Elworth Foxes out in front

Elworth CC Yasir Ali and Raj Kumar (FILEminimizer)

Elworth have opened a gap at the top of the North Staffs and South Cheshire League Divison One, following an impressive victory over Newcastle and Hartshill.

Elworth took 25 points from the encounter, ending 183/8 with Newcastle all out for 95.

The win comes on the back of a 95-run victory over Silverdale.

Foxes skipper Russ Ballard won the toss and elected to bat, showing confidence that the Elworth attack, spearheaded by Yasir Ali, Mike Holt and spinner Chris Winter, is well equipped to defend anything in excess of 180.

The statistics endorse that confidence – Eccleshall’s 140 is the highest total the Foxes have conceded in the league this season.

The weather made for tough work for the visitors and Alex Banks, opening with Ballard, was at his busiest, making it even tougher.

Always looking to push the score along and particularly strong through the off side, Banks ensured Elworth got off to a brisk start.

Several fine shots, especially one cover drive off Andrew Keates, brought boundaries and the opening stand was worth 65.

However the scoring soon slowed, something reflected in the anxiety amongst the large crowd.

However the Foxes did enough and Chris Winter and Matt Holmes produced an enterprising unbroken ninth wicket partnership of 20 which deflated the visitors somewhat.

When the innings closed at 183 there was a sense that while it might have been better it could certainly have been worse.

Newcastle’s time in the field, on such a hot afternoon, seemed to have dulled their edge.

Their fielding had been first rate almost throughout and there was a evident togetherness about the group.

But the Foxes breakthrough came quickly and was followed by a clatter of wickets.

Elworth’s catching was of a very high order, everything seemed to stick.

Yasir bowled Andrew Whitehead for five before Chris Winter took a fine catch to dismiss Gidman for 14 off Yasir.

So Elworth recorded their sixth win, five of these bringing 25 points for batting first.

While there is still a long way to go, Elworth’s position is encouraging especially after going so close last season.

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