ELWORTH'S fine start to the Division One season continued with a six-wicket win over league leaders Barlaston at London Road.
Skipper Dave Palin put Barlaston in to bat after winning the toss and when opening bowler Paul Crompton removed both opening batsmen, it looked like the perfect decision.
But a good partnership between Taimur Khan (46) and Darren Long (91) put the visitors into a good position before El-worth professional Ian Mitchell removed Khan.
A catastrophic collapse ensued with wickets tumbling at regular intervals and when Matthew Buckley finally removed Long just nine short of his century, the writing was on the wall.
With no other batsman reaching double figures, Barlaston slumped to 186ao in just 53 overs.
In-form spinner Jim Higgins finished with figures of 4-60 off 20.4 overs, while Matthew Buckley also impressed with 3-26 off 10 economical overs and Crompton finished with 2-34.
Elworth made a shaky start in reply, losing opener Mike Robinson for just six.
But Pete Davies (20) and Mitchell (56) steadied the ship before a captain's innings of 67no from Palin steered Elworth home.
Haslington also claimed an excellent win against Norton-in-Hales after Matt Saive's 6-31 helped send the visitors packing for 156.
Andre Percival and Dean Bedson then scored half-centuries as Haslington cruised to a six-wicket win, despite four wickets from Joginder Sharma.
Crewe were involved in a highly entertaining draw at Rode Park.
Batting first, Crewe made a disastrous start after losing their first five wickets for 54 with only opener Mark Hurst (19) reaching double figures.
This brought Nick Lange and Matt Dawson together and the pair proceeded to change the face of the game as they put together a fine part-nership of 128 for the sixth wicket.
After steadying the innings, the duo played some fine shots as they punished the home attack on their way to well-deserved half-centuries.
The partnership was finally broken when Lange was lbw for 52 and Dawson followed soon after for a splendid 80, which included 13 fours and a six.
When Crewe were all out for 185, they were left reflecting on a fine recovery.
With leading wicket taker Shahid Khan unable to bowl through injury, Lange and Mike Holt took the new ball and Lange picked up three wickets.
A brilliant catch from Hurst gave Aamer Iqbal a wicket with his first delivery, and the game continued to hang in the balance before ending with both sides tantalisingly close to victory with Park on 176-8.
Lange returned fine figures of 5-40 from 23 overs and Dawson took 2-52 as the pair completed excellent all-round performances.
Betley were a whisker away from victory in their ECB Premier Division match with Meir Heath.
Simon Cork carried his bat for an un-beaten 93 and Mohammed Arshead added 75 in Betley's total of 223-3.
A fine spell from Adrian Butler (5-45) put Meir Heath in trouble, but skipper Paul Wright responded with a timely 74 as the visitors hung on at 215-9.
Second-team scores - Premier Division: Meir Heath 195-9 (D Snape 3-41), Betley 199ao (A Guest 108no, S Ankers 77no). Division One: Barlaston 130-8 (S Elliott 5-39), Elworth 211-4 dec (R Ballard 104no, P Coleman 35); Crewe 217-5 dec (Martin Dawson 71, B Bishop 50), Rode Park 208-7 (C Lowndes 3-59).