ALVANLEY cashed in on Oakmere’s misfortune on Saturday to open up an imposing 43-point advantage at the top of Division One.

While Andy Bennion’s side were busy winning a fascinating, low-scoring clash at Birkenhead Park, second-placed Oakmere were at Northwich, searching for a fifth win on the spin.

But after the hosts had posted 136-8dec, Oakmere saw their reply ruined by rain.

They were forced off with the score at 21-1. And although the rain stopped, allowing the players to mop up the square to make it playable again, another major downpour led to both captains agreeing to abandon the contest.

Leaders Alvanley took full advantage.

Spinners Dave Shewring (4-17) and Robin Fisher (4-23) were the pick of the bowlers as hosts Birkenhead were bowled out for 85 in 33 overs.

Lee Ainsworth chipped in with 2-14 off seven overs, extracting life and movement out of a benign pitch for the quicker bowlers.

In reply, Mark Szymura and Andy Bennion moved serenely to 29 before the latter nicked an excellent ball for 19.

More wickets fell, leaving Alvanley in danger at 50-5 and 75-7.

The tension was unbearable but Ainsworth kept his cool and swatted two sublime drives to the boundary to take his team to a winning 88-8.

In Division Two, KINGSLEY were left frustrated after rain prevented an almost certain victory at home to Lymm. A damp track made batting difficult for the visitors and Travis Martin (5-25) and Adrian Burden (4-10) left Kingsley chasing just 71 to win.

Kingsley stuttered along the way but 18 from Martin and an undefeated 17 from George Waring looked to have swung the match in the home team’s favour.

However, with only six runs needed to win and three wickets still in hand, the umpires had no choice but to lead the teams from the field as the heavens opened.

CHOLMONDELEY (123-9) saw off Barnton, while BARROW saw their match at Winnington Park abandoned in the second innings due to rain.

In Division Three, CHESTER COUNTY OFFICERS held on to second place after beating visitors Stretton by seven wickets.

Stretton were asked to set a target and were quickly reduced to 48-3 as Vamshi (4-35) and Mike Clarke (3-55) came to the fore.

Wickets kept falling at regular intervals and a late spell from Steve Johnson (3-11) put an end to the wagging tail, Stretton all out for 119.

In reply, Chester dipped to 32-3 but Chris Wright (40no) and Mike Jones (37no) knuckled down and carried the hosts to 123-3 with a magnificent unbeaten partnership of 71.

Chester are hot on the tail of leaders BUNBURY (147-2), who defeated Over Peover (143ao).