NESTON lost for the second successive week despite posting a useful 218-9 at Alderley Edge, where Simon Marshall hit 85.
Steve O'Shaughnessey and Jonathan Usher each scored 49 and Mark Currie 45 as Alderley won with four wickets in hand, leg-spinner Dave Jones proving too expensive at 3-98.
Nantwich stay third after just failing in a spirited bid to win a rain-ruined game at Didsbury, who filled all 60 overs to post 161-7 (Richard Battye 72 not out, Barrington Browne 4-70).
A long interruption left the Dabbers with only 20 overs but they scored rapidly to finish two tantalising runs short of victory at 160-6 (Jeff Maynard 57, Paul Hampshire 41, Andy Newton 35 not out, including 10 off the last four balls).
A fine all-round performance by Neil Cross was the highlight of Oxton's 59-run victory at bottom club Bramhall, who seem doomed to relegation. Cross top-scored with 65 in Oxton's 168 (Andy Birley 4-41), then snaffled 5-21 to dismiss Bramhall for 109.
Hyde beat Macclesf ield by four wickets in a lowscoring game at Werneth Low. The visitors were dismissed for 129, former Blackpool professional Rudra Singh taking 4-29 and Lancashire Academy spinner Danny Berry 3-43. Skipper John Ashley's cameo 32 piloted Hyde home. Poynton won by three wickets at Brooklands to move 25 points clear in Division One. Brooklands declared at 192-7, a target Poynton reached with five balls to spare, the in-form Brian Kingham knocking 61.
The Widnes v Winnington Park game was ruined by rain after Park posted 223-5 (Tom Allan 90, David Leech 53). Widnes had got to 100-2 off 32 overs, with Steve Titchard and Adam Landry both on 30 not out.
Heaton Mersey moved off the bottom with a smart seven-wicket win at Cheadle Hulme, whom they dismissed for 182 (Ewan McCray 91). Johnny Rashid hit 50 and Nick Cantello 47 in Mersey's successful response.
Grappenhall replace them at the bottom after a nine-wicket thrashing at Warrington. Malcolm Agar (71 not out) and David Baxter (68) helped the home side easily reach Grappenhall's 161-8 (Ian Jackson 54 not out, Lewis Nunn 4-57).
Toft beat Upton by six wickets at Booths Park, the winning runs a huge six by Richard Hardstaff which also brought up his 50, while brother Simon scored 59. Upton set a target of 155-9 (Manoj Roy 5-57).
Alsager won the South Cheshire derby at Congleton by 12 runs, thanks to New Zealander Tim Wilson's 83 and 5-34 from Steve Woolley.
Birkenhead Park became favourites to join Christleton in promotion from Division Two with a 10-wicket win at Irby, whom they sent back for 78 (Chris Stenhouse 3-16, John Costain 3-2). Damon Livermore was not out with 57 in Park's reply, which takes him to 797 runs and his club 43 points clear of third-placed Bollington, held to a draw at Cheadle.
Timperley drew at Stockport Georgians and Marple were beaten by eight wickets at home by Sale, for whom K Mohammed hit an unbeaten 108.