CHESTER Broughton Hall have seen their once-commanding lead at the Premier Division summit whittled down to just 10 points.
They held a 30-point advantage at the end of May, but progress has been checked in recent weeks and on Saturday they fell to defeat in their top-of-the-table clash with Nantwich at Filkins Lane.
Dabbers captain Andy Newton won the toss and put Chester in to bat.
The league leaders got off to a disastrous start, losing both Mike Robinson and Steve Ogilby in the first over before a run had been scored.
Jimmy Warrington (7-38) was their chief tormentor, but for the second consecutive week captain Jim Gillson (61) top-scored for the hosts.
Warren Goodwin (30) also posted a decent score as Boughton Hall posted a below-par 186.
In Nantwich’s reply, Daron Cruickshank (3-37) took the early wickets of Johnny Kettle (3), Chris Simpson (29) and George Cairns (0).
An unlikely victory seemed on the cards when Jack Williams had the dangerous Glen Batticciotto (33) caught on the boundary, leaving Nantwich on 82-4.
But the visitors’ middle order stood firm, Ray Doyle (42) top scoring with Sam Hunt (35) and Rob Howell (31no) adding important runs as Chester were condemned to their first home defeat of the season.
OULTON PARK built on last week’s first league win of the season by beating Oxton.
Robin Taylor, returning to captain Park, took three early wickets, including Lee Dixon for a duck.
Oxton recovered with GayanFernando (47) and Graham Cashin (46) scoring valuable runs on a difficult batting wicket. However, Danny Leech’s removal of Cashin lead to a batting collapse that saw Park take five wickets for just 12 runs. ŠTaylor was the leading wicket taker, finishing with figures of 5-73 as Oxton ended all out for 184.
Oulton Park’s reply could hardly have got off to a worse start, losing Rick Moore (0) first ball. Leech (4) departed soon after. Š
LouisŠBentley (91) and Martin East steadied the ship, putting on a good partnership. But ducks for Andy Mills and Taylor left Park needing 15 more runs with one wicket remaining.
The excellent Bentley and KeiranBerrington (4no) saw the game through and secured the win.
NESTON were beaten by eight wickets against Urmston. Luke Camden(72) top scored as Neston set a target of 163. Samit Panda stroked an unbeaten 112 in the home side’s winning reply.