved joint top of the NSSCL Premier Division after putting paid to fellow table-toppers Cheadle’s unbeaten record.

There are now six points separating the top four sides, and only 21 covering the whole division, following a day of close finishes and the occasional surprise.

Burslem and Whitmore won by one run at Ashcombe Park and Checkley respectively, while Leek edged home by six runs against champions Porthill Park.

But it was Longton who took the headlines after ending Cheadle’s run of four straight wins to move level at the summit after five rounds of matches.

Cheadle were left to rue a dramatic batting collapse, though, which ended their hopes of putting even more daylight between themselves and the chasing pack.

A fifth successive victory seemed a formality when they made their way to 126-3 – and the equation eventually boiled down to 27 off the final 10 overs with plenty of wickets in hand.

However, they endured a nightmare spell with the bat to crumble to 137 all out to ensure Longton walked away with the points.

Tom Hope’s 5-24 and 3-27 from Shaun Rashid started off the home side’s wobble, while a double strike from Tom Steele brought proceedings to an end.

Stone SP players celebrate taking the wicket of Meakins’ Michael Hill.

Johnathan Clowes’ 55 and 33 from opening partner Tom Edwards had put the Moorlanders on track, while Matthew Goodwin’s 26 kept them ticking along nicely.

But there was a sting in the tail as Longton made it four wins on the trot.

Longton had earlier posted 153-9 on the back of Freddie Doorbar’s unbeaten 40, 23 from Hope and Alex Coates’ 20.

Goodwin continued his excellent form with the ball by snaring 4-23, to sit alongside two wickets apiece for spinner Jack Hassall and Jack Winfield.

Porthill Park missed the chance to take over at the top as they were beaten on their trip at Leek.

Alex Mellor’s 47 was the key contribution to Leek’s 153-9, in which Harry Bailey claimed 4-38.

Louis Allison’s 46 underpinned Porthill Park’s reply, but they were bowled out for 147 – with seven balls remaining.

Rob Haydon (3-20) and Ryan Ball (3-27) were the bowling heroes for the Highfield hosts.

Burslem held their nerve to squeeze home against Ashcombe Park.

Meakins' Peter Wilshaw picks up more runs on his way to a half-century against Stone SP.
Meakins’ Peter Wilshaw picks up more runs on his way to a half-century against Stone SP.

Ash Shaw hit 13 fours and two sixes in his 77 as Burslem made their way to 171-8 at the end of their 40 overs.

Michael Rowley (25) and Saad Qureshi (20) also played their part, but Burslem would have been slightly disappointed not to have posted a bigger total after being 108-2 at one stage.

But Max Hill’s fine eight-over spell of 3-20 and doubles from Nathan Ball and Jake Johnson applied the brakes to the visitors’ run charge.

Opener Irfan Khan (53) was in fine fettle after the interval, but seamer Tom Bason’s 3-34 kept Burslem well in the hunt.

And despite their best efforts, Ashcombe Park drew stumps on 170-9 to earn the narrowest of victories.

It was the same story at Four Trees where Checkley just failed to knock off Whitmore’s huge 253-6.

James Cronie (86) handed Checkley a good start to their chase alongside Michael Allen (36) as the pair put on 103 for the first wicket.

Stone SP seamer Matthew Coxon in action in the NSSCL Premier Division game against Meakins.
Stone SP seamer Matthew Coxon in action in the NSSCL Premier Division game against Meakins.

Scott Elstone also made 36 and there was 32 from John Barks.

But in the final over, Richard Williams was run out and Josh Hewitt bowled by Muhammad Usman to leave Checkley on 252-8 at the close.

Whitmore’s huge total had been centred around a fine 171-run partnership for the third wicket between Jack Beech and Zain Abbas.

Beech plundered 13 fours and two sixes in his 97-ball 104, while Abbas found the boundary 12 times in his 82 to propel Whitmore to their tally.

Cronie claimed 3-34 for Checkley, and even though he then impressed with the bat, Whitmore held on.

Meakins made it back-to-back wins as they triumphed at Stone SP.

Peter Wilshaw made 55 and Ben McGuire struck 39 in the visitors’ 189-8 after they had opted to bat.

Ed Gaffney, Max Cuthbert and Adam Pursell all took two wickets.

Meakins' Jack Hammond gets in a tangle in the weekend victory over Stone SP.
Meakins’ Jack Hammond gets in a tangle in the weekend victory over Stone SP.

Sam Graham’s 54 and George Hawbrook’s 30 gave Stone SP hope of victory, but Michael Hill (4-39) and Karl High (3-28) ensured the home side were bowled out for 160.

Moddershall & Oulton wrapped up a five-wicket win on their trip to newcomers Bagnall Norton.

Bagnall Norton progressed to 164-3 from their allocation as Shoaib Akhtar compiled 63 not out and Josh Graham chipped in with an unbeaten 31.

The Modd men had 12 overs to spare when they overhauled that target.

Sam Kelsall, who resigned as Staffordshire captain last week, made 30, while handy contributions also came from Dan Richardson (25no), John Seabridge (24), Tom Moulton (24) and Rob Spruce (20no).

Greg Willott and Matthew Reynolds both struck twice for Bagnall Norton, but they couldn’t deny the Modd men the points.

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