1st Team v Audley - 16th June 2013.
By Andrew Birkin
Pick of the bunch ensures Burslem continue to excel.
Burslem skipper Chris Lowndes
saluted a season's best from his side after they secured a 48-run win against Audley to maintain their impressive start.
The Festival Heights club struggled last season, but have shrugged off their 2012 woes to inch up to fourth place with Saturday's victory.
Lowndes orchestrated Burslem's 198 all out with 73, before the visitors were dismissed for 150 in reply.Michael Brown
(4-65), Ateeq Khan (3-30) and Josh Pieters (3-31) inflicted the damage following the early setback of losing paceman Muhammad Zeeshan to injury.
Dean Bedson formed the lone resistance for Audley with 58, but when he was the ninth wicket to fall, the destination of the points was clear-cut.
"It was the sort of pitch where you had to stick it out and you could score runs on it, as Dean showed for them," explained Lowndes.
"We had a flier, but at 50-4 we had to dig ourselves out of a hole, which we've done before."
"Last year if we were in that situation, we would have been all out for 70, but the guys chipped in and recovered well."
"Losing Zeeshan to a hamstring injury after just one over was a blow, so to still bowl them out with only four bowlers, I'd say that was our best perofrmance of the season."
Burslem had made a solid start thanks to openers Steve Lowndes
and Sunil Kumar, but lost both in successive deliveries with the score on 38.
And a couple more victims left Audley in the driving seat before skipper Lowndes intervened to lead his side out of a sticky situation.
He hit 11 fours and one six in his innings, but Matthew Hammersley and Tom Oakes, who claimed 3-20 and 3-58 respectively, kept Audley in contention for victory.
The visitors lost opener Hamza Siddique to the second ball of Pieters' spell, and that set the tone for the rest of their run chase.
Bedson remained a formidable figure, but the procession of partners back and forth to the pavilion hampered Audley's quest to develop any momentum.
Left-arm spinner Brown wheeled away from one end, but a rapid triple burst from Khan left the away side teetering on 65-5.
It took Brown until the 16th over of his spell to earn some reward, but the dismissal of Mustafa Bashir set him on his way to cleaning up the tail.
Bedson, who had looked in no trouble at all, had a rush of blood and was stumped off Brown, which signalled the end of Audley's challenge.
Dave Cooper provided some late entertainment with 29, but it wasn't enough to save his side.
Cooper was the last wicket to fall when he edged behind to give South African left-arm seamer Pieters his third wicket of the innings.
"I thought 198 was about par for the pitch," said Audley captain Andrew Johnson.
"Losing Hamza so early was a blow because we normally try to bat around him."
"We've got lads who are scoring runs, but we're not putting it all together in the same match."
"I thought we bowled well and picking up nine points isn't a bad return."