LAST season's second division champions Christleton started like a house on fire in the Murray Smith Accountants Cheshire County League's Division One with thumping victories against Urmston and Brooklands.
But Matt Parkinson's men were brought down to earth by a last ball six when they attempted to complete their hat-trick against Bramhall at Little Heath on Saturday.
There was nothing wrong with the Christleton batting, Maroof Khan blasting a personal best 96 and Simon Ratcliffe 45 as a rapid 184-4 was posted in just 27 overs. But Bramhall, who had also chalked up wins in their first games following relegation, proved ready for the challenge.
Cheshire skipper Andy Hall was in imperious form with an array of fours and sixes, but when he was out for 84, his side still needed six off the last ball at 179-6.
Nick Barlow was up to the task and lifted the ball over the boundary to complete an epic four-wicket victory.
The only other match started saw Toft unseated from pole position by Urmston in another rain-ruined game. Toft scored 127-8 in 34 overs, Matt Cornes 42 not out, Garry Saunders 6-59 and Urmston had reached 81-0.
Another club demoted last season setting a fierce pace are Heaton Mersey, who have roared to the top of Division Two, although they were unable to force victory in a rainreduced game against Bollington at Oakley Villas.
South African all-rounder Farhaan Behaardian from Cape Town University was the star of the show, scoring an unbeaten 117 in Mersey's 227-4, then taking 5-40 as Bolling-ton fell 10 runs short at 217-9 (Bob Hough 69, Kevin Waterhouse 49).
Cheadle made short work of Bredbury's usually strong batting line-up, reducing them from 65-2 to 84 all out at Kingway, Dave Dooler 6-26, Peter Manser 4-35.
Richard Nicholson clipped a brisk 39 not out as Cheadle coasted to a nine-wicket win in 15 overs.
Up from the Cheshire League, newcomers Middlewich are proving their worth and they did well to earn a draw at Congleton after the powerful south Cheshire batsmen had hammered 204-5, Rowan Kitton 60. With 71 not out by Steve Parry plus 57 from Brian Bates, Middlewich replied with a spirited score of 197-6.