Leek's Double H star to defeat champions Double H in NSSCL Premier A opener

Staffordshire's Rory Haydon scored 34 and took six wickets in Leek's NSSCL Premier A victory at champions Hem Heath.
Staffordshire's Rory Haydon scored 34 and took six wickets in Leek's NSSCL Premier A victory at champions Hem Heath. -Credit:Alfie Shenton

Rory Haydon and Josh Hudson starred with bat and ball as Leek demolished champions Hem Heath in their Premier A curtain-raiser.

Hem Heath clinched the top-flight crown last summer and would have been favourites in many quarters to kick off their defence with a win against a Leek side who only just avoided the drop in 2023.

But it was Leek who roared out of the blocks with a fine performance to topple the champions in devastating fashion.

It was Haydon and Hudson who took the opening-day plaudits for the Moorlanders - firstly impressing with the bat.

Haydon, returning to the club after a spell at Birmingham League side Kenilworth Wardens, top-scored with 34, while Hudson added 30, as Leek posted 126 all out after being invited to bat.

That represented a decent recovery from 16-4 as Liam Banks and Greg Prime claimed 3-16 and 3-22 respectively for the home side.

Hem Heath’s reply ran into huge trouble early on as they were reduced to 16-7 to end their chances of starting with a win.

Sam Wilcox (11) managed to scramble into double figures, but Hem Heath were eventually bowled out for a paltry 38 to mark a miserable afternoon.

Staffordshire seamer Haydon helped himself to 6-28, while new-ball partner Hudson scooped 3-6, to secure a dream start to the summer for Alex Mellor’s men.

There were thrills and spills aplenty at the Old County Ground as last year’s runners-up Porthill Park held their nerve to beat Moddershall & Oulton by one wicket.

It was certainly a day for the bowlers in a low-scoring affair between the two sides.

The Modd men opted to bat after winning the toss, but were bundled out for 94 thanks to Jacob Degg’s 4-24 and 4-27 from Matt Coxon.

Dan Richardson (24) top-scored for the visitors, with Joe Hawkins (16), Sam Atkinson (13) and Danushka Sandaruwan (12no) also making handy contributions.

Moddershall & Oulton steadily chipped away at the hosts’ line-up after the interval as they displayed their never-say-die attitude.

John Hancock (16), South Africa Test batsman Edward Moore (15) and Coxon (13) all reached double figures.

Craig Barker kept a cool head with the bat to help to steer Porthill Park to the points against Moddershall & Oulton.
Craig Barker kept a cool head with the bat to help to steer Porthill Park to the points against Moddershall & Oulton. -Credit:STOKE SENTINEL

However, double strikes from Sandaruwan, Richardson and Jacob Garlick left Porthill Park on 82-9 and facing the prospect of defeat.

But a couple of cool, experienced heads joined forces in the nick of time for the home side.

Craig Barker (7no) and Nick Bailey (5no) forged a much-needed alliance to steer their team to the winning line in the 43rd over of the chase.

Burslem, returning to the top division after a one-season absence, were comfortably beaten on their trip to Checkley.

Checkley, fancied to mount a title challenge this summer, won the toss and invited their visitors to bat.

And it proved to be a shrewd decision by skipper James Kettleborough as he watched his team dismiss Burslem for just 109.

Diwesh Panthania (4-30) and Richard Cooper (3-21) shared seven wickets, while new recruit Ben Holt marked his Checkley debut with a couple of scalps.

Ash Shaw (34), Eranga Dissanagge (17), Matt Coles (13) and Liam Pattison (12) made the most progress with the bat.

Checkley required just 15.5 overs to wrap up a seven-wicket triumph.

Tom Carrigan (25), Kettleborough (21no), Nils Priestley (20) and Gurjot Singh (16) dealt with business, despite Michael Brown’s two wickets.

There was better news for Meakins, who marked their Premier comeback with a resounding home success against Audley.

Asked to bat, hosts Meakins navigated their way to a competitive 203 all out in the formative stages of the afternoon.

Karl High hit 40 up front, but it needed a fifth-wicket stand of 85 between overseas player Ankur Malik and Matthew Arnold to put them firmly in the driving seat.

Arnold weighed in with 23, but Malik was the star as he compiled a run-a-ball 75, featuring nine fours and three sixes.

Huey Nield (3-56) was the pick of the Audley attack, with six other wickets being shared by Ed Jones, Thomas Boundy and Jack Redman.

Audley reached 69-3 in their reply, but then the innings unravelled in quick fashion.

Oliver Wilde struck 34, but they tumbled to 81 all out as Meakins cruised to the spoils.

Spinner Alex Graham helped himself to 4-5, with double strikes coming from seam duo Joe Dutton and Michael Hill.

Stone SP skipper Sam Graham made 81 not out in his side's win at Longton.
Stone SP skipper Sam Graham made 81 not out in his side's win at Longton. -Credit:Pete Stonier / Stoke Sentinel

Stone SP impressed on the road to clinch victory at Longton.

Skipper Sam Graham led the way for Stone SP as he guided his team to 225-5 from their 45 overs after losing the toss.

Graham hit seven fours and one six in an unbeaten 81 to form the backbone of Stone SP’s total.

Debutant William Hobson made his mark with 56, which contained five fours, while William Alsbury added 38. Anuj jotin took two wickets.

In reply, Alex Thorley (36), Euan Hurst (35) and Freddie Doorbar (27) all made decent starts.

But no-one could go and make a match-winning contribution as Longton were dismissed for 166.

Cameron Sinclair snared 3-27 and there were a couple of victims for Warrick Fynn.

Bagnall Norton made a winning start to the campaign with victory over Cheadle.

Visitors Cheadle were in trouble on 97-6, but rallied somewhat to post 164-9 from their allocation.

That was thanks to a rapid 64 from Matthew Goodwin, who struck three fours and six sixes in his 38-ball knock.

Sam Cliffe (22), Andy Coxon (18) and Austen Crump (16) were the other Cheadle batsmen to contribute.

Nyle Broadhurst picked up 4-25 for Bagnall Norton and there were a couple of wickets for Andrew Whitehurst.

Matthew Kenvyn (37), Justin Mould (23) and Morgan Murray-Williams (22) laid firm foundations in the hosts’ post-tea chase.

James Sellers (3-27) and Ryan Harvey (3-36) attempted to turn the tide, but Muhammad Mujahid (42no) steered Bagnall Norton to a four-wicket triumph.