RUNCORN continued their climb up the Meller Braggins Cheshire League Division One when they overcame struggling Oakmere in what proved to be a final-ball thriller.
Having lost the toss, Runcorn were asked to bat first by the home side on what proved to be one of the hottest days of the year.
Although they lost opener Steve Ollerenshaw for a duck, the visitors made good progress in the sweltering heat with Andy Booth (62) and Mark Cahill (55) doing well in a 107-run second-wicket stand that swung the game in Runcorn's favour.
Runcorn wobbled midinnings but good support late in the middle order from Ritchie Yates, who finished unbeaten on 29, ensured that Runcorn would gain full batting points from the game, with the team finally closing their innings on a very competitive 184-7 from In the field, all of Runcorn's bowlers responded well to the challenge set by the soaring temperature.
Slow left-arm bowler John O'Brien made a successful return to first-team action, capturing two wickets for just 20 runs in ten overs, while young paceman Steven Sheakey bagged three scalps for just 27 runs in his ten overs with the ball.
Iain Williams proved the most economical of the bowlers, taking one for seven in his short spell, with skipper Jamie Hill returning to the wicket displaying the form which saw him become the club's leading wicket taker last year. He took two for 38.
It was premier strike bowler Steve Ollerenshaw (2-22) who wrapped up the game for Runcorn in the final over.
With the home side batting to save the game on 120-9, Ollerenshaw won a plumb lbw decision off the last ball of the game, leaving Oakmere on 120 all out off their 45 overs, securing a well-deserved and much-needed 25 points for Runcorn which pulled them to the relative safety of mid-table.
Runcorn's second string had worse luck when they went down to Barrow at Moughland Lane.
Batting first, Runcorn made steady progress with skipper Warder (42) and Whitfield (20) helping the home side reach 144 all out.
Although Adam Southern made an impressive start to his Runcorn career, bowling both quickly and accurately on his debut, the visitors always had the target in their sights, hitting the winning runs with plenty of overs to spare.