CASTROL faced top-of-the-table Over Peover in the Meller Brag-gins League with skipper Mark Evans returning after a holiday in the Galapagos Islands.

Mark Ward was brought in for the unavailable Steve Aldcroft.

After some confusion over the toss, Peover chose to bat first and Castrol's Damian Walters (2-49) and Nishan Bhandary (1-42) bowled with excellent line and length.

In the field all luck deserted the visitors however and Peover scored runs for fun behind the wicket with a number of balls that should have found safe hands.

Mike Garvey replaced Bhandary but while he kept the runs down he failed to take a wicket. For Peover Tucker and Hatfield began to dominate.

Walters and Bhandary finally made inroads when Hatfield played his first poor shot of the innings and was caught by Caulfield at wide mid for 101. Peover eventually closed on 225-4 with Bones (20no) and Ingarjiola (10no).

Castrol's chase began badly with Evans, restored to number one, out for 14 and Paul Benbow out for seven.

Flanagan (32) and Bhandary (24) steadied the ship before Bhandary tickled a full toss to mid-wicket for a simple catch.

Flanagan then top-edged a slow full toss via his chin to slips for his wicket and Caulfield and Garvey were left to try to salvage as many batting points as possible as any chance of a win had slipped away.

Andy and Damien Walters eventually found themselves scoring the vital runs that got Castrol two batting points, Andy finishing on 2no and Damien on 4no as Castrol closed on 151-8.

Skipper Evans said: 'We didn't bowl that badly today and with a little more luck could have had more of an impact on the game.

'Peover controlled the game from ball one with a magnificent century from their Aussie. Credit to our guys, heads didn't drop as you might have expected and we kept plugging away.

'Once again we didn't get the start we needed but we didn't capitulate like we have done in recent matches. I said a couple of weeks ago that the four games against Stretton, Offerton, Peover and Old Parks would define our season we have performed well having lost one, drawn one and won one. Parks on Saturday is a big game and with 10 to play, a top-five finish must be our goal.' nIn the Cheshire Alliance Ellesmere Port drew with Barclays Radbroke Hall but the result has left them in dire straits. Before the weekend, Port were in touch with the leaders and had a small gap over the teams below them.

But a win for Norbury as well as big wins for some of the top sides has left them deeply entrenched in a relegation battle.

With their injury crisis clearing up - only Chris Gattrell is still out with a broken thumb - Port travelled to Rad-broke Hall where the hosts batted first. Free-scoring batsman Les Forsyth posted 165 as the home side raced to 307 for 3.

In reply, Ellesmere Port reached a creditable 201 for 7 wickets with Andy Sayers top-scoring with 49, Gareth Boys running 37 and skipper Phil Ashton, who has struggled for runs this campaign, registering 31. For Radbroke Hall Shanti Bhardwa took five wickets for 54.

'We are in trouble in the league but we have to continue to be positive,' said Phil. 'We have started to get runs and we are looking better.

'Our injured players are returning and if we string a couple of wins together, particularly if we can get maximum points in a fixture, our position will improve considerably.

'We play Norbury this weekend and while it won't be easy, we need to get a result there to kick start our season.'