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North Staffordshire and South Cheshire League Premier Division

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: August 28, 2014

Chris Beech, batting for Leek at Hem Heath, helped drive the away side to victory.

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LEEK turned the form book on its head with a convincing eight-wicket defeat of fourth placed Hem Heath in the Potteries.

Hem Heath are reputedly one of the richest clubs in the NSSCL, but money can't always buy success, as frustrated avid sports fans only know so well.

Leek have started to put together a decent run of results after a period of inconsistency that at one time had them down as relegation favourites.

The club has been indebted to a string of good performances by their professional, Nadim Malik, the former first-class county player, who was once again one of the stars of another welcome Leek win.

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Malik's unbeaten 53 runs and two wickets made him a strong candidate for any man-of-the-match award.

Leek skipper Greg Willott's decision to put Hem Heath into bat on winning the toss quickly paid off with Hem Heath plunging to 72-6, before recovering to total 143-6 before the close of their innings after 44 overs of a rain-affected match.

Former Leek all-rounder Kim Barnett was the first Hem Heath batsman to be despatched back to the pavilion after being trapped lbw by Willott for just 12 runs.

Barnett's opening partner John Seabridge (8) quickly followed, caught by Dave Ferns off the bowling of Malik (2-76) with the home score only having moved on to 33.

Just two runs later it was the turn of John Cheadle (13) to become Willott's second victim, and then the Staffordshire county seamer added to his wicket haul with the scalps of Abdul Razzaq (8), 45-4, and Liam Banks (21), 68-5, followed by Fida Hussain (3), the latter falling to another catch taken by Fern.

It was left to Lee Ridgway (45no) and Matthew Hodson (29) to steer Hem Heath to some respectability.

Leek's reply got off to a shaky start when opener Will Leeson (2) departed cheaply with just 22 runs on the board, bowled by Tom East. However, half-centuries from Malik and Chris Beech (65) – the latter caught by Banks off the bowling of Muhammad Jahangir – put Leek quickly back onto a sound footing.

Alex Thomson (7no) as little chance to again show his batting ability as Malik turned up the heat to guide Leek to a proud victory, which moves them up into sixth place.

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