OULTON PARK’S three-year, 61- match, unbeaten run came to an end at Chester Boughton Hall on Saturday.
Champions for the past three seasons, Oulton now find themselves in an unfamiliar sixth place, 43 points off the title pace being set by Alderley Edge.
Oulton looked likely winners before losing a fluctuating game.
Oakmere made further progress towards promotion to the County League and Northwich and Weaverham remain leading contenders to reach the Cheshire League First Division, Weaverham with the help of Mattie Bebbington, the third player to join them from Barnton since the winter.
RIGHT MOVE ABROAD COUNTY LEAGUE
Chester Boughton Hall 145ao Oulton Park 137ao
OULTON suffered a dramatic defeat, their first in the ECB Premiership since 2005.
Nathan Dumelow (4-26) and Craig Williamson (3-27) restricted Chester to a modest total. But Park’s top order, with the exception of Ben Spendlove (54), failed and at 88-7 they looked losers.
But tail-ender Chris Jones provided a twist, scoring a defiant 33 and taking Oulton to the verge of victory, but Trinidadian paceman Darren Cruikshank returned at 130-7 and dismissed the last three batsmen for seven runs.
Chester are due to host Oulton Park again shortly in the quarter-finals of the Fred Graham Twenty 20 Trophy – having knocked them out in the semi-final last season.
Oulton 2nds, fighting relegation from Division One, were beaten at home by Cheadle Hulme.
Roger Thompson (79) controlled the home innings and was supported by Mark Thompson (37), Matt Freedman (32) and Jimmy Guest (21) as Oulton reach 219-8.
Their visitors scraped home for the loss of seven wickets after Ben Kettle had taken 2-45 and Andy Mills 3-47.
Winnington Park 153ao Stockport Georgians 154ao
EXCELLENT fielding – two catches apiece for Phil Amietello and Mike Caldecott – and the bowling of especially Jamie Cowell (3-32) made sure Georgians never recovered from a 44-4 start.
But Winnington batsmen could not maintain the standard.
They slumped to 33-5 before being resuscitated by Tom Pilling.
They needed 41 from the last wicket partnership and Pilling found assistance from Cowell, so that 19 were required off the last three overs. All four outcomes were possible.
A Pilling four put Winnington needing two more for victory with two balls remaining. But Pilling (56) was given out lbw off the final delivery.
Only Ben Challoner (30) and Ian Johns (22) reached double figures as Park 2nds, 97ao, went down at Stockport 100-3.
MELLER BRAGGINS CHESHIRE LEAGUE
Ashley 118-9dec Oakmere 122-4
DOMINANT Oakmere finished the first half of the season in promotion form. Only another 11 matches to go...
Stewart Eaton (5-43 off 22 overs) and Nick Ball (2-28) made steady progress and Craig Phelan (2-28) picked up late wickets.
An opening stand of 54 between Paul Yearsley (33) and Paul Hutchinson (21) put Oakmere on their way with Ian Eaton (30) and Stewart Eaton (26) ensuring an early finish with some lusty blows.
Oakmere 2nds were frustrated by Ashley’s ninth-wicket pair at Overdale Lane.
Dan Wood hit 54 and Peter Jones 39 and at one time Oakmere looked set for a big total.
Their 163-7 would have been enough, but Ashley held out at 95-8 (Eddie Gibson 4-20).
Brooklands 190-9 Davenham 106-9
DISAPPOINTING Davenham at least avoided defeat.
Mike Kouris (5-49 off 10 overs) and Dean Jackson (1-24 off 12) were the pick of the Davenham bowlers.
Two early run outs (Steve McNicholl and Mark Greaves) followed by Dave Ashley being caught put Davenham on the back foot, but safety was just reached through Dave Holden (25) and James Loveridge (35).
Wilmslow 117 Weaverham 118-9
WEAVERHAM had to fight to keep their promotion challenge on track.
Allen Bell posted his best figures of the campaign, 5-38, Rob McMillan and Mattie Bebbington both returned 2-20.
Steve Robertson (24) and Gregg Ayrns (25) helped Weaverham towards their target but a collapse to 81-7 set nerves jangling, but Paul Lightfoot and Gordon Allen steered them home.
Weaverham 2nds lost at Lindow, who did well to reach 181ao against the on-form Kevin Douglas (5-50), Neil Gerrard (2-30) and Jon Turley (2-10).
Darren Falland (33), Dave Armstrong (30) and Alex Stitch (22) made up most of Weaverham’s 169ao
Over Peover 161ao Barnton 169-8dec
SKIPPER Steve Yarwood described Barnton’s win as “satisfying”.
Their all-round play pleased their leader: the fielding was excellent, they had batsmen on form – Mike Sambell 70, Phil Wingfield 56, Paul Coot 30 – and match-winning bowlers in Neil Langham (3-38) and Coot (4-24), who took over when Peover were 84-2 and needing 86 to win with 23 overs left.
“We battled well and played some excellent cricket,” added Yarwood.
Barrow 122-7 Winsford 120-8dec
WINSFORD made high flying Barrow fight hard.
Martin Barrett, Andy Cooper, Keiron Berrington and Mike Clarke (20) were the victims in Winsford’s 49-4 start. The situation was improved by Mark Dean (29) before the innings petered away.
The bowlers took wickets but could not force the issue. Andy Beswick (3-39) and James Tierney (2-29) were most successful with the ball.
Chester CO 115-8 Northwich 149ao
NORTHWICH were again frustrated by their inability to remove a side who showed no ambition.
The Northwich innings was built around Matthew Jamieson, who scored 66 as wickets tumbled about him.
After losing the first wicket to the hands of 15-year-old debutant Danny East off Mike Brandon (2-31), CCO dug in for the draw, losing two more men to each of spinners Stuart Hayes and Lee Evans.
Northwich 2nds 180-6 were comfortable against Cholmondeley, 115ao. Simon James (45), Peter Gibbon, Matt Lightburn (both 28no), John Price (25) and Craig Douglas (24) were the run-getters; Mike Whitehead (3-17), Gibbon (2-15) and Mark O’Neil (3-9) the wicket takers.
Skipper Dave Murphy led the 3rds to victory, taking 5-17. Miles Watson chipped in 2-22 and Trinity were all out for 62. Stuart Plant top scored with 28 in Northwich’s 63-3.
Northwich 4ths 176ao (Craig Douglas 40, Danny East 36, Steve Riley 36, Stuart Plant 34) beat Mobberley 3rds 36ao (Plant 4-1, Miles Watson 3-12, Douglas 2-16).
CHESHIRE BUILDING SOCIETY CHESHIRE ALLIANCE
Hartford 138-2 Appleton 137ao
HARTFORD bounced back from defeat to record a comfortable win.
Though missing a few players, they were happy to bowl first on a slightly damp pitch. Appleton were soon 73-1 before almost as quickly losing wickets to Josh Spruce (5-51) and Jake Farrow (3-29).
James Hodgkinson took advantage of being promoted to opener, playing shots all round the park and sharing a 101 second-wicket partnership with Gaz Stokes (27) before passing the victory target. Hodgkinson, 16, finished on 92 not out.