RELEGATION-THREATENED Chester Boughton Hall have been handed a Premier Division lifeline after Widnes were docked 128 points.
The massive punishment comes after their overseas star Ata-ur-Rehman made an unauthorised appearance for Heywood in the Central Lancashire League.
The former Pakistan Test ace, who was handed a life ban for match fixing in 2000 before having it lifted on appeal in 2006, played once for Heywood on May 3 before returning to Widnes.
That is against Cheshire County League rules and bosses have now stripped Widnes of any points won after that date and suspended Rehman for the season.
Widnes have the right to appeal the decisions and until that is heard the table will be unaffected. But, if the punishment stands, they will plunge to the foot of the standings.
That will leave only one drop spot to fill and Hall could be the beneficiaries.
Jim Gilson’s second-from-bottom side are still looking for their first win of the season after falling to surprise fellow strugglers Alderley Edge on Saturday.
Chester were just about satisfied with an 11-point haul against the reigning champions after a batting masterclass from Edge’s prolific opener Mark Currie.
Skipper Eddie Roberts, deputising for the injured Gilson, won the toss and decided to bat. The hosts struggled against the accuracy of Mark Warnes (4-38) and Jason Whittaker (4-89), however, and had it not been for an excellent partnership of 108 between Warren Goodwin (76) and Matthew Griffiths (34) they would have not have got as far as 229-9dec.
Classy Currie then thrashed 129no as Alderley galloped to their set target with just two wickets lost, finishing on 232-2.
OULTON PARK maintained their title march after putting NESTON to the sword on Saturday.
Park lie just 38 points behind Bowdon and any slip up by the pacesetters could blow the championship race wide open.
Batting first, the visitors smashed their way to 309-7dec with skipper Nathan Dumelow hitting 83.
Also finding the boundary with regularity were Danny Leech (67) and Ben Spendlove (52).
Defending their total, Park eased their way to victory to maintain their position in second as Dumelow (3-3) and Rick Moore (3-40) helped skittle Neston for 182.