CHESHIRE were beaten by Derbyshire home and away in the Drake's Pride Junior County Championships on Sunday.
They lost by only four chalks at Winsford Cons, where Castle Private duo Michael Yearsley and Craig Shaw and Joe Illidge (Farmers Arms) were among six winners.
A third Castle player, Matt Hamman, was beaten 21-19.
Mid Cheshire provided three away winners - Thomas Palin (Slow & Easy), Daniel Moores (Comberbach) and Lee Lynch (Crowton), while Rob Palin (Owley Wood) was among the losers in a 210-192 scoreline.
Cheshire lost 415-393 in total. The 98th Cheshire Merit finals are at Stockport CC on Sunday (10am), with father and son Mark and Robert Winnington in separate halves of the draw, which means they could meet in the final.
The ties include: 1st round - Mark Winnington v Steve Cook (Altrincham), John Gurney v Paul Garwood (Stockport), Park Vernon v J McDonnell (Alt), Lester Bebbington v S Curbishley (Chester), Rob Winnington v Dave Williams (Stk), Daniel Nixon v K Looker (Frod-sham), Steve Nixon v Ken Kuhn (Knutsford); 2nd round - Glynn Cookson v Andy Murray (Alt).
And to give the Mid Cheshire players time to hotfoot it back to Northwich, the Mid Cheshire v Heavy Woollens (West Yorks) National Federation League match at Farmers Arms has been delayed until 3pm.
The Winningtons seek glory together in the Norley Pairs finals at Winsford Cons on Saturday (6pm), the draw being R Jamieson & N Dolby (Del) v Winningtons, K Duncalf & S Field (BT) v J Cornes & P Drink-water (MB).
The Junior Merit at Stockport CC (1pm) features: 1st round - Michael Yearsley (CP) v Ryan Sandham (Lloyds), Thomas Clare (CP) v Scott Smith (Offerton); 2nd round - Matt Hamman (CP) v Lee Lynch (Cwt), Craig Shaw (CP) v Russell Seymour (Vauxhalls).
* Wharton Cons and Frod-sham Red Lion carry the Mid Cheshire League banner into the Brunner Cup quarter finals.
Cons beat Victoria 220-205 and Red Lion defeated Heswall 208-174, but Winnington Park crashed out 230-205 to Tixall.
Saturday's Cheshire De Knoop Cup 3rd round ties include: Red Lion v Nursery (at Victory Hall), Poynton Sports v Wharton Cons (Congleton Park), Victoria Stockport v Castle Pte (Railway Mobberley), Comberbach v Grange (Pavilions).
* Mid Cheshire Ladies Team Knockout 2nd round results: Goostrey 224 Haslington 208; Hazel Pear A 195 Barnton CC A 165; Winnington B 221 Hartford B 191; Farmers Arms 239 Moulton 242; Good Companions B 199 Hartford A 223; Davenham B 231 Rode Heath 200; Castle Pte 210 Wharton Rec 190; Wharton Cons 215 Bunbury 117.
Quarter final draw, June 24: Goostrey v Hazel Pear A (BW), Winnington B v Moulton (Me), Hartford A v Davenham B (BT), Castle A v Wharton Cons (WP3).