CHECKLEY were left frustrated after a brilliant personal performance with bat and ball by Nick Hunt left them tantalisingly close to a well-deserved win – but in the end they had to settle for a winning draw away to third-placed Little Stoke.
After a washout the previous weekend, Checkley were determined to make the most of an uninterrupted day’s play to kick-start their season.
However, it was a short rain delay which ultimately cost them victory as the hosts clung on for a losing draw in their shortened reply.
Checkley dominated from the start after skipper Michael Allen won the toss and elected to bat on a good track, and opener Hunt soon got into his stride on what was to be a memorable day.
Hunt and Cartledge put on 74 for the first wicket before Cartledge was caught and bowled for 33 as the opening pair built a solid platform.
That brought captain Allen to the crease and it was to be a profitable partnership as the duo put on 130 for the second wicket.
Hunt departed with the score at 204-2 but not before completing a superb century, hitting a fluent 101 including 11 fours and four sixes.
Allen went soon after for a terrific 53 before a quickfire 24 from 15 balls by Kyle Melis took Checkley to an imposing 234-4, on which they declared after 53 overs.
It was always going to be a tough task for Little Stoke’s batsman, but they got off to a strong start, getting to 50 without loss.
However the introduction of Iftikhar Asghar proved decisive as he broke the opening partnership, bowling Harvey Collins for 15 and going on to claim two more scalps to end with excellent figures of 3-20 from 10 overs.
Opener Richard Adams proved the anchor for Little Stoke’s innings, scoring 46 but all around him the wickets were flying as batting hero Hunt followed up his century with the bat with a marvellous bowling display.
Hunt ripped through the lower and middle order in a three-over spell that brought him four wickets.
Victory was close enough to touch but after a rain delay shortened Little Stoke’s reply to 32 overs, Checkley were left stranded, still needing one wicket to take maximum points as Little Stoke clung on at 132-9 to escape with a losing draw.
Checkley 2nds leapfrogged opponents Little Stoke in the league standings after a terrific performance at home.
Four Trees on Saturday.
After losing the toss and being put in to bat Checkley were struggling at 27 for 3 before opener Adam Cottier (38) was joined by Ben Smith to steady the ship with a good partnership.
Smith hit an excellent innings of 61, including 10 fours and two sixes, with Ben Haslegrave (27) offering useful support along the way.
Tailender Gavin Collett then hit six fours in a quickfire 27 from just 19 balls at the end of the innings to take Checkley to a solid 195 all out from 46.4 overs.
Opening bowler Collett was to be the star performer with the ball as he ripped through the Little Stoke top order with a brilliant spell of quick bowling.
Collett took the first four wickets to leave the visitors labouring at 39 for four, with the quickie finishing with fine figures of four for 17 from his nine overs.
Peter Appleboam (3-18) then turned the screw taking three quick wickets to leave Little Stoke staring down the barrel at 51 for 7 but a 84-run partnership between Greg Whalley (55) and Huw Owens (23) gave the visitors hope of escaping with an unlikely win.
However skipper Gavin Carr (2-18) introduced himself into the attack and he proved the difference breaking the partnership and quickly wrapping up the innings as Little Stoke were bowled out for 135 to give Checkley victory by 60 runs to move up to fifth in the table.