WINNINGTON Park, after sinking deeper and deeper into relegation trouble, suddenly gave themselves a chance of survival in the County League with a dramatic win at Marple.
However, they could still be swapping places with Oakmere who moved nearer promotion from the Cheshire League, even though they only drew.
Weaverham thrashed Northwich and Winsford easily beat Barnton in the Division Two derbies.
Nantwich 207Oulton Park 208-3
AFTER missing out on what would have been their fourth successive title Oulton ended Nantwich’s hopes too.
Nathan Dumelow (4-53) and Craig Williamson (4-65) kept Nantwich within reach and Ben Spendlove (66), Louis Bentley (56) and Danny Leech (50no) put Oulton in cruise control.
Oulton 2nds, fighting for their Division One lives, were bowled out for 169 (Andy Mills 46, Roger Thompson 39, Steve Yates 22) by Birkenhead Park, who coasted to victory with 20 overs to spare. )
Marple 145ao Winnington Park 147-9
SKIPPER Dave Hine opted to field first and was vindicated when Jamie Cowell took a wicket first ball.
Marple staggered from 18-3 to 45-4 (Mike Atherton 4-43, Tom Pilling 3-40) before gaining some respectability, but they were always within reach. Just.
Park were hardly any happier at the crease initially. They were 14-3 and 79-8 and fearing another defeat and certain relegation.
But then some sensible batting by Shaun O’Neill and Craig Walsh added an invaluable 58 partnership and took Winnington to the brink of victory.
It was then that Walsh fell and, to add to the drama, O’Neill was dropped with eight needed.
The tension was broken by Cowell who hit two fours to keep Park in with a chance of survival.
On a damp wicket at the Rec, Winnington 2nds hit 168ao (Jason Hayes 36, Kedar Dhopate 32, Greg McKeown 30) against Marple.
Marple were bowled out for 159, Keith Jones (4-16) and Ian Connor (3-26) the heroes.
MELLER BRAGGINS CHESHIRE LEAGUE
Cholmondeley 147-8 Oakmere 178-8dec
OAKMERE moved much closer to promotion, not so much by virtue of their draw but because rivals Congleton were beaten.
Paul Yearsley (47) got the Oakmere innings off to a solid start and Stewart Eaton (52) carried the baton later on.
Eaton (1-14) struck with the very first ball before suffering a hamstring injury. An all-spin attack of Pete Hutchinson (2-50 from 17 overs) and Nick Guest (2-30) then followed before Craig Phelan (2-28) produced a fiery spell which saw vital catches go down late on, but Cholmondeley, resigned to relegation, played out time.
Phil Nelson starred with ball and bat as Oakmere 2nds overcome Cholmondeley 2nds at Overdale Lane. The visitors were bowled out for 122 (Nelson 7-57) and Oakmere made 123-3 (Nelson 43).
Malpas 110-2 Davenham 108ao
DAVENHAM were bowled out in 31.1 overs and Malpas needed only 22 overs to overhaul them.
Northwich 73ao Weaverham 149ao
WEAVERHAM skipper Rob McMillan took 8-32 to destroy the fragile Northwich batting and catapult his side into the title chase.
But it is a worrying time for Northwich who collapsed for the second week running to a total below 100 and they have largely squandered a 40-point lead.
Dave Pinnington (38) and Greg Airns (27) dominated the ineffectual Northwich pace attack and proved mainstays for Weaverham as spinners Stuart Hayes (5-32) and Matt Jamieson (4-49) brought the scoring in check.
Only Martyn East (43) showed determination to reach double figures as the home wickets tumbled after tea. The other two Northwich wickets fell to Chris Hemmings, both caught in the slips by the man of the day – Rob McMillan, who bowled 19 overs to record eight maidens in his eight-wicket haul.
Northwich 2nds finished in the rain as winners. They dismissed Runcorn for 108 (Mike Whitehead 4-30, Craig Douglas 2-6, Matt Lightburn 2-12) and Northwich hit the target at 109-4, Lee Evans making light of the incessant rain for 60.
Kenny Roberts produced his best figure of the season, 6-69 off 19 overs, as Weaverham 2nds, 195-7, beat Alvanley, 194-9dec.
Neil Gerrard (54) and Alex Nash (35) were Weaverham’s main run- getters.
Winsford 200-7dec Barnton 126ao
WINSFORD beat and leapfrogged Barnton. They put themselves into mid-table safety and caused Barnton some relegation doubts.
Barnton struck early, removing Andy Cooper, but Martin Barrett and Colin Dean upped the tempo and took the score to 87.
Dean (33) became the first of Paul Coot’s three victims, Barratt (50) the second.
Skipper Barry Crellin hit a fine undefeated 41 including two huge sixes and Gareth Whitney (21) also lofted the last two balls over the boundary. The last five overs yielded 58 runs.
Andy Beswick (3-32), Crellin (2-9), James Tierney (2-24) and Dave Tierney (2-25) took Barnton apart with Coot (33) the only batsman proving stubborn.
CHESHIRE BS CHESHIRE ALLIANCE
Hartford 172-7 Knutsford 87-3 rsp
HARTFORD were frustrated by the weather for the second week running, with rain denying them the chance of another victory to keep them in touch with the promotion race.
They elected to bat and James Hodkinson (23) made a brisk start before Matt Shinkfield scored a dashing 51. Martin Pickup played the anchor, contributing 29 runs, before Rob Whittle chipped in with a cameo 26 in the final overs.
Rob Stimson struck with a couple of early wickets, but Hartford did not get the chance to complete the task.