CHESTER Boughton Hall will be aiming to get their Premier Division championship challenge back on course when they travel to Widnes tomorrow.
Steve Ogilby's men slipped from top down to fourth last Saturday after being beaten in a high-scoring game at Alderley Edge.
Now 12 points adrift of leaders Bowdon, Hall know a win at Widnes would keep them in touch with a tightly-bunched chasing pack that also includes Neston and Oulton Park.
At Alderley, the hosts' in-form batsman Mark Currie blasted 132 as his team amassed 271. He was helped by Sohail Rauf (80), while Chester veteran Alex Kegg plugged away for 28 overs in the heat to return an admirable 6-83.
With Jim Gillson cracking an un-beaten 121, Chester had a real go, but lost their last wicket on 233 with one ball remaining. Sohail Rauf proved Alderley's match-winner with 5-55 from 18.5 overs after the game was interrupted for 20 minutes by drizzle and bad light.
OULTON PARK moved into familiar title challenging territory just behind new leaders Bowdon, but diced with defeat at bogey team Nantwich.
It was 43 games and nearly two years ago that Park were last beaten - and that was by Nantwich.
They looked as if they might do so again but Park mustered just enough runs to limp home with five balls to spare.
Nantwich had been all out for 199 and when Park's ninth wicket fell on 198, nerves were fraught.
Chris Jones (5-55) and Nathan Dumelow (4-64) did their jobs well, as did Jonny Kettle (74). But it was an off day for Oulton at the crease which made the modest knocks of Chris Bassano (31) and Jimmy Guest (25) match-winners as Park posted a winning 202-9.
Bramhall moved off the foot of the table thanks to the 25 points they gained from an unexpected victory at NESTON.
Beaten in all previous seven outings this season, Bramhall outbatted Neston after being set a target of 243 to win. Thanks to Cheshire skipper Andy Hall (88) and Nick Cantello (70), they won by three wickets, Jon Farrow taking 3-65. Un-beaten Neston must have felt satisfied with their tally of 242-5 at tea, Chris Hackett making 73, Simon Marshall 53 and Stan Clifford 40, but it was not enough.
The victory for Bramhall was bad news for CHRISTLETON, who slipped to the foot of the table despite registering a superb winning draw at home to Hyde.
Matt Parkinson's side played some of their best cricket of the season and Trinidadian all-rounder Darron Cruikshank was once again Christleton's key batsman, his innings of 87 helping his team post 221-9 (Danny Woods 4-78, Danny Berry 3-41). Hyde never really got going, apart from Gavin Peacock who made 88, and were content to play out for a draw on 208-9. That man Cruikshank starred with the ball, taking 3-63.
TATTENHALL chalked up their first victory of the season at the eighth attempt.
They were involved in a hard-fought and extremely exciting Division Two match at Burnage, who were made to bowl first after losing the toss.
Tattenhall went on to post 243-9, John Hope leading the way with 77 despite taking a nasty blow to his hand early in his innings. John Gibbon (34), Barry Mitchell (32) and West Indian ace Damian Lewis (23) all chipped in.
Although it seemed a good total, Burnage's openers made it seem far too small throughout their first 10 overs, rattling up 85-0.
But wickets soon began to tumble and then skipper Rob Mulvihill (3-49) introduced himself to the attack at the midway point of the innings. Lewis (5-113 from 24 overs) bowled unchanged at the other end and took wickets regularly.
Burnage closed to within 13 runs of victory but had only one wicket left to play with, ensuring a tense finish. The nerves began to jangle when Mulvihill was hit for six but he claimed a wicket with his next ball to leave the hosts all out for 237.