Stone 1st XI were involved in a classic encounter on Saturday with near neighbours Little Stoke which eventually saw the Premier League champions emerge victorious in the fading light and off the very last ball of the match.
Little Stoke skipper Gareth Morris won an important toss and had no hesitation in inserting the visitors. Luke Cheadle made light of a pitch offering assistance to the opening bowlers as he counter-attacked to good effect, smashing 14 boundaries in his quickfire 60 off 48 deliveries at the top of the Stone innings. The momentum from Cheadle’s early assault was maintained throughout with good contributions from Sam Graham (40) and Matt Coxon (29).
The Stone innings finished with a quickfire 8th wicket partnership of 57 between Richard Harvey (25*) and Kyle Melis (29*) which allowed the visitors to declare after 52 overs with a challenging 235 on the board. Stone then looked well placed having reduced the home side to 56-3.
However, a 123-run partnership between Little Stoke opener Richard Adams and the hard-hitting James Ecclestone seemed to sway the game in the home side’s favour. However, the dismissal of Ecclestone for an excellent 90 off just 67 balls sparked a mini collapse and the home side lost six wickets for just 32 runs as they were reduced to 211-9. Nevertheless, last pair Morris and overseas professional Gurshwin Rabie edged the home side towards their victory target, and with just one ball remaining and six required it was left to Rabie to clear the ropes.
Matt Coxon, who was once more the leader of the Stone pack, had different ideas and as Rabie went for glory, Coxon kept his cool and clean bowled the South African to secure a crucial and at one time unlikely victory for the champions. Coxon finished with excellent figures of 6-60 off 23 overs and he was ably supported by fellow seamer Oliver Perry’s 4-56.
Stone SP 1st XI gained 20 points in their mid-table clash with Moddershall A in their Division 3 encounter at Swynnerton Park. Bowling first, the SP attack led by George Hawbrook (3-81) restricted the visitors to 190-6 off their allotted overs.
The SP innings was faltering in reply however, until the hard hitting duo of Shaffique Hussain (59) and Evan Bradford (43) joined forces and took the fixture away from the Moddershall men. Despite both falling before the end, the damage had been done, and Stone secured a 3 wicket victory with 4 overs remaining.
In the SP 2nd XI game against their Moddershall counterparts it was Moddershall that came out on top. Despite some excellent bowling from SP opener Rob Pochwyt (4-18) and leg spinner Sam King (3-64) Moddershall closed their innings on 169-8 with Liam Roberts and Brad Leese the chief contributors with 46 and 40 respectively. Unfortunately for the SP team their batting misfired on the day and was unable to get near the home team’s total, eventually dismissed for just 81. The pick of the Moddershall bowling was Dean Tooth who claimed 3-23 from 10 overs.
Talbot Shield semi final
Ian Banks led his Premier B team into their Talbot Shield semi final with high hopes against Hem Heath on Sunday at Stone’s Lichfield Road ground. The visitors batted first and despite good bowling figures from Shaffique Hussain (4-39) and Declan Wardell (3-32) Hem Heath amassed a challenging 196 before being dismissed in their final over.
Stone’s response got off to a disastrous start as the home side were reduced to 9 for 5! The subsequent mountain the team was left to climb was too high and despite resistance from skipper Banks (47) and the evergreen Paul Minshull (27) the innings was eventually brought to an end for a disappointing 118. Hem Heath’s Muhammed Rahim was the destroyer in chief finishing with excellent figures of 6-19.