Cricket: Zaroof steps up to inspire Porthill Park win
PORTHILL Park shrugged off the absence of Pakistani seamer Fahad Masood to move to the top of the table with victory over Little Stoke.
Masood pulled a leg muscle in Friday's net session, but Sohail Zaroof picked up the mantle to secure a two-run win.
Little Stoke were left wondering what might have been after reaching 92-3 in pursuit of Porthill's 142-7.
But Zaroof picked up 5-55 to skittle the visitors for 140, despite 50 from Peter Turnbull – who was the last wicket to fall – and Spencer Byatt's 43.
John and Dan Hancock had been the impressive performers in Porthill's total.
John made 61, an innings which included three fours and two sixes, while Dan added 34 at a more sedate pace.
Opening bowlers Daniel Colclough (4-45) and Turnbull (3-49) shone with the ball.
Leek are three points adrift in second place following a Greg Willott-inspired win against Checkley.
The Leek skipper bowled unchanged throughout the innings to capture 7-31 as the hosts were restricted to 75-9 from 43 overs.
Alex Mellor then showed the Checkley batsmen how it should be done by hitting an unbeaten 40 not out to guide the Moorlanders to a six-wicket win.
Hem Heath duo Craig Spearman and John Cheadle produced a batting masterclass in their draw with Cheadle.
They compiled an unbroken second-wicket partnership of 221 as Hem Heath rattled up an imposing 250-1.
Spearman hit 10 fours and five sixes in his 142 not out, while Cheadle's unbeaten 102 saw him reach the boundary 10 times.
AJ Harris took 4-33 after tea, but Cheadle were rarely in danger of losing the match.
Shaun Jenkinson and Gary Park made 56 and 40 respectively to enable the new boys to draw stumps on 161-5.
Stone's opening attack of Calum Price and David Womble were instrumental in their win against Audley.
Price (4-26) and former Staffordshire all-rounder Womble (3-36) quickly reduced the visitors to 31-7.
Andrew Johnson's 47 masterminded a partial recovery to 106 all out. But it was never likely to be enough, with Luke Cheadle (37) and Russ Ballard (21no) completing the formalities of a six-wicket victory, which moved Stone up to third place.
The match between champions Wood Lane and Burslem fell victim to the weather without a ball being bowled.
STAFFORDSHIRE'S Knockout Trophy game against Dorset, at Longton, yesterday was postponed without a ball being bowled.
Staffs visit Berkshire next Sunday for their second Group Four match.