CREWE secured Division One safety and wrecked ELWORTH's promotion dream on Saturday.
A brilliant innings of 85 not out from professional Imran Khalid gained them a vital win which lifts the19 points clear of the drop zone with just two games to play.
But it came at a heavy price for their near neighbours, who threw away commanding positions and with it their Premier Division hopes.
There was no hint of what was to come when Foxes openers Lee Morris (28) and Pete Davies (17) put on 50 in quick time, before Crewe skipper Mike Holt trapped Davies lbw.
Elworth professional Murray Ranger came in and, despite losing Morris, the score progressed to 96-2 before the dangerous Ranger became Holt's third victim for 28.
The remaining seven wickets then tumbled for just 40 runs as Elworth collapsed to 136 all out. Holt's nagging medium pace brought him 4-44 while twin left arm spinners Khalid (3-43) and Martin Webb (3-5) did a fine supporting job.
Crewe's reply got off to a bad start as the experienced Jim Higgins (2-73) and Ranger (4-38) reduced them to 16-3.
When Simon Banks became the third Crewe player to go without scoring they were deep in the mire at 25-4.
Jo Boyle's arrival heralded a change in the atmosphere. Previously, Higgins and Ranger had maintained a vice-like grip on affairs, but Boyle got into his stride immediately and threw the Elworth bowlers out of theirs.
He was at the crease less than 20 minutes but in that time 30 were added, with Boyle contributing a rugged 22.
The visitors were 55-5, but Imran soon took charge. Farming the strike skilfully he nursed Crewe towards the target.
A 20-run stand with Tom Leese (12) then a 32-run partnership with Mike Holt (3), saw them move to 107-6 before Paul Crompton, who had replaced Ranger, drew an unguarded shot from Holt who was caught by Higgins in the covers.
The emergence of veteran Bernie Bishop calmed nerves in the Crewe dressing room. He withstood all that Elworth could throw at him and ensured that Imran, who had become increasingly comfortable, could pick up runs when and where they were available.
Imran finished the game with a big six and received a deserved ovation from spectators on both sides.
Crewe took 20 points to Elworth's six.
BETLEY enjoyed an impressive win at Ashcombe Park in Division Two, after batting first and posting 209-9dec. The consistent Gagandeep Singh (60no) led from the front, supported by Richard Bebington (41) and Chris Henderson (41).
The hosts were all out for 187 in their reply (Singh 3-47, Darren Snape 3-46).
WESTON were crushed by visitors Norton, who batted first and made 210-6dec (Hassan Haleem 3-65). The hosts were 70 all out in reply.
* Elworth 2nds require just 14 points from their last two matches to retain the Division One B title, after beating Crewe 2nds.
They posted 188-9, with Alan Wright including seven boundaries and four sixes in his 71, and Cody Barton (25) supporting well. Steve Morgan (7-38) ran riot as Crewe succumbed to 123 all out (Richard Wilson 25).
Betley 2nds (61ao) lost to Ashcombe Park (2nds (63-0), while Weston 2nds (68ao) lost at Norton 2nds (219-5dec).
* Crewe CC are holding a rock night and barbecue on Friday (7.30pm). Tickets are £6. Call Trev Dawson (01270 568022) or Mel Brownall (01270 663635).