CHECKLEY beat champions Leek to grab their first win of the North Staffs & South Cheshire Premier League season.
The Four Trees outfit were indebted to opening bat Josh Cartledge as he stroked 115, his maiden century for the club’s first XI, to chase down an imposing target of 225 to win.
They did it with five balls to spare at the end of a compelling encounter on Saturday.
After defeats in their opening two matches, Checkley finally got up and running as they gained some measure of revenge on Leek, who won the title last season after Mike Allen’s men dropped away in the final few weeks.
Leek skipper Greg Willott won the toss at Four Trees and elected to bat in bright sunshine.
Ross Dearden fell early to Kyle Melis but Alex Mellor (62) and Chris Beech (45) put on 116 for the second wicket as it looked like being a very long day for Checkley.
But after Andy Cooper removed Mellor following his 85-ball knock, Iftikhar Asghar (3-50) got stuck in, bowling South African Jean Rossouw (3) and also bowling Beech, the other set batsman, to leave the visitors on 130-4.
Nadeem Malik (34) rebuilt cautiously, while ex-Derbyshire man Tim Tweats swung the willow, smashing two sixes and three fours in his 59-ball innings, ending two short of a half-century.
A final total of 224-5 from 55 overs looked a tall order – especially with how Checkley’s batting performed in the opening two weekends.
And after tea it looked like being another difficult afternoon as the hosts fell to 52-3, with Nick Hunt (14) and Allen (5) falling to catches at the wicket off the bowling of Willott.
When Amer Siddique followed them back to the dressing rooms, a Paul Hammersley (2-27) victim, Checkley needed to dig in.
Cartledge did this, accompanied by experienced Aussie Danny Spasic, who took 54 balls over a cautious 17.
His dismissal left Checkley 113-4 and brought Melis to the crease. He hit a breezy 11 off 12 balls before Rossouw had him stumped.
Nick Hubble joined Cartledge, who was 98 not out at the time, and the duo added 37 for the for the sixth wicket before Cartledge fell to another Mellor stumping from Rossouw’s leg-spin. He had hit 16 fours and one six in his 151-ball knock.
When Hubble (31 off 28 balls) also fell, there were 14 runs needed, but Richard Cooper (12no) and Asghar (15no) got their side over the line.
CHECKLEY 2nds also grabbed a win at Silverdale 2nds to go third in Premier Division B.
Richard Williams hit 70, Gavin Carr 38 and Kevin Whitehurst 34 as Checkley recorded 192-9 from their 50 overs.Richard Shenton (6-82) bowled excellently for Silverdale.
After tea, Williams (4-35) and Ben Motley (4-15) set about the hosts, who were shuffled off for 140 in 40 overs.
Maximum points keeps the Four Trees men in touch with the leading pack.