DOMINANT Oakmere finished the first half of the Division One season in promotion form with a win at Ashley.
Stewart Eaton (5-43 off 22 overs) and Nick Ball (2-28) made steady progress and Craig Phelan (2-28) picked up late wickets as Ashley finished on 118-9.
An opening stand of 54 between Paul Yearsley (33) and Paul Hutchinson (21) put Oakmere on their way, with Ian Eaton (30) and Stewart Eaton (26) ensuring an early finish with some lusty blows as Oakmere reached 122-4.
MALPAS lost by three wickets at Congleton after posting 181ao in 39 overs. Aussie opener John Flynn’s 54 was the backbone of the innings, with good knocks from Phil Rowlandson (31no) and Eddie Barlow (29).
John Flynn got among the top order and was rewarded with figures of 3-47. Congleton’s Aussie John Bailey (76) then cut loose and his team-mates helped the side scramble over the finishing line (Adrian Stubbs 2-40, Jon Suckley 2-52) in the 41st over.
In Division Two, CHESTER COUNTY OFFICERS missed a golden opportunity to defeat the league leaders after dismissing Northwich for 149. The visitors never got into gear after being asked to bat first.
Spinner Mike Pownall was the pick of the bowlers with 4-19, while Graham Wilks picked up two late wickets for 39.
When Chester batted, Tony Hattersley (16) and Mike Clarke (14) supported man of the match Mike Pownall (51) to build the innings to 70-2. However, the accuracy of the Northwich bowlers imposed a stranglehold on the scoring rate and CCO settled for a draw on 115-8.
Tomorrow Northwich face a top-of-the table showdown with second-placed BARROW, who beat Winsford at home on Saturday.
Winsford decided to bat first on a damp but flat wicket and set 120-8. Wickets began to fall at regular intervals following the introduction of Brett Balac and Marlon Barclay.
Barrow were confident in reaching Winsford’s total, but the loss of early wickets meant it was far from straightforward.
With Barclay scoring 44 along with contributions from Gareth Pawlett and Matt Hughes, Barrow eventually won the game by reaching 122-7.
In Division Three, leaders Stockport were left hanging on by their fingers nails as they just managed to avoid defeat at second-placed KINGSLEY. The home side were given a solid start by openers Mark Butcher (31) and John Elliott (22). Big hitting from Chris Dolan (24) and a responsible 25no from Steve Forster down the order allowed Kingsley to reach a respectable 153-9 at tea.
Thoughts that the home team had not made enough were quickly dispelled by the maturing pace attack of Travis Martin (2-29) and Rob Massey. Replacing Martin down the hill, Massey claimed back to back five-wicket hauls as he demolished the middle order with controlled pace. But Stockport showed their durability as the last pair hung on for 13 overs to finish on 112.
BUNBURY were beaten at Chelford, who set 129-7dec. The visitors replied with 112.