OULTON Park found the pace of Barrington Browne and Phil Cottrell too hot to handle as visitors Nantwich notched their fourth win in five games in the Murray Smith Cheshire County League's Premier Division on Saturday.
The pair unsettled the home batsmen with a series of bouncers and finished with three wickets apiece, reducing Park at one stage to 53-4.
In the absence of Andy Kent, it was up to John Davies (40) and Mike Bentham (32) to stage a recovery to 118, before Chris Hampshire came into the attack to take 3-41 as the Little Budworth side collapsed to 148 all out.
Park needed quick wickets, but Aussie Dave Celep (39) and Dave Ferris (25) put on 58 for the first wicket before the experienced Jeff Maynard (50 not out) saw Nantwich home for a seven-wickets win.
Park bounced back on Sunday in the League KO by beating Timperley. Jason Whittaker hit 88, Danny Leech 65 and Paul Berry 63 in 291-7 before Timperley responded with 218-8. Park go to Macclesf ield in Sunday's second round.
CHRISTLETON were on the road for the fourth successive week, but they were rewarded with a two-wickets victory at Timperley.
The 2002 season had reached its low point at Timperley and the visitors were keen to put this memory behind them and to continue winning. Captain Jim Gillson opted to let the home team take first knock and the Christleton bowlers were quickly into their stride on a pitch that offered all bowlers encouragement.
Matt Parkinson made early inroads with 3-26 and wickets continued to fall regularly as the home team's lack of confidence showed. Dave Hill, finely tuned after last week's outing in the seconds, polished off the innings with 3-4.
The Christleton batsmen then found that progress was not easy on a pitch of unpredictable bounce and, after skipper Gillson was out for 33 at a total of 80-4, the out-come seemed in the balance.
Aussie Todd Campbell decided the best form of defence was attack and smashed 43 from 30 balls. Campbell was one of two wickets to fall at 105 and, with seven wickets down, an upset was on the cards.
It was then that Russell Crowley and Dave Hill came together and this pair raced to the required target with 13 overs to spare. Crowley's 28 included some big hits, while Hill's 36 not out included a monster hit across the main road and into the pub car park. The Little Heath side stay top with 20 points.
Christleton are away again tomorrow, but it's a short trip to Tattenhall. A full squad is available as the team bids to consolidate first place in the table.
The second eleven made it four wins in a row, ending Timperley's unbeaten run by four wickets. Christleton bowlers hit top form as Timperley were dismissed for 124 (Chris Hollindale 3-18, Steve Jackson 2-25, Brian Wareing 2-33).
Skipper Mike Hollindale joined Phil Tidy in the home team's reply and the pair made steady progress to 60 before Tidy was caught for 20. When Hollindale was out for 41, the visitors had a slight scent of an upset. Other wickets fell cheaply and it was an important and phlegmatic 29 not out from promising youngster Andy Sissons that steered the side to an excellent victory and 25 useful points.
The win meant that 90 points have been gleaned from the last four games. Tattenhall are tomorrow's visitors.
The thirds (208-9 dec) drew at Stockport Georgians (188-8). TATTENHALL declared at 172-8 against Irby as David Sandford top-scored with 54, well supported by Stanton Govinder's 43 and Graham Harper's 40. Irby's skipper David Newman hit 58 as his side replied with 177-6 with two overs left.
The teams observed a minute's silence in memory of Irby's Kevin Coppell.
ALVANLEY were without injured regular opening batsman Ian Charles in their Meller Braggins Cheshire League match at home to Weaverham, and they could muster only 75-2 wickets off the first 30 overs, despite the good batting conditions.
Then Glen Pickersgill exploded into action, crashing 18 runs off one over, effectively removing the slow left-arm bowling of McMillan out off the attack and catalysed much-needed acceleration.
Pickersgill went on to make 64, while Peter Pearce steadily compiled 39no and skipper Chris Fletcher added a quick 19no to enable Alvanley to close at 194-4 off their 45 overs.
Weaverham made steady progress against the Alvanley bowlers, which included Phil Jones for the first time in a month. His opening spell with Greg Erasmus delivered only one wicket in the form of a runout, and Weaverham's performance looked ominous.
Andy Senior and Dan Riley bowled well, but once opening batsman McMillan got to 50, he took advantage of the placid pitch and quick outfield to finish 110 not out as Alvanley's total was beaten for the loss of four wickets with nine balls to spare.
Having not won any of their last five games, Alvanley have slid down to sixth.
MALPAS clinched their fourth win in a row when they cruised past OAKMERE by eight wickets. They restricted the hosts to 149-9 with Simon Hopper taking 4-32, and Hopper completed a great day by hitting an unbeaten 65 in Malpas' 153-2, well supported by Mark Dunning's 58. They go to Weaverham tomorrow.
The seconds were also in good form, sending Barrow back for 117, Suzy Walker claiming 5-58 and Martin Punnett 4-46. Neil Smith (45) and Seb Neal (37no) steered Malpas to a seven-wickets win.
CHESTER COUNTY OFFICERS narrowly failed to register their fifth successive win as CASTROL held out for a draw in an exciting Shammah Nicholls Cheshire Alliance contest at Long Lane.
Off icers were invited to bat on a good-looking wicket but suffered an immediate setback when Mike Clarke was caught behind first ball off paceman John Ball.
Tony Hattersley (12) was also caught behind chasing a wide one and Officers progressed slowly against a keen attack. Mike Caulfield (15) succumbed to a wide ball well caught by Ball when the score was 46 and Tony Collard and Ian Barlow had to dig in for a solid base.
Just after the second drinks break, Tony Collard (33) was run out in the 31st over, but Andy Barlow joined his brother with the score 138 and nine overs to go. Together they took the score to 195-7 with Ian Barlow finishing on a tremendous 74 not out, including eight fours and two sixes, and Andy Barlow 15 not out.
This score looked good but when the Castrol openers had put on 73, prospects for a win looked bleak. Opener Steve Flanagan was missed three times in an over off Mike Clarke but fell to junior spinner Chris Wright, caught at extra cover by Collard. The youngster then had Rob Brumby lbw for what can only be described as a rustic 37 and then picked off dangerman Tony King first ball with a teasing yorker. A score of 73-0 had become 73-3 before Mike Garvey (17) and in-form Darren Green added 51 quickly.
The return of Andy Barlow to the attack sorted out Garvey and then Chris Hutchinson before another partnership threatened to win the game for Castrol.
However, Darren Green holed out for 52 at long-on to off-spinner Wright as Ian Barlow snapped up his ninth catch of the season, and Castrol were on the back foot again. John Ball was quickly castled and Andy Walters (10) ran himself out to leave the score at 155-8.
Another run-out left Castrol precariously on 170-9 with four overs left. But despite a couple of near misses, skip-per Ian Silcock held out to gain Castrol an honourable draw. Chester took 15 points to Castrol's eight.
Officers have another derby against Ellesmere Port tomorrow and in the Cheshire Alliance Cup, they will host Parkside in the semi-final on July 27.
The seconds, who lost out to Castrol despite a brilliant 68 by 15-year-old Mike Rowlands, have been reinstated in their knockout competition after Trinity admitted fielding an ineligible player.
Leaders BARROW entertained vastly-improving Wirral, who had risen to third, and gained an impressive win.
Barrow were pleased to be asked to bat first on a good-looking wicket. Openers Nick Bell and John Davies made a quick start, with Bell playing at his best for an excellent 40. With Davies out for a controlled 27 and wickets falling quickly, it was left to the experience of Craig Hulme to build a good score.
After a careful start, Hulme built an excellent innings of 61, allowing Barrow to declare on a creditable 196-9.
At tea, Barrow believed that this was an excellent total as the wicket was showing signs of variable bounce. The game was soon going their way through a top spell of bowling from John Williams and Mal Barrow, Williams bowling a controlled and aggressive spell, removing the normally capable Wirral top order.
With Dave Downham and Pete Balac also taking wickets, Wirral were finally 84 all out, man-of-the-match Williams finishing with 6-20 off 14 overs.
Barrow go to fourth-placed Port Sunlight tomorrow. SAUGHALL produced their best batting performance of the season but followed it up with their worst bowling display, slumping to defeat at home to Eastham.
Saughall got off to a bad start with Paul Booth and Martin Huxley back in the pavilion without a single run on the board. James Huxley (18) and Chris Andrews (34) began the recovery, but when both edged behind in quick succession, the score was 58-4 and Saughall were in desperate need of mid-order resistance.
Ben Salisbury duly obliged, scoring an unbeaten 65 adorned with an array of textbook drives. Support was forthcoming in the shape of youngsters Andy Thomas (15) and Pete Tunnicliffe, who contributed an eyecatching 33no and shared in an excellent stand of 70 that enabled the declaration to come on 176-6.
Eastham's response started cagily with the outside edge beaten regularly, but the only wicket to fall in the opening bowling spell came when Tunnicliffe had one half of the opening stand caught athletically at point by Chris Andrews with the score on 40.
Any hopes of a fightback, though, were dashed as Saughall's usually reliable bowlers struggled to find consistency and were punished. James Huxley, bowling for the first time in a month after injury, was wayward, while Mike Andrews and Les Perkins proved to be the ideal pace for some long-handle aerial-route batting. Salisbury produced a direct hit to breathe some life into Saughall's efforts and Chris Andrews almost replicated the run-out with an agile piece of work soon after.
But Eastham continued their positive approach, aided by good fortune, and won for the loss of four wickets. Tunnicliffe (2-19) was the pick of the bowlers.