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Cricket: Final countdown for Michael Allen and Checkley CC

By Uttoxeter Post and Times  |  Posted: August 15, 2014

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CHECKLEY CC are looking forward to a "brilliant day" later this month when they host and star in the final of the Talbot Cup.

The showpiece event of the North Staffs and South Cheshire League will be held at Four Trees, and Michael Allen's side booked their place in it by beating Audley on Sunday.

It marked a successful weekend for the club, as they also collected a second successive Premier League victory by seeing off fellow strugglers Burslem on Saturday to move 18 points clear of the relegation zone.

"It was a good weekend," said 23-year-old Allen.

"The massive thing for us as well is that the final is at home, so it will hopefully be a brilliant day, whoever we end up playing.

"We needed the win on Saturday and then we produced a good performance in the cup.

"We're performing well at the moment and we've got a bit of confidence and buzz back which we were perhaps lacking in mid-season.

"This year has been tough, but we've perhaps not gelled as well as we'd have liked.

"But we're getting there and it will be interesting this weekend."

In Sunday's 15-run victory at Kent Hills, Checkley were forced to dig deep after being reduced to 30-3 by Audley.

However, a 163-run fourth-wicket stand between Allen (99no) and Nick Hunt (77) (pictured right) put them back on track.

Allen was unable to get the eight runs he needed off the final over, but still guided his side to 223-5 from their 45 overs.

"We were struggling after about 12 overs and we thought 150 would be a decent score because the wicket wasn't easy," said Allen.

"We then went off for rain, and when we came back on the wicket seemed to get better, so 223 was a brilliant effort."

Division One side Audley, who are mounting a late promotion charge, started positively with Imran Arif (54) and Dean Bedson (38) compiling 92 for the first wicket.

But the introduction of off-spinner Richard Williams helped to turn the tide as he picked up impressive figures of 4-29 to pile the pressure on the home side.

And despite 22 apiece from Andrew Johnson and David Cooper lower down the order, Audley were bowled out for 208 with eight balls remaining.

Williams stole the show with the ball, although wicketkeeper Andy Carr claimed five dismissals, including four stumpings, during an assured displays with the gloves.

But skipper Allen admitted his side's fielding was not quite up to scratch.

"We dropped 10 catches, and six of those were off Imran Arif," he said.

"That's certainly something we're going to have to improve on ahead of the final.

"Richard was brilliant for us. He's joined us from Moddershall and he's a very good cricketer.

"He bowls excellent off-spin and has got a very mature head on young shoulders.

"But all of the lads played well and it is fantastic to reach the final."

In the league a day earlier, winless Burslem made a nightmare start when Kyle Melis' 3-15 helped to reduce them to 35-6.

Rutvik Botadra (52no) and Chris Roberts (38) led the recovery as Burslem limped up to 118-9.

To their credit, the home side fought valiantly and had a chance of victory with Checkley on 88-6.

But Williams then struck 35 not out to push Burslem closer to the relegation trap door.

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