NESTON’S lead in the Premier Division has been cut to just two points as the race to become County League champions hots up.

Hyde and Nantwich are breathing down the neck of Neston, who were held to a losing draw at OULTON PARK on Saturday.

The Parkgate men were second-best for most their visit to Little Budworth.

Park skipper Nathan Dumelow smashed a rapid 105 and, with his two young Cheshire colleagues Louis Bentley scoring 84 and Rick Moore 74, Oulton declared on 295-5.

Neston struggled in reply when skipper Jack Smith was out for 46, but recovered thanks to a bright 40 from Andy Roberts, then a sparkling innings by left-hander Chris Hackett (103no), to close on 252-7.

Elsewhere, Hyde moved into second spot with a decisive 87-run win at Urmston while Nantwich won their sixth game in a row, by 97 runs, at home to lowly Bramhall

CHESTER BOUGHTON HALL took the points in a lively encounter at Oxton, chasing down 200 with three overs to spare in the gloom.

The home side batted first and rattled up an impressive 199-9, Warren Goodwin (3-42) and Ajit Ranjan (3-45) the pick of the Chester bowlers.

Following on from their 181 opening stand the previous week, Goodwin and Steve Ogilby put on 110 this time. The in-form Goodwin finished with 118 as Hall reached a winning 200-5.

In Division One, a half-century from Ifti Naseer (56) gave CHRISTLETON the middle-order resistance they needed to earn a home draw with Grappenhall.

The visitors posted 207-9, Iroshan de Silva taking 4-62 while Paul Allen backed him up with 3-78.

The Chester hosts finished up on 160-8, Andy Heyland (32) offering vital support to Naseer.

In Division Two, a superb all-round display from Craig Williamson was in vain as TATTENHALL lost out at Congleton.

With the wicket looking green, the Chester side were happy to win the toss and take to the field first.

Mel Dobson grabbed a couple of wickets but the main man was Williamson, who finished with 7-65 as Congleton were all out for a competitive 148 in the final over.

A solid start was required by Tattenhall but, not for the first time this season, it didn’t happen as early wickets fell, leaving the middle order facing an uphill struggle.

Some resistance was shown by Williamson, who top-scored with 34 as Tattenhall were all out for 130.