CASTROL'S hopes of making a late bid for promotion were dashed after a batting collapse handed victory to rivals Northwich on Saturday.

The Oilmen looked on course for victory after dismissing the hosts for 112 but, following a bright start in reply, they lost their way and slumped to a seven-run defeat.

Skipper Mark Evans was furious with his batsmen and threatened wholesale changes unless they make a dramatic improvement in the remainder of the season.

He said: 'This can't keep happening. It's the third time this season I can remember and if it carries on into next year we'll be candidates for the drop.

'The bowling and fielding again was spot on but the batting just won't do. I'm already looking at a couple of players to bring in next season so the guys who are already here need to up their game considerably.'

Castrol won the toss and put their hosts into bat with Martin Flanagan (4-33) and Mike Garvey (4-20) enjoying early success as Northwich struggled to 48-5.

The Oilmen's bowling attack continued to dominate and when Garvey took the wickets of Jameson (8) and Shaw (0) the hosts were all out for 112.

In reply, Castrol made steady progress with Flanagan (19) and Byron Ward (15) easing them past the 30 barrier.

Darren Green (21) and Mike Garvey (18) then took them to the brink of victory before an alarming collapse saw them fall to 105ao.

* Castrol are at home to Lindow on Saturday.