CHECKLEY beat Burslem to clinch third spot in the North Staffs & South Cheshire Premier Division.
It is a fine return for Mike Allen’s men, who without the intervention of the weather would have got a lot closer to eventual champions Leek.
They finished 33 points off the pace after recording 10 wins in 22 games – the same number as Leek.
The improvement over 2012 is marked, with Checkley on that occasion taking just five wins and finishing fourth from bottom on 195 points.
The star of the season, again, was former Staffordshire paceman Richard Cooper, whose absence in the final weeks of the campaign proved crucial as his side’s form faltered.
He even managed to improve on what had been a brilliant 2012, taking 55 wickets at just 12.60, with six five-wicket hauls and best figures of 7-30.
Jason Brown, with 32 wickets at 21.09, and Andrew Cooper, with 26 at 21.23, also did the business with the ball.
With the bat, Allen had a magnificent season, leading by example with 732 league runs, the fourth highest in the top flight.
Opener Nick Hunt had a much better season, with 477 runs in the league, while young Josh Cartledge made great strides with 451 runs and three half-centuries underlining his progress.
Andy Carr and Danny Spasic both made useful contributions, but the batting was where Checkley perhaps lost ground to their rivals.
Still, third spot – despite leading the division for so long – shows great progress at Four Trees.