NANTWICH'S hopes of mounting a title challenge suffered a huge blow at home to Bramhall on Saturday.
The Dabbers fell to a damaging defeat at the hands of the only team in the ECB Premier League without a victory, as Bramhall finally broke their duck with an 18-run win in a major upset at Whitehouse Lane.
Bramhall, whose last win was on August 31, 2002, grafted hard to reach 203-9 off the maximum 60 overs, with Australian Jay Bowman scoring 50 and Simon Wilkinson 48, while promoted second team left-arm seam bowler Omar Mian returned figures of 6-63 off 22 overs.
Nantwich crashed to 83-6 before veteran Lee Prince led a rally, but the introduction of part-time bowler Andy Hall with his flighted off-spinners earned the Cheshire skipper figures of 3-32 and enabled him to root out the tail for 185, with Prince being last out for 48.
Previously unbeaten in five games Nantwich stay third, but are now 57 points adrift of the top and have a big match at Chester Boughton Hall this Saturday, and visit Bowdon in the quarter final of the Fred Graham Trophy on Sunday (1pm).
At the top of Division One, Poynton's lead was cut to 13 points by Widnes, who picked up 25 from a seven-wicket win at Alsager.
Former Lancashire man Steve Titchard took 7-39, his best figures for Widnes, who dismissed Alsager for 78 with New Zealander Tim Wilson left stranded on 37 not out. Alsager were crushed at Hyde in the last of the Quinn Thomas Cheshire Cup quarter-finals at Werneth Low on Sunday.
The home side romped to a 212 runs success after piling up 304-6.
A stand worth 174 for the third wicket between John Ashley (116no) and Dave Fitzsimmons (103) helped Hyde to their tally as Alsager stuck to their task splendidly in the heat, a catch by Tony Newbould to dismiss Fitzsimmons being a highlight.
But Alsager were bowled out for 92 (Paul Adams 42), as Rob Brierley picked up 5-38 and Rudra Singh 3-3 as Hyde booked a semi-final clash with Bowdon.