AFTER losing their first two games, Bowdon's chances of retaining the ECB Premier Division title in the Murray Smith Accountants Cheshire County League were looking doubtful.
But Bowdon leaped up from ninth place to second, within six points of leaders Alderley Edge, when they won by five wickets at Oxton in a programme ravaged by rain.
The Wirral team were bundled out for 122 - Marc Debrabender scored 52 - by a Bowdon attack which boasted the youth of England Under 15 international Chris Ashling, with 4-15, and the experience of Lancashire coach Gary Yates, who collected 3-22.
Bowdon struggled in reply, but a steady 35 from Yates helped his side home after a fine initial burst of 3-44 from paceman Andy Birley. Oxton skipper Neil Cross was taken to hospital with a damaged thumb, but was told it was only bad bruising.
Poynton recorded their first win at the expense of Alderley Edge, who remain in pole position, picking up eight batting points for reaching 227-9 declared, with Jon Usher 71, Alan Day 42. Jamie Maltman 4-62 and Steve Mobley 3-64.
Openers Brian Kingham (78) and Jason Rudge (72) put on 137 to set Poynton en route to a five wickets victory, which Barbadian Derwen Thompson clinched with a rapid unbeaten 37.
A close game was developing at Widnes where Christleton hit out to total 223-4 declared off only 44 overs, with 78 from Maroof Khan and 52 by former Liverpool University student Simon Ratcliffe. Rain had originally reduced Widnes' reply to 24 overs, but in the event they only managed to bat for only seven, reaching 64-1 with a lusty 27 not out from teenager James McCoy.
Neston had their game against Nantwich called off because of heavy rain at Park-gate when they had reached a useful-looking 164-4 off 47 overs, Phil Davis 49, Simon Marshall 45.
Chester Boughton Hall and Oulton Park also had to settle for seven points each when their game was abandoned in late afternoon with Park on 80-2 (Andy Robinson 32). This was in reply to 153-7 declared by Boughton Hall, with Eddie Roberts 52, Jack Yates 45, Stuart Eaton 4-36, Danny Jones 3-29.
Only 15 overs' play was possible in the Toft v Hyde game. The home side's 69-4 including an unbeaten 34 from allrounder Manoj Roy.