Longton and Stone SP continue to set standard in NSSCL Premier Division

Longton and Stone SP both registered their third wins of the season to stay joint-top of the NSSCL Premier Division.

Longton cruised to victory at home against Whitmore, while Stone SP eased to the points on their visit to Bagnall Norton.

Ed Jones’ Longton side saw their encounter reduced to 28 overs per side … and their bowlers put the squeeze on Whitmore to set up the routine success.

Whitmore couldn’t manage to find any sort of momentum in their innings and limped to 75 all out with just five balls of their allocation remaining.

Zain Abbas top-scored with 20, while Tom Hope, Alex Coates, Shaun Rashid and Saad Ali all picked up a couple of wickets apiece.

Batting wasn’t always easy, but Longton had more than eight overs left when they overhauled their meagre target.

Tom Steele made 17 at the top of the chase, with Ross Coates making a patient 16 not out.

And Coates’ brother Alex emerged at number four to blast a rapid 26 not out, featuring five fours, to see Longton to an eight-wicket win.

Sam Graham’s start to life as Stone SP captain continues to travel on an upward curve as they pocketed a six-wicket success at Bagnall Norton.

It was a rain-affected clash at Ashcombe Park, but Cheadle managed to win the North Staffs and South Cheshire League Premier Division encounter.
It was a rain-affected clash at Ashcombe Park, but Cheadle managed to win the North Staffs and South Cheshire League Premier Division encounter.

The match was reduced to 19 overs per side and hosts Bagnall Norton found themselves in all sorts of trouble early on.

They tumbled to 19-5 and were in real danger of failing to post a competitive total.

But overseas star Bilawal Bhatti, on his Bagnall Norton debut, showcased his batting prowess with a quickfire half-century to breathe life into their innings.

He was eventually dismissed for 64, which came off 36 balls and contained five fours and five sixes.

His knock enabled Bagnall Norton to close on a respectable 111-7. Left-arm Spinner George Harding snared 4-18 from his four overs for Stone SP.

The run chase was then fronted by skipper Graham, who produced a perfectly-paced innings.

His took 51 balls to compile 64 – hitting eight fours and one six.

And EJ Laverty followed his captain’s lead with an unbeaten 27 to see Stone SP home with three overs left. Alex Graham took two of the wickets to fall.

Ali Khan was in a big-hitting mode in Cheadle’s victory at Ashcombe Park.

Sam Graham hit a half-century in Stone SP's victory over Bagnall Norton.
Sam Graham hit a half-century in Stone SP’s victory over Bagnall Norton.

After Ashcombe Park had been bowled out for 113, a lengthy rain delay meant Cheadle were left with a target of 54 in 15 overs.

But they needed just 5.4 of them as Khan, remarkably, hit 51 not out.

He wrapped up the nine-wicket win in some style as well, hitting four successive sixes off Max Hill to seal the spoils. Khan faced just 24 balls and struck three fours and five sixes in his innings.

Josh Johnson had earlier top-scored with 22 in Ashcombe Park’s tally, in which Austen Crump picked up 3-11 and there were double strikes from Jimmy Sellers and Jack Hassall.

The victory leaves Cheadle in third place, seven points off the top.

Burslem are up to fourth thanks to a five-wicket home victory over Moddershall & Oulton.

The Modd men were skittled for 89, despite Dan Richardson contributing 31 and Rizwan Hussain adding 23.

Leg-spinner Zen Malik instigated their demise with 4-26, while Tom Bason, Michael Brown and Sam Waterhouse all took two wickets.

Richardson claimed a couple of victims on the resumption, but Sam Rowley’s 38 and Josh Tittensor’s 28 helped Burslem to their target.

Just 17 overs were possible between Checkley and Leek.

Checkley had progressed to 73-1, with James Kettleborough on 43.

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