BOWLERS were on top at Sandbach on Saturday with all 20 wickets taken as Castrol seconds held out to secure a 31-run win.
For the first time this season, Castrol skipper Gordon Hodgson made his batsmen work, asking them to bat first on a damp-looking pitch.
Their innings got off to the worst possible start when stand-in opener Neil Powell (1) was run out in a mix-up.
Steve Jones (7) came in and joined Ian Evans (16) at the crease, and these two slowly got the scoreboard ticking over. But they were still struggling with the movement of the ball off the pitch.
Ian Evans went when he attempted to smash a full toss and was caught at mid-wicket off A Copenall (4-25).
In his next over, with the score on 62-3, Mal Ferrier was caught and bowled by a diving Copenall.
In his first game of the season, exciting youngster Ritchie Morrissey (MoM) joined Rupert Milward (58) at the crease and the pair set about giving Castrol a decent total to defend, putting on 54 in a wonderful fifth-wicket stand.
With the score on 116, Milward, who had just made his second 50 in as many games, was bowled by Gregson (2-30).
The big-hitting Alan Tidman joined Morrissey at the crease and another important 28-run partnership followed.
Morrissey was the next to fall, though mis-timing a drive through the covers falling for a well made 21.
Tidman then fell attempting a big shot for 18 while Buckley, Powell and Hodgson all went in quick succession, leaving Castrol on 157.
Ferrier (2-18) found the first breakthrough when he bowled Buschenfield (25) and when Olpin was caught for 21 offFlanagan (1-21),Castrol were dragging themselves back into the game. Mike Buckley (4-52) then came back on, bowling his spinners, and had Cole caught behind by Ian Evans, while Skinner and Smith were both bowled.
Tidman (1-8) then bowled Gregson and with the score on 91-6, Ian Evans produced a fine piece of keeping to run out Coppenhall for two.
Hodgson and Buckley wrapped the innings up as Sandbach closed on 136.