CHESTER County Officers' promotion hopes took a severe jolt as Ellesmere Port ended a run of two consecutive defeats with victory against their Division One rivals.
Port skipper Phil Ashton was particularly happy with the outcome and applauded his players for their efforts.
He said: 'It's our first win over Chester in the three years we've been in this league, so it's very sweet.
'We've been close to winning against them but never quite managed it. It was an excellent team performance with some great batting and hopefully it will get our season going again.'
Batting first, Chester's batsmen were unable to come to terms with the unusual bounce of the wicket.
Tony Hattersley battled manfully to register 40 but Chester dipped to 85-7 before John Coppock took to the wicket and notched 45no in an exhilarating partnership of 79 with Andy Barlow.
Chester's total of 164-7 gave the bowlers something to bowl at, and Barlow (1-32) took a wicket to remove star player Colin Roberts.
Dom Green was shifted by Steve Johnson (2-42) but the leech-like Phil Ashton resisted everything that was bowled at him. County Officers knew their luck was out when bowler Mike Rowlands deflected a straight drive on to the stumps and non striker Ashton was relieved to find the umpire give him the benefit of the doubt.
Graham Wilks (3-51) pulled the game round with three late wickets but the Port's late order hitting won the day with an over to spare at 165-6.
Kingsley continued their race towards the promotion spots with a third win in four games away to Aston.
Electing to bat first Aston got off to a flyer before more accurate bowling from Kingsley's seamers on a very grassy track ensured they progressed to their final total of 172-5 at a more sedate rate.
Adrian Burden (3-52) did the lion's share of the bowling and newcomer Phil Radley chipped in with two late wickets.
Kingsley's upper order also found the pitch difficult to bat on after tea and when Kieron Ollier was out for 42, the away team's best hope seemed to be a draw. But his elder brother Jonny Ollier and Burden hadn't read Aston's script. In a sensational climax, the pair amassed the 63 runs needed for victory at more than a run a ball, including two sixes each, to finish the match with 51no and 28no respectively with one over remaining.
At Styal, visitors Bunbury won by nine wickets. Styal were bowled out for 152 with T Agnew making 32 and Matthews taking 6-35. In reply, Bunbury won with 154-1 with N Swinbank unbeaten on 48 and M Ryder unbeaten on 68.
In Division Two, hosts Glazebury beat Frodsham by three wickets. Frodsham were bowled out for 135 with J Gibbons taking 4-18. In reply, Glazebury got home with 137-7 with J Gibbons completing a good all-round game with 78. I Hart took 4-19 for Frodsham.
In Division Three, Saughall came within a whisker of pulling off a sensational run-chase in their top-of-the-table clash at Audlem - thanks to a century by Ben Salisbury and a league record fourth wicket partnership of 191 with Chris Andrews.
Second-placed Audlem won the toss and unsurprisingly chose to bat first on a flat batting track, but it was visitors Saughall who commanded the early stages.
Les Perkins took a candidate for catch-of-the-season at slip at the second attempt, and when the other opener was bowled round his legs by Pete Tunnicliffe, Audlem were 121-2 off 30 overs. However, with wickets in hand, the Audlem batsmen stepped up the run-rate to reach 249-5 off their 48 overs (Lawrence Gotts 1-37, Pete Tunnicliffe 2-64, Chris Andrews 1-43).
In reply, Saughall's Martin Huxley (1), James Huxley (16) and Pete Tunnicliffe (0) all played on against the swinging new ball.
At 44-3 Chris Andrews joined Ben Salisbury at the crease and the buoyant Audlem attack almost had more to cheer when the Saughall vice-skipper edged behind but was dropped without a run to his name.
With 15 overs remaining Saughall needed exactly 10 runs an over to win but as the boundaries continued to flow so did the belief that the league-leaders could pull off something quite extraordinary.
With 27 runs required off the final over, and the field entirely spread around the boundaries, Saughall sensibly decided to adopt a no-risk policy, mindful not to give their closest league rivals any extra bonus points, but some maverick strokeplay from Ben Salisbury gave the visitors their biggest cheer.
He plundered three further boundaries to bring up his first-ever century and ended unbeaten on 101 as he and Chris Andrews (71no) broke the league record partnership for the fourth wicket.
Their 191 stand helped Saughall to 235-3 off their 42 overs, just 14 runs short of Audlem's total.
At Capenhurst, visitors Rostherne won by nine wickets. Capenhurst were bowled out for 65. Rostherne won with 66-1 with C Bethell unbeaten on 41.