OAKMERE and Northwich began the second half of the season by moving closer to higher standard cricket next summer.
Northwich tightened their grip on the Meller Braggins Cheshire League Division Two lead by walloping second-placed Barrow, who may find their position coming under scrutiny from Weaverham, newly risen to third.
Oakmere are chasing Brooklands in Division One, but are moving ahead of the rest and towards the County League after another Eaton Brothers-inspired victory.
RIGHT MOVE ABROAD COUNTY LEAGUE
ECB Premier Division
Oulton Park 243-8 Heaton Mersey 85-2 rsp
OULTON lost a little more ground with the weather to blame.
Their on-form batsman Ben Spendlove smashed 120 and skipper Nathan Dumelow added 62 to set the standard for Mersey, who had started promisingly when rain intervened.
The 2nds’ clash reached a thrilling climax: Mersey 89-9 (Damien Barton 5-92, Alex Matthews 3-44), Oulton 192-9 (Mark Johnson 61, Roger Thompson 72, Steve Yates 25).
Winnington Park 180-9 Irby 181-3
STRUGGLING Winnington sensed an upset before optimism faded as Irby buckled down and won in 37 overs.
Park had recovered from 30-3, mainly through sensible batting by Tom Pilling (50) and Glinoj Cherian (37), and taken two early Irby wickets.
MELLER BRAGGINS CHESHIRE LEAGUE
Trafford MV 145-7dec Oakmere 146-1
OAKMERE gathered further momentum with a nine-wicket victory thanks to a superb 105- run partnership between skipper Ian Eaton and vice-captain Paul Yearsley.
Stewart Eaton (2-40) bowled throughout the innings, conceding just two runs per over, and Chris Nelson took 2-8.
Yearsley (70no) and Ian Eaton (54no) were dominant throughout.
Oakmere 2nds were in a winning position and then frustrated, scoring 179-8 (Pete Jones 39, Dan Wood 28, Parv Panesar 41) to Old Parkonians’ reply of 140-7 (Ed Gibson 3-28, Steve Percival 3-26).
Davenham 171-9dec Cholmondeley 112ao
DEAN Jackson was Davenham’s star. He took 5-53 off 15 overs and with Chris Latham returning 2-17 and Dave Ashley 3-18 the visitors could not live with further pressure after recovering from 26-6.
Earlier, Ashley and Phil Sharples (both 31) led a good batting effort.
Barnton 165-7dec Chester CO 105ao
BARNTON rejoined the promotion race.
Paul Coot (67) and Mike Cross (33) shared a stand of 77 and there was a late push from Neil Langham (28).
Langham with 4-38 and James Morgan 3-15 were beautifully efficient, so much so the last wicket fell seconds before the heavens opened.
Top-of-the-table Barnton 2nds bowled out Cheadle Hulme Ladybridge for 135 (Mark Wrench 4-48, Mark Bardsley 5-24). Roger Whitehouse (43), Keith Noden (33) and Mark Osborne (29no) got most of Barnton’s 137-6.
Barrow 84ao Northwich 206-9
AUSSIE Aiden Baker scored a stunning 98 and knocks came from Martyn East (21) and John O’Sullivan (27) in support.
Mike Brandon (2-19) produced hostile pace to make early inroads. But at 76-4 Barrow were still in the game until Stuart Hayes produced a mesmerising spell (5-8 off nine overs) to set up victory.
Northwich 2nds also strengthened their lead. John Price hit 96 and James Bunby 67 in 248-6, with title rivals Congleton having to hold out at 143-7 (Ant Shaw 3-37, Mike Whitehead 2-29, Pete Gibbon 2-18).
Lymm OP 151-7 Weaverham 211-6
OPENERS Steve Robertson and Gregg Airns (both 25) put on 52 for the first wicket to lay a solid base for Weaverham.
Steve Pinnington (42) and Rob Mcmillan (56) shared 89, moving the innings towards an imposing total and Jamie Allen chipped in 20.
James Ollier took 5-45 but Lymm batted for the draw.
Weaverham 137 Winsford 72: Steve Pinnington (a blistering 81) and Jamie Allen (27) outpowered Wins- ford to earn Weaverham a Twenty20 Cup semi-final against Barrow. Kenny Roberts took 3-14, Gordon Allen 2-11.
Weaverham 2nds 171-9 (Darren Falland 74, Phil Harris 29) lost to Lymm 2nds 173-8 (Brian Rogerson 3-32).
Wilmslow 95ao Winsford 210ao
MIKE Barrett hit seven boundaries and 31 to put Winsford in the mood.
But Colin Dean proved the perfect foil for Mike Clarke as they put on 80 in just 15 overs before Clarke perished for 71. James Dean (20) joined Colin (48) and they rattled up a further 40 in five overs and a challenging total was set.
Clarke completed a County Power man-of-the-match performance by taking 3-16 in seven overs. James Tierney spun out two and Craig Webb (3-2) wrapped up the Wilmslow innings and an important victory in the relegation battle.
CHESHIRE BUILDING SOCIETY CHESHIRE ALLIANCE
Hartford 117ao Holmes Chapel 118-4
HARTFORD stumbled to a humbling defeat against strugglers Holmes Chapel.
They were confident of a sizeable total, but were soon in trouble with some tight bowling and a wicket helpful to seamers.
James Hodgkinson top scored with 23, but with no sizeable partnerships, Hartford had a smallish total to defend.
Rob Stimpson struck with his first ball after tea and went on to collect 2-35, but Holmes Chapel had plenty of overs to reach their target. Hartford are now fifth.
Dean Jackson, Stephen Greaves (Davenham), Craig Williamson and Louis Bentley (Oulton Park) guested for Christleton in Sunday’s match against the England Deaf XI.
Christleton are skippered by Wins- ford-based former Winnington Park player Paul Allen, picked for the “Ashes series” against the Australian deaf team.
Christleton won, reaching a revised target of 158 after England scored 220 before heavy rain.
Oakmere Ladies, 105-3 (Jane Tarpey, Clair Waterhouse, Hayley Coutts all 20) beat Appleton 61-8 (Kate Gore 3-4, Nicola Heaton 2-6) in the Tytherington Club Cheshire Women’s League Twenty/20 Cup.