CHEADLE cricketers continue to make hay in the sun without their batting star Ali Khan to help them stack up the runs.
As part of temporary rules introduced by the North Staffs and South Cheshire League, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, overseas players are banned from playing in this year's competition.
So the talismatic Khan, who scores over a thousand runs for Cheadle's 1st XI every year, has been locked down in his native Pakistan.
"We've had quite a lot of stick saying that we're nothing without Ali Khan and won't win anything if he's not in the team," said Cheadle skipper Craig Smith.
But Cheadle continue to prove the doubters wrong and made it four wins from four starts in the Premier Division today (Aug 8) with a comfortable 55-run verdict at newly-promoted Burslem.
Smith played a leading role with a top score of 65 as Cheadle ran up 217-8 after electing to bat first at the Festival Heights ground.
Jake Mills (35), Andrew Coxon (35,) James Sellers (22no) and Tom Edwards (20) added to Smith's knock, which came off 92 balls and included six boundaries.
Ashley Shaw (3-44) and Michael Brown (3-45) shared the bowling honours for Burslem
Last year's Division One runners-up were dismissed for 162 in reply, with Jack Hassall (4-39) and Will Dobbie (3-22) doing the damage in the intense, as seamers Matt Goodwin and Sellers took a back seat for a change.
The win maintained Cheadle's three-point advantage over defending champions Porthill Park at the top of the table.
Porthill responded to their one wicket defeat by Cheadle the previous weekend by beating visitors Ashcombe Park by two wickets.
Last years runners-up Meakins chalked up their first win of the season with a three-wicket success at home to Leek, but they remain at the foot of the table.
Third-placed Longton, who have made a bright start to the season, with three wins from their four starts, are Cheadle's visitors next weekend.
Picture: Cheadle skipper Craig Smith led his team to a comfortable victory at Burslem.