CHESTER County Officers notched their first win of the season in a hard-fought contest at Ellesmere Port.
The hosts scored consistently down the order as Officers struggled to establish any form of control. Steve Johnson was the pick of the bowling with 1-26 in 11 overs, while Graham Wilks, John Gilbody and Steve Jackson also took a wicket.
An interesting spell of leg-breaks by Riz Navid saw off top scorers Gareth Boys (42) and John Cheeseborough (40) as Port totalled a challenging 189-7.
Fortunately for Chester, Tony Hattersley returned for his first match of the season and settled down to dominate.
Opening partner Mike Clarke (17) started well and Ian Barlow (43) then settled in to forge a match-winning partnership of 92 with Hattersley.
Even so, 80 runs were required off the last 10 overs. But with wickets in hand, Officers cruised home as a powerful 34no by Gilbody rewarded Hattersley's dedication at the other end as he carried his bat for 82, including seven fours.
This was a timely win for Chester, but alarm bells are ringing after conceding 180 for the second consecutive week. Better out cricket will be required for the team to make progress this season.
The second string had an easy win against a woeful Port team who could muster only 76 in 40 overs.
Adam Grewargis was the Officers' hitman with a five-wicket haul, but Darren Griffiths imposed an early stranglehold with 11 overs for 11 runs.
Mike Rowlands polished off the runs with 38no, assisted by skipper Alan Roberts (20no) as Officers clinched the game in fine style by nine wickets.
Another high-scoring match involving Saughall ended all square on Saturday at league new boys Grange.
After winning the toss, it was no surprise that Grange elected to bat first and, a few hours later, had racked up a large total of 239-5 on a pitch which offered no help to Saughall's depleted bowling attack, and on a compact ground with small boundaries.
Mike Andrews (1-34) was handed the new ball and picked up an early wicket, but a century second-wicket partnership in quick time set the tone of the innings.
Taking the pace off the ball steadied the ship for Saughall, with Les Perkins (2-69) and Chris Andrews (3-92) bowling better than their figures suggested.
McCue top-scored with 98 for Grange before he was caught on the deep square-leg boundary by Ben Salisbury.
On a day in which bowling was a thankless task, Saughall were fantastic in the field, showing terrific enthusiasm and effort, with Andy Thomas and Bryan Rowland particularly standing out.
The declaration, when it eventually arrived, was hardly a carrot on a stick, yet some positive strokeplay from Martin Huxley (14) and some huge sixes from Paul Booth (20) and debutant Mike Rowson (26) helped Saughall maintain a good scoring rate in their reply.
At the other end of the scale, James Huxley was eventually dismissed for a painstaking 32, but some eye-catching shots from vice-captain Chris Andrews (44no) helped Saughall to a total of 171-6 as the match ended in a predictable draw. Grange capitalised from double batting points for the team batting first, to score 13 points, while Saughall notched seven.
In other games, Stretton travelled to Kingsley where the hosts posted 160-7 (J Ollier with 64no), and in reply, Stretton saved the game by hitting 137-8 (A Burden 4-23).
Bunbury posted 210-6 (M Ryder 107no) at Stalybridge in Division Two and the hosts drew the game, replying with 169-6.
A high-scoring game at Heaton Mersey saw the home side go to tea with 205-6 on the board (R Collins 3- 71), but this wasn't enough as Frodsham hit 209-4 in reply (B Large 81, R London 58, D Abram 45).
At Liscard in Division Three, the home side won by eight runs, posting 169-9 against Capenhurst who were dismissed for 161 in reply.