A PIVOTAL day in the race for the County League title saw Macclesfield strengthen their grip on top spot.

Chester Boughton Hall lost along with fellow championship chasers Oxton and Hyde – allowing Macc to stretch their lead at the summit with a comprehensive victory over Alderley Edge.

Hall were beaten at mid-table Marple after being restricted to 174-9 (Kumar Sarna 39, Mark Rowland 30). The damage was done by Jimmy Ormond and Joe Cash, both with 3-36.

The Marple batsmen also struggled, but a sound 40 from Andy McGuinness, the highest individual score of the match, saw them home.

Hall will take encouragement from some fine bowling by two of their teenage spinners – Jack Williams (6-82) and Harry Killoran, who celebrated his 15th birthday with 2-39.

Elsewhere, NESTON were victorious in their Wirral derby against Oxton.

The Parkgate hosts posted 211-8, David Hurst (86) and John Creek (52) enjoying a third-wicket partnership of 127. The Oxton innings collapsed to 202 all out (Paul Stimson 3-29, Chris Finegan 3-42).

Hyde host Elworth in a replayed Cheshire Cup semi-final on Sunday.

The winners will be at home to Chester Boughton Hall in the final a week later.