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North Staffordshire and South Cheshire League Division One - Ashcombe Park v Newcastle & Hatrshill

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: August 10, 2014

  • .Ashcombe Park celebrate getting Newcastle & Hartshill's Babar Khan out.

  • Chris Beech helped to spare Leek's blushes against Wood Lane with a top score of 35.

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ASHCOMBE Park turned the form book on its head with a magnificent win over league leaders Newcastle & Hartshill.

A seven–wicket haul for Ashcombe's Pakistan professional Rizwan Haider was backed up by three wickets from Josh Johnson, as they combined to shoot out the visitors for just 94.

Ashcombe had a few anxious moments during their reply, but rallied before going on to win by five wickets.

After a rain-delayed start of just over an hour, Haider set Ashcombe on their way by bowling Jon Gidman off only the second ball of the match.

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Early conditions favoured the bowlers, who found swing and seam, and wickets continued to fall rapidly – four more to Haider and two to Johnson, as a strong Newcastle batting line-up slumped to 47-7.

Andy Keates mounted something of a fightback with a rapid 23, adding 30 with Nasir Malik for the eighth wicket, until Malik (13) was caught by keeper Ryan Ball, earning Haider a sixth wicket at 77 -8.

Haider saved his best wicket for last, a stunning knee-high, lightning reaction, one-handed return catch off Keates' full-tilt straight-drive.

Haider ended with figures of 7-39 before Ball claimed a third catch, running half the length of the pitch to get under a towering mishit by Babar Khan, as Johnson (3-44) closed the visitors' innings – but the last three Newcastle wickets had managed to double the total.

Ashcombe lost Nick Goodwin and Phil Clowes to lbw decisions in favour of Nasir Malik (2-40), as the home side's reply reached 30 -2, but the Newcastle fast bowler looked half-pace and far from fully fit.

A 25-minute rain break almost led to Ashcombe's reply being derailed upon resumption. Andy Whitehead (3 -31) resumed his interrupted sixth over and immediately claimed the prized scalps of Haider and Dave Proffitt with successive balls. Haider became a third lbw decision while Proffitt chopped the next ball on to his stumps, with Newcastle now leaping about sensing a sensational comeback.

Ashcombe's worries at 30-4 were considerably eased by a swift 17 from Ryan Ball off just 19 balls and when he was caught on the cover boundary at 55 -5, skipper Ian Alcock joined opener Tom Boulton to see Ashcombe home.

Boulton was in 'they shall not pass' mode, battling throughout the innings for a splendid 23 not out.

Alcock survived a dropped catch at second slip and a mighty hit on the helmet which went for four leg-byes, in between hammering six boundaries in his 28 not out.

The pair added an unbroken partnership of 42 to see Ashcombe to a memorable win which takes them to sixth in the table, easing relegation worries.

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