CREWE were made to pay for a brittle batting display as they suffered a seven-wicket reverse to Little Stoke on Saturday.
At the home of the Division One favourites, Crewe made life hard for themselves from the start. Openers Dave Green and Mark Hurst were both out for nought, while Tom Leese followed with just 14.
Professional Imran Khalid (5) also disappointed, but James Green (5) helped Tom Gower add 33 for the fifth wicket.
Gower went for a stylish 44 and was followed by some dogged resistance from Simon Banks (11) and David Hurst (9), but the visitors were all out for 119.
Gower gave Crewe a glimmer of hope by dismissing Stoke opener Rob Haydon (12) and professional Richard Harvey for a first ball duck, reducing them to 19-2.
But a fine partnership of 85 between Phil Walklate (56) and David Leese (40 not out) saw the hosts clinch victory with 120-3.
South African Murray Ranger's all-round display helped E LWO RT H get back to winning ways with a demolition job on Bignall End.
Visitors Bignall opted to bat first but were met by an in-form Foxes attack. Paul Crompton struck two early blows to leave Bignall at 18-2.
Professional Tahir Mughal and Simon Howle moved the score on to 43 when Ranger took his first of five wickets, removing Mughal with the help of wicketkeeper Tarek Alam. That sparked a collapse. No batsman got into double figures as they were all out for 89 (Ranger 5-38).
Elworth opener Pete Davies (31 not out) got in early and looked comfortable. And while Lee Morris (3) was quickly sent back to the pavilion, Ranger (49) looked unstoppable as he hit nine boundaries to help the Foxes to 92-1.
In Division Two, BETLEY'S target of 226-6d proved too much for hosts Eccleshall. Steve Brierley (63) and Gaz Singh (88no) contributed most to their side's score. The hosts were 207 all out, with Singh returning 4-70.
WESTON had to settle for a draw in a tense affair with Oulton. Batting first, Raj Kumar (121) continued his stunning form as Weston posted 252-8d. Oulton got close with 246-8 (Ben Harrington 3-63).
* Crewe stalwart Bernie Bishop scored his first century in more than 40 years for the club on Saturday.
His brilliant unbeaten 111, which included 20 boundaries, steered the 2nds to a crushing nine-wicket win over Little Stoke 2nds as Crewe hit 208-1 to pass the declared total of 204-8 with ease. Bishop was ably supported by Richard Wilson (56) and Mark Spencer (23no).
* Second team scores - Division One: Bignall End 147ao (T Harwood 4-14) Elworth 230-8d (A Thurston 53, N Morgan 43). Division Two: Oulton 242-6 (A Young 3-56) Weston 238ao (P Washington 98, D Keann 38).