THE system of annual promotion and relegation between the second division of the Murray Smith Accountants Cheshire County League and the first division of the Meller Braggins Cheshire League has been working well for three seasons, with Irby (2001), Bredbury and Christleton (2002) and Bollington and Tattenhall (2003) all having come up on merit and helped to enrich standards at the higher level.
Irby have done well both last season and this and currently lie third with a good chance of further enhancement.
Bredbury have integrated satisfactorily and have become noted for some attractive, high-scoring cricket.
Christleton have fared even better and currently stand 16 points clear at the top of Division Two.
Bollington have also taken to the County League scene like a duck to water and last weekend put up the highest divisional score on record with 318-5.
Perhaps the odd club out are Tattenhall, who having been relegated in 2001, bounced back at the end of last season and have found the going so hard that they foot the table on level points with Sale.
Among the clubs bidding to come up from the Cheshire League are Middlewich, Weaverham, Hale Barns and Mere, all of whom have already had their facilities inspected by the County League's Grounds chairman John Bygate.
All have received favourable reports, with the exception of Mere, who have been given a list of work which needs doing on their otherwise attractive ground situated between Knutsford and Warrington.
Bygate said: "It's two up and two down between the leagues and we hope to keep the present pyramid system going, which gives even the most modest village club the opportunity to rise to the top."
Division Two match of the day tomorrow is between Irby and second-placed Birkenhead Park at Mill Hill Road, when home skipper Dave Newman will be hoping to throw off a recent form hiccup.
This has coincided with the absence following an operation of his brother Mike, a high-scoring batsman, who has been sorely missed.
Park, on the other hand, have gone from strength to strength in recent weeks and have won six out of eight with Aussie batsman Damon Livermore scoring runs galore.
Christleton should maintain their lead as they host modest Mobberley, but Tattenhall have a difficult task at Bredbury.
Up in Division One, the best game is between Widnes (second) and fast improving Winnington Park, one place behind them.
Park have won their last two games by 10 and nine wickets respectively. Widnes have just lost two league games, yet thrashed Premier side Didsbury in the Fred Graham Cup on Sunday, so Andy
Woods' men will be up for this one.
Leaders by 12 points, Poynton travel to Brooklands, one of four clubs fighting to avoid relegation.
Two of the others are neighbours Warrington and Grappenhall who meet at Walton Lea in what should be a real dog fight.
Hoping to emulate their fine victory over Widnes last weekend, fourth-placed Upton go to Toft one place below them for an attractive fixture at Booths Park. The League enter their third group game in the North-West Colts Trophy against Ribblesdale League at Warrington on Sunday with a 100 per cent record and need to win to qualify for the semi-finals.
The team is: Martyn Knight (capt, Hyde), Paul Allen (Winnington Park), Ray Doyle (Nantwich), David Madden (Brooklands), Chris Stowell-Smith, Lee Dixon, Mark Rowlands (Upton), Farez Shaikh (Cheadle), Andy Roberts (Grappenhall), Chris Stenhouse (Birkenhead Park), Dave Millingan (Neston).