There were plenty of star performances on the opening weekend of the North Staffs and South Cheshire League season.
In a new weekly feature, CHRIS TRAVERS selects his NSSCL team of the week from throughout the league ladder…
(Hem Heath – 69 & 4-21 v Knypersley)
Hem Heath are expecting big things this summer from the former Warwickshire man – and Banks delivered on the opening weekend.
He set the tone for Hem Heath’s innings which a well-constructed 69 to lead them to 153 all out at Tunstall Road in Division One.
Banks, who has been developing his bowling in recent times, then took the new ball after tea.
His medium pace yielded 4-21 to skittle Knypersley for just 85 to secure a comfortable triumph.
(Stafford – 107no v Bignall End)
Stafford were facing a tough chase at the halfway stage of their Division Two game against Bignall End.
Bignall End had set them 223 to win, a tricky challenge at the best of times, let alone on the first day of the season.
But the experienced Seaton was not daunted by the prospect and produced a perfectly-paced innings to see them to victory.
Opening the batting, he ended up on 107 not out with 16 fours included as Stafford won the contest in some style with almost three overs to spare.
(Moddershall & Oulton – 98no v Porthill Park)
The Sri Lankan all-rounder is filling the professional role at Moddershall & Oulton until permanent signing Rizwan Hussain is available.
And Serasinghe certainly made an opening-day impact at home against the Premier Division champions.
Porthill Park had set a tough victory target of 209, but that didn’t faze Serasinghe as he inspired the Modd men to victory.
He finished unbeaten on 98, hitting 13 fours and two sixes, as Sam Kelsall’s men emerged victorious from the toughest start to the season they could have had.
(Woore – 116 v Leek 2nd XI)
Haleem was one of three batsmen in Division Five to register a century on the first weekend.
However, Haleem’s was the most important in the contest of the game as Woore ran out 10-run winners.
Haleem compiled 116 for the Falcon Field club to pace their progress to 292-7.
And it was certainly a key innings as Leek fell just short on 282-7 in their reply in a high-scoring encounter.
Haleem hit 21 fours and one six in his innings.
(Longton – 65 & 3-17 v Cheadle)
The former Sussex and Essex man showed the value of a pro as Longton beat Cheadle by 10 runs in their Premier Division meeting.
Longton were on the ropes at 40-6 at Tean Road after they had opted to bat.
But Zaidi used his experience – and skill – to keep a cool head and gradually ease the visitors to a defendable target, alongside skipper Ed Jones.
The spinner than secured fine figures of 3-17 from nine overs to help Longton to achieve a victory which had seemed unlikely in the formative stages of the afternoon.
(Whitmore – 80 & 2-11 v Meakins)
The Northamptonshire spinner was acting as substitute professional for Whitmore and produced a fine display to help them to spring a surprise in the Premier Division at title hopefuls Meakins.
White showcased his batting skills in the early part of the afternoon with his 66-ball 80, featuring eight fours and four sixes, powering Whitmore beyond the 200-mark at Ivy House Lane.
He then produced a controlled spell of left-arm spin to take 2-11 as James Menzies’ Meakins were bowled out for 149 in their run chase.
White is in the fold against this weekend, and Whitmore will be hoping he can deliver another performance of this ilk.
(Stone SP 3rd XI – 5-28 v Moddershall & Oulton 3rd XI)
Hickey is well-known in the league as a wicketkeeper – and has helped Stone SP to win silverware with his glovework.
But he opted for a bowling stint at the weekend in Division Four… with his subtle off-spin reaping some rich rewards.
He picked up 5-28 against Moddershall & Oulton thirds, although it wasn’t enough to prevent his side from slipping to defeat.
In this team, he can keep wicket for a bit and then turn his arm if the situation dictates.
(Barlaston – 6-11 v Meir Heath)
Bromley made a highly-impressive start to the Division Two season, which paved the way for a quickfire Barlaston victory.
His haul of 6-11 ensured that hosts Meir Heath could only muster 88 all out on home turf.
And Barlaston needed less than 10 overs in reply to wrap up their first victory of the campaign.
George Hawbrook hit a rapid half-century, but it was Bromley’s exploits with the ball which ensured an early finish at Willow Lane.
(Kidsgrove – 6-19 v Porthill Park 4th XI)
It has been a difficult time for Kidsgrove. They have dropped down to one team and they are now plying their trade in Division Seven.
A raft of players left over the winter, so it was always going to be interesting to see how they started the summer.
And McIntyre ensured that they kicked off in the ideal fashion.
His haul of 6-19 was the highlight of their victory against Porthill Park fourths, which will give them a platform to build on.
(Moddershall & Oulton 6th XI – 5-23 v Audlem)
A product of the successful Moddershall & Oulton youth system, the 14-year-old was one of three youngsters making their first appearance in senior cricket.
A Division Seven game against Audlem – who are fancied for a title challenge – was certainly a baptism of fire, but Harris took it all in his stride… and then some.
Handed the chance to bowl by skipper David Housley, he secured superb figures of 5-23.
And that included a run of three wickets in four balls in a remarkable debut.
Audlem went on to win the game, but that didn’t take the shine off a memorable first game for the Modd youngster.
(Woore 2nd XI – 4-8 v Church Eaton 2nd XI)
Both Griffiths and Lauren Kenvyn took four wickets in Woore’s Division Eight success at the weekend.
But Griffiths just edges out her team-mate – who also made runs – due to the fact she managed to take a hat-trick in the win.
She finished with figures of 4-8 with that impressive treble leaving Church Eaton well adrift of their target.
Woore had posted 210 all out before skittling Church Eaton for just 56 to make the ideal start to the campaign.