ALVANLEY secured a dramatic win over Mere on Saturday to maintain their position in the top half of Division One.
Mere were asked to bat first on a damp Alvanley track and soon lost two wickets to the excellent James Wheelahan.
Pete Pearce (2-39) wheedled out two important wickets but it was Wheelahan (7-53) who ensured a moderate total with a devastating late burst as Mere subsided to 148ao.
In Alvanley’s reply, Andy Bennion departed early but then a stand of 51 between Mark Szymura (34) and Simon Gee (39) put their noses in front.
A collapse put Alvanley on the back foot but they were rescued by youngsters Nick Geddis, who kept a cool head for a clever 10no, and Chris Charles.
The 17-year-old blasted 23 off just 12 balls to take Alvanley to victory with three wickets and four balls to spare, sparking jubilant celebrations from his team-mates.
OAKMERE’S batsmen failed to get to grips with Brooklands’ bowling attack and the defeat dented their promotion ambitions.
Paul Yearsley (41) and Paul Hutchinson (21) gave them a 42-run opening stand, but Oakmere failed to establish a momentum and ended on 155-9.
Another marathon spell from Stewart Eaton (1-52 in 17 overs) restricted the Brooklands’ scoring rate and wickets from Pete Hutchinson (2-25) caused fleeting concern at best among the likely title winners, who posted 159-4.
MALPAS lost at home by 72 runs to Ashley, who posted a combative total of 247-6 (Adrian Stubbs 3-67, Mark Goldsmith 2-51).
Malpas lost both openers early on but Adrian Stubbs (47) struck up a good partnership with Madusanka, who made a classy 50 on debut.
After they had gone, the innings wilted away and they were all out for 175 with just two more overs to survive.
CHOLMONDELEY were beaten by seven wickets by third-placed Congleton.
Put in, Cholmondeley were 13-4 off six overs before Ed Middleton (44) and Mark Jones (21) enabled the side to scrape to 81ao.
Congleton were 44-3 but coasted home without further trouble.
In Division Two, CHESTER COUNTY OFFICERS suffered another defeat when local rivals BARROW achieved a comfortable six-wicket win.
Chester started well with a new opening partnership of Ian Rule (36) and Tony Hattersley. After setting up a great platform of 72, though, the dismissal of Rule led to a collapse. Ian Barlow (35) then rescued the innings, and a decent score was still possible until Hattersley’s patient knock of 46 ended and the tail went down with a whimper to leave the score an inadequate 147. Marlon Barclay and Brett Balac took four wickets each.
The bowlers did a great job after tea and pinned Barrow down, but when the third wicket fell at 53 in 24 overs, Barrow’s star bowlers from earlier came together to take the game by the scruff of the neck. Barclay (53no) and Balac (54) applied the bat and added 83 in 14 overs to reach 148-4.
In Division Three, KINGSLEY lost to Cheadle Hulme Ladybridge in the last over of a game that was reduced to 31 overs-a-side due to time needed to mop up the sodden outfield. Put into bat, all-rounder Matt Ollier got Kingsley’s scoreboard moving with a well-crafted 30 before Chris Dolan took advantage of the short boundaries to post his maiden half century for the first XI. Dolan, on the day before his 17th birthday, smashed six sixes as he took Kingsley to what they thought would be an unassailable 166-8.
Cheadle Hulme showed they had no intention of batting out for the draw as their openers began to pepper the ropes from the start. A late, inspired spell from Ollier (4-17) threatened to win the game for Kingsley but it was not to be as the tail scored the boundary they needed for victory off the fourth ball of Adrian Burden’s (3-50) last over.
Mid-table BUNBURY were no match for third-placed Stretton, who batted first and posted 173-5. Bunbury were then skittled out for 78.