Dominant Stafford finishing season strongly
Stafford firsts continued their excellent recent form with a dominant victory against Kidsgrove in the North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Division 2 fixture at Riverway. Kidsgrove won the toss and elected to bat on a typically flat wicket and were making steady progress at 75-2 thanks to Rich Hagan (31) and Haroon Mahmood (29). However, an astonishing collapse saw them crumble to 103 all out. Stafford were again indebted to seasoned swing bowler Graham Beardmore (6-43) whose fantastic spell was too good for the Kidsgrove lower order. Off-spinner Umar Zamman (3-21) was also in fine fettle with the ball.
In Stafford’s reply, a purposeful Ash Lunn (69*) was in no mood for showing mercy as his blistering innings from just 76 deliveries saw the game wrapped up for the home side in 25.1 overs for the loss of one wicket. Stafford travel to mid-table Alsager next Saturday in their penultimate game of the season.
In division four Stafford’s seconds are still battling hard against relegation and faced a tough visit to Wedgwood Firsts. The home side dominated with the bat hitting 239-3 declared in 37.2 overs. Oliver Holland 63 not out, Aaron Tymczuk 71 and Mughal Jaleelbaig 60 were all free scoring. In the reply Stafford dug in to claim some extra batting points in defeat before being dismissed for 145. Martin Brazier hit an early 24 before left hander Terry Jones 46 and wicket keeper Gary Fulton 31 not out had a 73 run partnership. Josh Clayton 4-37 was the pick of Wedgwood’s attack. Stafford face a double header this weekend in their continued battle. Sandbach firsts are the visitors on Saturday to Riverway before they travel to Meir Heath on Sunday.
The thirds are also in a relegation scrap in division 7 claimed a winning draw at home to Rode Park and Lawton. Stafford batted first and Andrew Fuller 44, Bob Masters 45, Bob Singh 36 and Andy Kirkbride 59 not out lead them to 240-6 declared in 49 overs. In reply the visitors batted out the 52 overs for the draw thanks to a stubborn 54 not out from Stuart Nixon. They closed on 125-8 and just couldn’t claim the final 2 wickets. Seamers Danny Dobson 3-30 and Kieran Duggal 3-25 both performed well with the ball for Stafford.
The Academy XI claimed a respectable draw at Oakamoor after the home side hit 180-8 declared in 47 overs. Trevor Stewart claimed 3-32 as Oscar and Chris Bell picked up a couple of wickets a piece. Jacob Fullick top scored with 83. In reply Stafford skipper Ali Martin lead by example carrying his bat for a fine 109 not out. The youngsters batted well around him and the side held out batting out and impressive 57 overs for the draw. They closed on 149-9.