CHESTER Boughton Hall pulled off a thrilling last-ball victory amid the gathering gloom at Hyde on Saturday evening, keeping the title race well and truly alive going into this weekend’s crunch trip to Nantwich.

The gap between table-topping Nantwich and Boughton Hall is now down to just five points after the Dabbers’ clash with basement side Grappenhall was washed out.

Rather than banking the 25 points they had been expected to take on Saturday, Nantwich collected just seven – and their misery was compounded by the news that Chester had edged to a win at third-placed Hyde.

An enthralling, rain-affected encounter at Werneth Low ended with tail-ender Ollie Thompson clipping James Duffy for four to claim a stunning victory.

Steve Ogilby was Chester’s man of the match with a superb 99 as the visitors chased down Hyde’s 202-3 off just 28 overs. Hyde skipper Duffy had earlier thrashed 70 off the Chester attack as Warren Goodwin took 3-22.

After a day of dodging rain showers, darkness was descending by the time Chester went into the final over needing nine to win.

Ed Roberts was bowled from the first ball but Boughton Hall recovered and Thompson’s boundary from the final ball of the match made the score 205-8, sparking jubilant scenes among the visitors’ players.

Hyde now look to be out of the title reckoning, meaning this Saturday’s match between Nantwich and Boughton Hall will have an enormous bearing on who wins the Premier Division title.

Elsewhere, NESTON enjoyed the upper hand in their Wirral derby against Oxton with a 17-11 points draw at Townfield Lane. Neston declared at 207-8 (David Hurst 55, Ben Williams 55) and Oxton responded with 173-9 (Chris Hackett 3-53).

OULTON PARK remain in 11th spot – second from bottom – after the cancellation of their game at Macclesfield due to the wet weather.

Boughton Hall 2nds battled hard to earn a home draw with Hyde, Glen Coppack top scoring with 79.

Chester 3rds were rained off while the 4ths managed 106 against Irby, who knocked off the required runs with five wickets down.

Chester Boughton Hall Deemons landed the Cheshire Women’s Knockout Cup for the fourth time in five years after a massive 95-run win over Romiley and Dinting.

Ali Cutler was player of the match, retiring undefeated on 25 and taking 2-9 with the ball.