CHECKLEY remain just outside the North Staffs and South Cheshire Premier Division relegation zone, but missed the chance to steal a charge on their rivals in a five-wicket defeat to fellow strugglers Leek.
On a day which was badly affected by the rain, Greg Willott’s reigning champions eased themselves clear of the drop zone thanks to a much-needed 20 points.
Nadeem Malik’s 5-36 helped to restrict Checkley to 110-7 from their 35 overs, in which Danny Spasic made 44.
Leek seized the chance to inflict more misery on their rivals as they knocked off the runs in 28.1 overs, thanks to 47 from Alex Mellor and Alex Thomson’s 27 not out.
Checkley were helped by Burslem losing by six wickets to Whitmore, although Wood Lane closed the gap with a draw against leaders Stone.
Kevin Mountford’s 61 was the principal contribution to winless Burslem’s 121 all out.
Matthew McCall (4-27) and Rashid Amin (3-28) did the damage for Whitmore.
And it required a patient unbeaten 50 from Raj Kumar, which included nine boundaries, plus 31 from Tom Meredith to see Whitmore past the post.
Burslem are now 43 points from safety and in grave danger of being relegated unless they can find an upturn in fortunes.
Wood Lane remain second-from-bottom as, in a match reduced to 30 overs per side, Stone made their way to 176-6, centred around their two opening batsmen.
Jim Dawson weighed in with 51, while Luke Cheadle made 42 to give the front-runners a defendable total.
Wood Lane, to their credit, made a decent fist of the chase and eventually drew stumps on 143-8.
Samiullah Khan top-scored with 41, while Tim Maxfield made 34, but the exploits of Matthew Coxon (4-31) put the brakes on the visitors’ hopes of victory.
Both of Uttoexter CC’s games were cancelled.