ALVANLEY took a huge step toward winning promotion when they beat one of their main rivals for a top-two spot on Saturday.

The unbeaten Division One leaders are now 65 points clear of third-placed OAKMERE after their 64-run win at Frodsham Road.

Now Alvanley turn their attention to opening the gap on second-placed Davenham as they face their nearest challengers this weekend.

Andy Bennion’s side will make the trip to Northwich in confident mood after their vital victory over Oakmere.

After winning the toss for the first time since early May, skipper Bennion chose to bat on a fabulous wicket. Mark Szymura and Chris Jones were unable to take advantage, however, as they both fell early to Sam Catling (2-42).

The big-hitting Bennion and Andy Hayhurst swung the game back Alvanley’s way, although they once more looked vulnerable at 98-4 when the duo were dismissed for 62 and 21 respectively.

Will Speakman (38no) steadied the ship, but it was not until the arrival of Nick Geddis and Lee Ainsworth that the home innings truly began to gather momentum.

Geddis (13) pushed the fielders to breaking point with some skilful and aggressive running before Ainsworth – reckoned by his captain to be the best number 10 in the league – mauled 36 runs off 16 balls including 21 off the last over to take Alvanley up to an imposing 213-8dec.

Michael Cushion (4-71) was the pick of the bowlers for Oakmere, whose reply got off to a disastrous start as Ainsworth (4-29) carried the momentum from his batting into a devastating spell with the new ball.

Paul Hutchinson and Thomas Cristofani were both out for a duck before Paul Yearsley and Nick Guest were also snaffled up by Ainsworth.

The visitors showed signs of a recovery through Nick Ball (53), but they were eventually skittled for 149 as Dave Shewring (3-25) and Chris Charles (2-37) cleaned up the tail.

CHOLMONDELEY tightened their grip on third place in Division Two with a five-wicket win at KINGSLEY.

Peter Pearce (3-30) displayed metronomic accuracy for the home attack, but the promotion pushers reached 135-5 with eight overs to spare.

Kingsley had set 132-9, a maiden first-team half-century from 17-year-old prospect Ben Stoddart (50no) the highlight.

BARROW stopped the rot with a draw at home to Barnton, holding out on 146-8 in reply to 215-5dec.

All-rounder Aaron Williams, with 3-40 and then a top score of 31, stood out for Barrow.