CHESTER County Officers took full advantage of beating the weather on Saturday as a win at Northwich sent them back to the top of Division Three.

Games involving rivals Castrol and Wirral fell victim to the wet conditions, while a defeat for Chelford at CH Ladybridge also spelled good news for CCO.

Asked to bat first, Chester's batsmen applied themselves well and Tony Hattersley (44) was their rock, batting for two hours in partnership with Mike Pownall (14) and Steve Holland (12) to ensure a solid platform for a stunning knock of 33 from Adam Gewargis, who smashed two sixes and took Officers up to a competitive score of 140.

Northwich tried to take the game by the scruff of the neck with some aggressive batting but the policy backfired as they were reduced to 58-7 by the 16th over, with Andy Barlow taking six wickets.

A burst from skipper Steve Johnson (2-7) saw Northwich all out for 117.

In Division One, ALVANLEY captain Mark Szymura shocked the majority of players on both sides by choosing to bat first on a damp track with a wet outfield at CHOLMONDELEY.

It looked a bad decision as Alvanley took 35 overs to get to 70-4. But then Chris Fletcher (28) guided the middle and lower order to respectability as Alvanley reached 122-9 off 45 overs. For Chums, Neil Thompson took 4-22, Guy Ford 2-31 and Rich Cooke 2-22.

An early shower helped the Cholmondeley openers after tea as the ball skidded onto the bat and they raced to 32 off the first six overs.

But the hosts then began to collapse, going from 39-2 to 47-3 and 94-9.

James Rowlinson and Pete Pearce bowled with incredible economy to strangle the scoring of runs, with Rowlinson finishing with figures of 4-21 off 16 overs as Chums were all out for 107.

The result saw Alvanley ease themselves out of the relegation zone.

MALPAS were involved in a last-over thriller at Davenham, which ended up with both sides tied on 160 runs apiece.

Electing to bat on a damp wicket, Malpas were in early trouble at 19-2 but a third wicket stand of 105 between Keith Rickett (77) and James Crichton (40) steadied the ship. The seaming ball then took its toll and the innings closed on 160.

Davenham got away to a solid start in reply and were 90-1 in the 23rd over.

Medium pacer Dave Hunt tore through the middle order to finish with 4-69 from 22 overs.

Needing two to win with three wickets in hand, it looked game, set and match to Davenham.

Skipper Jon Suckley (4-20) gave away a single off the first ball to make matters worse. The next delivery produced a wicket followed by three dot balls - and then Suckley bagged a wicket with his final delivery to salvage a share of the spoils.

In Division Two, BARROW got the better of hosts Pott Shrigley after an hour's delay for rain.

Barrow decided to bowl first in the damp conditions and the hosts' batsmen were soon troubled by the accuracy of Matt Morris and Sam Walker.

Wickets fell at regular intervals but the Shrigley batsman managed to accumulate a challenging score, reaching 169 all out in the 43rd over, Peta Balac taking four wickets.

In reply, Barrow lost their two openers with only 30 on the board but a good innings of 32 from the in-form Matt Morris helped the cause.

Then Nick Bell stepped forward to blast his way to an unbeaten 70 as Barrow posted a winning 170-4.