VISITING Bowdon on Saturday, Widnes were pleased to note that Gary Yates, so often a thorn in their side in the past, was unavailable.

They were even optimistic of a rare victory over the South Manchester side having restricted them to 174 for 9 at tea in their Cheshire County League clash.

At 47 for 1 things looked more than promising but the game was to be transformed by the 22-year-old reserve Lancashire wicketkeeper Gareth Cross.

Unfortunately for Widnes he was not keeping wicket but brought on to serve his deceptively quick inswingers which are delivered with an unusual action.

In his first five overs of a ten-over spell he destroyed the Widnes batting taking six wickets for four r uns.

The previously untroubled Steve Titchard was bowled for 26. Danny Naughton, Neil Barfuss and Andrew Woods departed in similar fashion with Sean Moore and James McCoy going lbw. A score of 47 for 1 became 61 for 6 and valiantly as captain Ian Spencer batted for 14 not out there was no way back, Widnes were all out for 95.

Earlier Cross had also top scored with 55 for Bowdon before being dismissed by Sean Moore who bowled an excellent spell taking 2 for 26 in his seven overs.

This was bettered by Tom Evans with his best figures so far in first eleven cricket, 4 for 18 from seven overs.

Widnes took 5 bowling points from the game but now slip to third from bottom.

They will be hoping their topsy turvy form manifests itself with an improved performance at home to Chester Broughton Hall, 1pm on Saturday.

The following day Widnes visit Bramhall in the Cheshire Cup.

Widnes 2nd XI visit Chester following a home draw against Timperley in which Richard Evans made 70 and Anthony Nickson 51 in a total of 216 for 6. Jamal Khojani took 3 for 72 from 15 overs as Timperley replied with 201 for 7.

Sunday sees Widnes 3rd XI entertain Ashley.