CHESTER County Officers' clash with Division One promotion contenders Chelford ended in defeat as everything went wrong for Steve John-son's side.
Losing the toss condemned the hosts to field on a flat pitch at The King's School. Tight bowling from Johnson and Andy Barlow kept the pressure on the Chelford openers, who survived strong appeals for lbw and a stumping. Something had to give and when Chelford moved up a gear, it was the Chester fielding that collapsed as dangerman Dickenson gave a series of chances that went begging, and he powered on to 81 in an opening partnership of 120 with partner Smith (32).
With this platform, Chelford reached 196-5 before declaring, leaving County Officers to rue eight spilled catches and run-out chances.
Chester's batting never got off the ground and the score slumped to 61-5 after a quick spell by Jerry Phillips (4-20). With the change bowlers in action, Alastair Clark (34) and Steve Johnson (40) raised hopes of an unlikely victory. But when Johnson became the third lbw victim, the end came swiftly with the final wicket going down with eight overs to spare.
The derby between Kingsley and league leaders Northwich was washed out after tea. Leneghan was still able to score a gutsy 61 while team-mates tumbled around him. A quick 30 from Burden boosted Kingsley's total to a disappointing 143ao. Northwich reached 34-1 before the rain came.
Bunbury had to settle for a draw as they entertained Radbroke Hall. The hosts batted first and posted 244-8, with Neil Swinbank (53), Mark Ryder (46) and Lee Greenbury (43) all contributing well. In reply, Radbroke Hall hit 173-9 with D Forsythe (45), P Freedman (33) and V Singh (41).
At Ellesmere Port, visitors Aston won by five wickets. Ellesmere Port made first use with 164-8 wickets with P Ashton making 36 and P Isaacs 35. Aston won with 167-5. nIn Division Two, hosts Frodsham saw their match with Grange abandoned. Grange batted first and reached 106-8 wickets (M Williamson 5-46). Frodsham were 2-0 when the rain came. nSaughall are closing in on promotion after their largest run-chase for seasons ensured they maintained their lead at the top of Division Three.
Put in to bat first, hosts Heaton Mersey Village were in trouble at 65-4 off 25 overs, largely thanks to the fast bowling of Lawrence Gotts (3-48), but a fine 93 partnership from Padbury (57no) and Courtney (66) helped push the visitors towards a sizeable total of 216-5 off the maximum 48 overs.
The league leaders confidently set about the run-chase with a breezy 47-run opening stand before Martin Huxley (23) was brilliantly caught at slip.
Lawrence Gotts made 12 before he was beaten by a full delivery, bringing Ben Salisbury to the crease to join opener James Huxley. Huxley (73) brought up his 50 with a six-over cover but gloved a rising delivery behind shortly afterwards to bring the 89-run partnership to an end.
With six an over still required, Saughall then had a mid-order collapse.
With three overs remaining, Saughall needed 21 runs for victory but the pressure was relieved when Mark Tunnicliffe (7no) elegantly clipped a boundary in to the leg side as seven runs were scored in the over.
Ten runs were plundered from the penultimate six balls, meaning that only four runs were required off the final over. With his team-mates watching anxiously from the sidelines, Ben Salisbury (73no) dispatched the second ball over the third man boundary to give Saughall maximum return for their magnificent run-chase.
Hosts Frodsham saw their match with Grange abandoned. Grange reached 106-8 wickets (M Williamson 5-46) and Frodsham were 2-0 when the rain came.