What a season for Stone Cricket Club! They’d already been crowned league T20 champions earlier this year and at the weekend they sealed the Premier League title for the second year running and won a remarkable Staffordshire Cup Final too.
On Saturday, a victory against Hem Heath saw Stone crowned North Staffordshire and South Cheshire Premier Division title at their Lichfield Road home. On Sunday, again at Lichfield Road, Stone beat Premier League rivals Longton to win the Staffordshire Cup trophy.
Stone were at their resilient best to beat Longton. After winning the toss, stand-in skipper Phil Cheadle elected to bat first and the decision seemed justified when Cheadle (56), together with brother Luke (62), blasted a century opening partnership. At 150-1 with almost 20 overs of the innings remaining Stone were eyeing up a formidable total but a combination of good spin bowling from Tom Steele (5-37), some indifferent shot selection, and a couple of run-outs led to a disastrous batting collapse, and the home side surrendered meekly in the end for a disappointing 182 all out with six overs of the innings remaining unused.
Stone needed early wickets and the breakthrough was made by Wasim Khan who took a fine return catch to claim the wicket of opener Holloway, before the ever reliable Matt Coxon took the vital scalp of danger man Dave Wheeldon, clean bowled for just five. However, it was South African Kyle Melis who lit up the game in the 22nd over when he claimed a fantastic hat-trick to reduce the visitors to 67-6 and swing the initiative back in Stone’s favour.
But dogged resistance from Steele, in addition to a 59-run partnership for the 8th wicket, meant that Longton approached the final over requiring just eight runs to snatch victory. Eighteen-year-old leg spinner Adam Pursell stepped up to bowl the over and ensured that with one delivery remaining a boundary was required by Staffordshire player Craig Barker. Pursell kept his nerve and Barker was caught at cover to secure a famous four-run victory for the Lichfield Road outfit.
At the post match presentation Melis picked up the Man of the Match award for his bowling figures of 5-37 including the hat-trick which accounted for the Longton middle order.
Stone bring their season to a close away at Checkley on Saturday.
Huge congratulations to everyone at the club for their incredible treble-winning season!