CHESTER County Officers had an enthralling duel against Kingsley, who were in the driving seat before being pegged back to leave the game narrowly drawn.
Chester were inserted on a fine afternoon and struggled from the start against Burden's prodigious swing bowling. Tony Hattersley battled through to the drinks interval at 57-2, losing partners Clarke (4) and Riz (10) along the way.
Eight overs later, Officers were in dire straights at 63-5 with Hattersley pulling to square leg for 32, Ian Barlow lbw without scoring and young Mike Rowlands also trapped for a creditable 11.
John Gilbody and Tony Collard (17) pulled the innings round to 97-6 and then the tail assisted as Gilbody smashed 56 before becoming the fourth lbw victim with the score at 145, just short of extra batting points.
Burden finished with a fantastic 7-27 off 20 overs and he was well backed by Anthony Alderman with 3-62.
Kingsley made good progress towards the total, although they lost three wickets with the score going from 57 to 61 after 20 overs.
It was then that Wayne Owen started to dominate so that with five overs left, 20 runs were needed. At this point, Andy Barlow struck twice, clean bowling Vermeulen and Verter, but the aggressive Burden came to the crease and struck out effectively. Officers thought they had Owen stumped but the umpire's finger disconcertingly remained in his pocket, and victory looked assured for Kingsley as they started the last over with four to win and three wickets in hand.
However, the doughty Gilbody continued to bowl at the stumps and despatched Owen for a fine 45. The inexperienced number 10 succumbed, stumped second ball for a duck, which left Alderman to come out and smite three off the last ball to win.
After careful field placing to cover various options, it came as a surprise as the last ball was blocked and the draw taken rather than risk losing.
Barlow picked up 4-42 blocking one end, while Gilbody clinched the man-of-the-match accolade with a superb 5-40 in 15 overs of accurate bowling. Officers came away with 11 points to Kingsley's eight.
Indisciplined batting saw a late collapse that left Officers' seconds 14 short against Kingsley. Skipper Alan Roberts top scored with 37.
Saughall got the better of a drawn encounter against Port Sunlight in a match at Saughall's base for the next three 'home' matches, the Bebington Oval.
With no access to their ground in Saughall due to roadworks, Saughall christened their temporary home with another excellent batting display, spearheaded by their skipper James Huxley. Twin brother Martin Huxley (23) was the first to fall after a solid opening stand, but Ben Salisbury was able to pick up the baton with a patient and well-constructed
31. At the other end, James Huxley, who couldn't hit a barn door with a banjo in his previous innings, was in prime form and fell just six runs short of his century off the final ball.
Saughall needed four runs to secure maximum batting points, but he mistimed the ball and picked out the fielder as Saughall's innings closed on 172-6.
Sunlight's attacking philosophy didn't pay off in their reply as early wickets fell against some economic bowling. Mike Andrews was handed the new ball and picked up the opener in a fine spell of swing bowling, while Pete Tunnicliffe bowled with pace and accuracy and picked up two wickets in his opening spell.
When Les Perkins was called into the attack and claimed another wicket sharply caught at slip, Sunlight were labouring on 46-4. A steady fifth-wicket partnership of 40 wasn't typified by one over in which two sixes were heaved over mid-wicket, but eventually Les Perkins (2-32) clean-bowled Squire for 17 and Saughall sniffed victory at 85-5.
Pete Tunnicliffe (3- 39) was recalled into the attack in the dying overs and claimed another victim, while Mike Andrews completed a fine spell with a maiden which deprived the visitors of the one run they needed for an extra batting point. Port Sunlight ended on 124-6 and claimed five points to Saughall's eleven.
The following day, the teams met in the cup on another scorching afternoon. Saughall did half of the job well in restricting Sunlight to 171 off their 40 overs, with Mike and Chris Andrews leading the way with the ball, taking two and three wickets respectively.
Youngsters Graham Johnston and Mike Rowson excelled in the field and Saughall could feel quietly confident of a positive run-chase given their good form with the bat this season. Their confidence was misplaced, however, as four soft dismissals in quick time left them reeling on 8-4.
Ben Salisbury (27) and Mike Andrews (14) offered some resistance but were both un-fortunate to be caught at fly-slip and Saughall crumbled to a lowly total of 54.