THERE didn't seem much chance of cricket being played on Saturday, but Castrol seconds still travelled the short distance up the M56 to Stretton to try and get the top-of-the-table clash on.
With news filtering through that lead-ers Northwich had their game washed out, work started in earnest to dry the outfield and square to get a game on.
Castrol skipper Gordon Hodgson won the toss for the second week on the bounce and elected to field.
Stretton's innings started very slowly with them only scoring 27 off their first 16 overs.
Mike Piercy (0-34) and Mike Buckley (4-48) kept things tight but couldn't find a breakthrough.
Hodgson (2-17) replaced Piercy and picked up the first wicket with his third ball of the match, leg stump.
Delaney (45) joined Hamson (23) and they ticked the board over to 59 off 27 overs, but when Hamson fell caught behind by Evans off Hodgson, this seemed to be the kick-start Stretton needed to accelerate the scoring.
Aldcroft (0-21) replaced Buckley but Nesbit got after the spinner, hitting one massive six and three boundaries to use his feet to great effect.
With Stretton sitting on 117-2 off 36 overs, Castrol needed a breakthrough. Buckley was brought on again and in his second over of the new spell, he bowled Delaney through the gate and in the next over he accounted for the dangerous looking Nesbit (24) courtesy of a great catch by Aldcroft. Mullins (23) started to open his shoulders and hit three big fours, but Buckley bowled him with a devil of a delivery. Stretton finished on 155-6.
Castrol started steadily with Walters and Evans putting on 35 for the first wicket. Things were going well but Jones (1-20) bowled Walters (11) around his legs with a straight one, and Milward (0) was bowled in the next over playing back to one that kept low.
Ferrier (10) joined Evans (36) at the crease and these two tried to get the Oilmen back on track with Evans hitting Nesbit for three successive fours, trying to take the game to the Stretton bowlers. But this was his undoing when he attempted to smash the spinner Mullins (Jr) over the top but played a very poor shot and was caught in the deep.
Powell (1) was next in and he consolidated well but was bowled by Mullins (4-13), and when Ferrier attempted a big shot and was bowled by Shaw (2-12), Castrol were in serious trouble.
Aldcroft (2) was caught and Mike Piercy (1) was run out in a terrible mix-up with the solid Tidman (14no).
Tidman was playing a brilliant innings, playing very straight and very composed in order to save the game. But when Walmsley (0) and Buckley (0) fell lbw to Mullins, it looked like Tidman would run out of partners. Yet after a couple of missed shots from number 11 Hodgson (0no), Castrol hung on for a draw and a vital four points.
Castrol firsts' game at home to Stretton was postponed due to rain, likewise Ellesmere Port's game at Wilmslow.