ALVANLEY’S long unbeaten run almost came to an end on Saturday as the Division One leaders fought out a nail-biting draw at Weaverham.
It is almost a year since Andy Bennion’s side last tasted defeat in Meller Braggins League combat – and few sides will have been as close as Weaverham were to beating them.
Alvanley lost what turned out to be a crucial toss and were asked to field first in sunny conditions.
Dave Shewring (3-70) and Robin Fisher (5-40) bowled exceptionally and kept the hosts in check at 99-4 and then 111-6.
But with 10 overs to go, Weaverham stepped up the pace and finished with a competitive total of 173ao.
In reply, Alvanley started reasonably well – reaching 76-2 – before losing Mark Szymura (31) and Jack Yates (24).
An alarming collapse then saw five wickets tumble for seven runs, leaving Alvanley staring at almost certain defeat. But last pair Kenny Roberts (8no) and Lee Ainsworth (10no) dug in for the final 11 overs, salvaging a draw with 113-9.
The results meant second-placed OAKMERE, home winners over Ashley, made up ground on Alvanley.
Asked to bowl first, Oakmere’s Sam Catling (4-57) ripped through the Ashley top order and only some lusty late blows in the final over carried the away side to 148-9.
In reply, Oakmere recovered from the early loss of Dan Wood (0) to reach a winning 151-6, former captains Paul Yearsley (43) and Ian Eaton (75) leading them home.
In Division Two, KINGSLEY drew at home to Mere.
Some lacklustre fielding by the hosts – combined with the short boundaries, sunshine, a good wicket and some fine batting – threatened to take Mere's score well over 200. But Kingsley took late wickets to stem the tide and restrict the visitors to 207-9.
Adrian Burden (6-61) claimed most of the wickets as the batsmen looked to play their shots.
Positive batting from Ben Pearce (48) and Travis Martin (35) got the run chase off to a solid start, and a fluent 28 from Mark Butcher kept the scoreboard ticking over.
But the run rate climbed in the latter overs and despite Ed Leneghan’s (21no) flashing blade, Kingsley could only draw as they finished on 187-7.
Elsewhere in Division Two, CHOLMONDELEY are well in touch with the promotion-chasing sides.
Fourth-placed Chum were convincing winners over visitors Barrow on Saturday.
The home side batted first and declared on 237-4.
Barrow, who are second-from-bottom but well within reach of mid-table security, were then skittled out for 90.