STONE firsts title challenge suffered a huge blow as they could only manage a winning draw against Longton as rivals Leek won and will now be odds on to take the Premier NSSC title on Saturday.
Having lost the toss, Stone were put into bat and responded in superb fashion with a century opening stand between prolific pair Luke Cheadle(51) and James Dawson.
Dawson continued piling on the runs with David Womble (27) before completing a memorable century, eventually being dismissed for 121 off 149 balls in an innings containing 20 fours and one six.
This innings helped Stone reach 258-5 off their allotted 55 overs.
In reply, Longton started well with the score reaching 53-0 before Richard Holloway fell off the bowling of Womble for 31, fellow opener Michael Longmore fell on the same score LBW to Dries Nell.
Longton’s middle order responded in fine fashion, with contributions from David Wheeldon (79), Stefan Rduch (35) and David Fairbanks (30) as Stone struggled to find a containing line and length.
The visitors looked to chase the target until they lost their sixth wicket on 207 and they shut up shop in the last five overs to finish on 214-6.
Nell’s final figures were a respectable 5-92 off a marathon spell of 22 overs.
Stone sit 14 points behind Leek with one game to go so nothing short of 25 points next week will suffice in the hope that Leek are held by Knypersley.