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North Staffordshire and South Cheshire Cricket League Premier Division

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: June 04, 2014

Alex Mellor was amongst the runs for Leek at Little Stoke, as the Moorlanders' disappointing start to the new season continued.

Alex Mellor was amongst the runs for Leek at Little Stoke, as the Moorlanders' disappointing start to the new season continued.

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DEFENDING Premier Division champions Leek's poor start to the season continued with a defeat at second-placed Little Stoke on Saturday.

Little Stoke dug deep to secure a three-wicket win, chasing Leek's 138-8.

The hosts were in trouble when James Ecclestone (51) was out, to leave them 129-7.

But Joe Smith (35no) and skipper Gareth Morris (23no) were defiant figures to see their side past the post.

Earlier, Alex Mellor (43) and Alex Thomson (43) had been the main contributors to Leek's total.

Club pro Nadeem Malik (4-57) was the Moorlanders' most successful wicket-taker

Leek have won just one of their seven starts to date and as a result, are entrenched in the relegation zone.

Bottom club Wood Lane's victory over Checkley puts more pressure on Leek to launch a quick recovery.

The Highfield faithful will be hoping for a repeat of last summer's dramatic turn around in Leek's fortunes following a similar slow start.

A run of four wins and three draws from their last seven matches saw Leek go on to record back-to-back titles for the first time in the club's history.

Leek's pivotal moment came at Longton in July when they were 57-6, after entering the game already 30 points behind the then-leaders Checkley.

Club professional Nadeem Malik came to their rescue with a splendid knock of 81 that laid the foundation for an overdue victory which kick-started the Leek recovery.

Leek wrapped up the title on the final day of the season at Knypersley, where they secured the winning draw they needed to stop Stone from taking away their crown.

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