WHILE Chester Boughton Hall are playing catch-up in the race for the Premier Division title, two of their local rivals remain locked in a fight to beat the drop.
Oulton Park fell to the foot of the table for the first time this season when they were outplayed at Grappenhall on Saturday. Neston are also in relegation danger, having slumped to a big loss at Alderley Edge.
It all means second-placed Boughton Hall – this season’s early pacesetters – are left flying the flag for local sides at the other end of the table.
They scraped and scrapped their way to a two-wicket win in a low-scoring match at Oxton on Saturday.
On a soft pitch, the visitors won the toss and had no hesitation in putting the home side in to bat on a gloomy afternoon.
Oxton struggled to reach 124 all out with former Chester player Mike Griffiths (44) digging deep against his old colleagues as wickets fell regularly. With the ball keeping low, Alex Kegg (4-45) and Daron Cruickshank (5-69) made the most of the conditions.
In reply, Chester lost early wickets with the likes of Trevor Fabien, Ollie Law and Cruickshank all going cheaply.
But Jordan Clark was firing well at the other end and his 66 included four sixes and seven fours from 58 balls.
Once he was out, Chris Connolly and Jim Gillson slowly scratched out the final runs to take Chester to 125-8.
Elsewhere, Grappenhall climbed off the bottom of the table at the expense of OULTON PARK after winning Saturday’s relegation tussle at Broad Lane.
The visitors were put in to bat on a difficult wicket and struggled, losing wickets at regular intervals before ending their innings on 119 all out (Louis Bentley 31, Bannister-Wright 25, Rimmer 21).
In reply, Grappenhall dipped to 40-2 before recovering to win with 121-2.
NESTON are still too close to the relegation places for comfort after a heavy loss at Alderley Edge.
John Steele (118) and Alan Day (101) set the tone with a second-wicket stand worth 183 as Alderley Edge posted 267-4dec (Ashley Davis 3-91).
Prolific Neston batsman Jack Smith was injured while fielding and was unable to take any further part in the game as the Parkgate side slumped to 83 all out (Luke Pavlinovitch 37).
In Division One, CHRISTLETON were held to a draw by struggling visitors Poynton.
The Chester hosts totalled at 207-8, Sri Lankan star Iroshan de Silva leading the way with 57. Poynton mustered 151-8 in reply (Varun Sood 5-30).