A MUCH-IMPROVED performance by NANTWICH still ended in defeat on Saturday.
The Dabbers put up a good fight against high-flyers Oulton Park, but went down to a one-wicket loss. Director of cricket Dave Sadler said, despite a third successive reverse, there were positives to be taken.
'It was significantly better and a very close game. There was a good spirit and fight amongst the boys, but you can't escape the fact that we lost again.
'Batting-wise, we were a bit short and we'd have hoped for an extra 40 runs on our total. But we were very good in the field and it was a great innings from Oulton's young opener which really made the difference for them.
'In particular, Chris Simpson batted very well for us and, at 21, is now starting to be a very important player
for us. Bowler James Warrington is keen to learn and gets better every week, and was the pick of the bowlers.'
Nantwich batted first and superb knocks by Simpson (54), who hit 10 fours, and professional Derek Tate (52) provided a solid foundation.
Jeff Maynard (15), Ray Doyle (16), Rob Porter (21) and Paul Hampshire (28) all contributed but failed to make big scores as they were all out for 199.
Park number one Jon Kettle (74) crashed 11 boundaries before being removed by Tate (2-50). Porter (2-39) weighed in to claim the vital scalps of Cheshire pair Ben Spendlove (6) and Nathan Dumelow (6), but then the visitors dug in. Wickets fell regularly, but the title-hunters stumbled their way to victory with 202-9.
In Division One, ALSAGER finally laid their demons to rest as Alan Stancliffe and Tom Gledhill destroyed Upton to help earn their first win of the campaign.
Batting first, Alsager captain Simon Dyer (35) and professional Rohan Wright (48) did most damage, with Wright smacking a massive six. But they collapsed to 147ao to give the visitors a real chance.
But veteran Stancliffe (5-28) and youngster Gledhill (5-35) ripped through the Upton batting order, eventually seeing them off for 102. Alsager stay bottom but are now in touch with Birkenhead Park.
* Nantwich 2nds 248-9 (Phil Stockton 85) drew at Oxton 150-9 (Mark French 3-27, Stockton 4-23) on Saturday.
On Sunday they went out of the 2nd XI Cup despite batting first and posting 273-8 (D Talbot 76, M Symns 89).
Urmston responded with 277-6 (Ben Mogg 2-33).
Nantwich 3rds narrowly missed out on victory against Upton, who batted first and were 213 all out (Neil Stockton 5-48). Nantwich just fell short in reply with 212-6 (Darren Cook 95, Alex Roberts 40).
Dave Apps took a five-wicket haul as Alsager 2nds earned a convincing victory over Hale Barns, who were bowled out for 92. Ken South hit 51 as Alsager made 93-6.
* Nantwich starlet Ollie Sadler, vice-captain of Oxford University's 1st XI, has been selected for the Minor Counties U25 team to play against the MCC Young Cricketers at Radlett CC on June 22.
The call-up came after Sadler hit scores of 80 against Oxfordshire, 72 against Sir Paul Getty's XI, and 131 not out against the Royal Air Force.