NANTWICH moved to within one point of second-placed Chester Boughton Hall, despite narrowly failing to beat Didsbury on Saturday.
While league leaders Bowdon were stretching their advantage at the summit of the ECB Premier Division to 23 points with a seven-wicket win, the Dabbers fell agonisingly short of an excellent away victory in a rain-ruined fixture.
Didsbury batted for their full allocation of 60 overs to post 161-7, with Richard Battye making an unbeaten 72.
Pace ace Barrington Browne was the pick of the Nantwich attack with 4-69 from a marathon 30-over stint. Ian Cowap, with 2-41, and Phil Cottrell, with 1-30, were the Dabbers' other successful bowlers.
A long interruption left Nantwich with only 20 overs - and they took up the challenge, scoring rapidly to finish a tantalising two runs short of victory at 160-6.
Promoted to open the batting, Jeff Maynard smashed 57 off just 40 balls and Paul Hampshire hit a quickfire 41 at more than a run a ball to set alarm bells ringing in the Didsbury dressing room.
Although wickets fell at a steady rate, Nantwich knew they were always in the hunt while captain Andy Newton was at the crease.
But although he scored 10 from the final four balls in a swashbuckling innings of 35 not out, the Dabbers' spirited victory bid fell just short.
Newton's men host basement boys Bramhall on Saturday and visit Chester in a crunch clash on August 9.
In Division One, Alsager moved into the top six after winning the South Cheshire derby at Congleton by 12 runs.
New Zealander Tim Wilson hit an attractive 83 in Alsager's innings of 148-9 declared and Shaun Woolley continued his fine form with the ball, his haul of 5-34 proving the catalyst for victory.
* Nantwich CC will stage a special representative fixture between the Cheshire County League and the Bahamas Cricket Association on Thursday, August 8. Andy Newton will captain the CCL team and fellow Dabber Jeff Maynard will also play. The game starts at 1.30pm and further details will appear in next week's Chronicle.