OULTON Park believe they deserve to be at the top of the Premier Division - but know Hyde are close behind.

The table-toppers have an important game at fourth-placed Widnes tomorrow, where they will be searching for their ninth win in a row.

Skipper Nathan Dumelow said: 'It's very tight at the top. Last week was the first week we came into the lead and we're very happy. But it will be tight right to the end between us and Hyde.

'Everyone's been playing well, with Daniel Leech scoring a lot of runs. We're going for 25 points against Widnes one way or the other.'

Park cruised to victory at Oxton last Saturday.

Chris Jones (2-41) and Ben Spendlove (2-6) put the brakes on the Oxton innings and when Spendlove had to go to hospital with a hand injury, John Davies (5-15) took over and cleaned up the tail.

Oxton were all out for 152 and, despite losing 14 overs to rain, the total was well within Oulton's capabilities.

Chris Bassano (47no), Paul Berry (54) and Nathan Dumelow (25no) led them to 155-2.

CHRISTLETON are entering a crucial stage of the season as they prepare for a home fixture against Bowdon this weekend.

The team from Little Heath are looking to bounce back from the blow of losing last Saturday's top-of-the-table encounter at Hyde.

Captain Jim Gillson said: 'At this point in the season it is important to get another win. Bowdon are having a similar season to us so will be playing to win too.

'There are five or six tough sides and we consider ourselves among them - they won't expect an easy game.

'We had a disappointing game against Hyde, but several players are playing well. We are not re-lying on one person, and 17-year-old Rick Moore from Oulton Park is a good prospect too.

'It is close at the top and by no means over. The top sides need to play each other and if we can get three wins we can put pressure on them.'

Christleton, who now lie fifth in the table, were dismissed for 182 at Hyde (Alex Barr 50).

The hosts coasted home with Dave Fitzsimmons 52no and James Duffy on 47.

Injuries have plagued NESTON'S season and skipper Ben Thomas blames it for their position in the league.

He said: 'We should not be looking at the teams behind us but not all the players have stayed fit.

'We have been without our opening two bowlers, Chris Finnegan (broken thumb) and Australian Jason Voros (hamstring), who only played his first real game last week.

'But it is another home game after our last win and we are looking forward to it.'

Neston inflicted the first defeat in seven games in Widnes last weekend, claiming a four-wicket victory at Parkgate.

The home side profited from the return from Lancashire duty of all-rounder Simon Marshall, whose leg-spin earned him 5-88 to restrict the Widnes total to 212-9 (Voros 3-57).

Neston's reply was reduced by 19 overs after a rain stoppage, but they made up for lost time with some vigorous hitting from Byrom Cooper (86) to reach 213-6.