THERE'S a dogfight going on between Christleton and Birkenhead Park for the Murray Smith Accountants Cheshire County League second division title, just one point separating them with three games left.
Tomorrow Birkenhead host struggling Timperley and the impetus is with them, their last six results reading WDDDWD with a cache of 108 points and while Christleton have registered an apparently more impressive DDWWWW, they have experienced some narrow escapes and collected only 99 points from those six games.
Viv Stenhouse is delighted with the way things have progressed in her first year as Birkenhead secretary.
"The team was relegated last season and everyone was down in the dumps, but our skipper David Smith has put his heart and soul into things and the club revival has been complete with the 2nd XI already promoted, which means we are also top of the aggregate table," says the mother of 17-year-old all-rounder Chris, one of the finds of the season.
Park also owe a debt to their highly consistent Aussie left-hander Damon Livermore, who has amassed 1,190 runs includ-ing 98, 111, 128no, 81, 57no and 143no in his last six innings.
Christleton skipper Jim Gillson, meanwhile, admits his team will have a hard task to finish above Park:
"We had a tremendous start to the season with five straight wins and while we've gone off the boil a bit, we've still lost only one game," he points out. Gillson's team tomorrow go to hard-to-beat Cheadle.
In their final two games, Birkenhead are away to Sale, then at home to Mobberley, while Christleton host both Bredbury and Stockport Georgians. It will be tight.
At the foot of the table, Marple are now 22 points adrift and firm candidates for the drop into the Meller Braggins League, a sad prospect for one of the league's founder members in 1975. They will be accompanied by one of Mobberley, Sale, Timperley, Bredbury or Tattenhall.
In Division One, pace-setters Poynton and Widnes can both clinch promotion to the ECB Premier League tomorrow if they gain maximum points at Upton and at home to Cheadle Hulme respectively. The only other club in the reckoning are Toft, now 55 points adrift.
This time last season, Poynton were running away with the second sivision title and they are favourites to complete a remarkable double by going up again as champions, although they will not find it easy at Upton, where Nick Rivett's side relish a challenge. Widnes should account for Cheadle Hulme at Beaconsfield Road, however, then look forward to their two final games at Congleton and at home to Brooklands.
At the bottom, it's either Warrington or Grappenhall who will accompany Heaton Mersey in the drop. Three points separate the rivals, Grappenhall having the edge with a home match against doomed Mersey tomorrow while Warrington take on Brook-lands at nearby Walton Lea.
After that, Warrington wind up with Heaton Mersey away and Poynton at home, while Grappenhall have Poynton away and Alsager at home.
Umpires appointments secretary Jon Hacking has pulled off a minor miracle by finding two officials to stand in all 18 fixtures tomorrow, despite many of his regular panel members being unavailable or on holiday.