BARROW’S Division Two title ambitious suffered a blow on Saturday as they were put to the sword by table-topping Northwich.
Visiting Northwich won the toss and batted first against second-placed Barrow, who had no answer to Aussie ace Aiden Baker (98).
Northwich had initially found the bowling of Phil Johnson and Mal Barrow difficult, but Baker lifted them to 206-9.
Barrow’s batsman never really came to terms with the situation and failed to fire. They ended up being bowled out for just 84, but on a brighter note Barrow booked a semi-final showdown with Weaverham in the league’s Twenty20 Cup after beating Alvanley.
Barnton completed the double over CHESTER COUNTY OFFICERS with a 60-run home victory. There was not a lot between the sides but Barnton’s outstanding batsman , Coote, completed a magnificent 70 to ensure a competitive total of 165 (Steve Johnson 3-34).
Chester’s top order batsmen again failed to impress and could not provide a platform to chase the total. Cameo innings by Chris Wright and Ali Clark, both with 24, raised faint hopes, but Barnton were able to mop up the tail efficiently for 105 and claim 25 points.
In Division One, OAKMERE gathered further momentum with a win at Trafford MV. The nine-wicket victory came thanks to a superb 105-run partnership between skipper Ian Eaton and vice-captain Paul Yearsley.
Stewart Eaton (2-40) bowled throughout the innings, conceding just two runs per over, and Chris Nelson took 2-8 as the hosts finished on 145-7.
Yearsley (70no) and Ian Eaton (54no) were dominant throughout as second-placed Oakmere hit back decisively with 146-1.
MALPAS achieved a winning draw at Mere after being put into bat.
With the score on 104-5, the decision appeared justified but a fruitful sixth-wicket partnership between Jon Suckley (73) and Dave Hunt (40) added 76.
With only a few overs remaining, an unbroken eighth-wicket stand of 23 between teenagers Danny Lloyd and Phil Rowlandson pushed the score to 207-7.
Mark Goldsmith (3-36) and Hunt (2-28) ripped the heart out of the Mere top order, reducing the hosts to 19-4 and then first change Suckley claimed 2-18 to have Mere teetering on 67-7.
An unbroken ninth-wicket stand saved their bacon, enabling them to reach 113-8 for a losing draw.
CHOLMONDELEY’S batting let them down against Davenham, who posted 170-9 off 42 overs in a rain-reduced game (Ed Middleton 5-46, Richard Cooke 4-38).
Chums’ top order failed, stumbling to 16-4 and then 40-7 before Mark Johnson (34) and Stephen Egan (44) took the score to 100 before the curtain fell on 112.
The second half of the season began with disappointment for ALVANLEY as their visit to promotion-chasing Congleton ended in a heavy defeat.
Alvanley batted first on a crusty wicket and slipped from 43-1 to 43-4.
Chris Fletcher and Ian Brodie provided a mini-revival but they soon joined their colleagues in the pavilion to leave Alvanley reeling at 78-9. But Pete Pearce (17) and James Wheelahan (16) stuck in and gradually mastered the conditions to post a face-saving 42 stand for the last wicket as Alvanley closed on 120.
The wicket was a helpful one and Wheelahan managed to remove one Congleton opener before Pearce supplied the second breakthrough, making it 50-2.
Congleton lost two further wickets but ended up romping home by six wickets with 18 overs to spare.
In Division Three, KINGSLEY began the second half of the season in the same way as it began – with victory against Wistaston. Openers Russ Cook (86) and Mark Butcher (62no) paved the way for the emphatic win with a partnership of 133 as Kingsley posted 192-3 declared. Rob Massey (3-21) once again laid down his credentials as an opening bowler to be feared as Wistaston lost early wickets. With plenty of runs and overs to play with, skipper Neil Rowlands soon introduced spin at both ends and it was to prove his trump card. Off spinner Kieron Ollier claimed five victims to wrap up the win in 34 overs as the visitors were dismissed for 120.
BUNBURY enjoyed a home win over CH Ladybridge, who batted first and set 161-6. The hosts hit back with 166-3.