ELWORTH battled out a well-deserved draw at reigning Premier Division champions Longton on Saturday.
Confidence has taken a battering in the Elworth camp of late, but skipper Dave Palin won the toss and urged aggression as he put the home team in at the crease.
Matt Buckley bowled with intent and got good movement early on, but couldn't find the edge. At the other end Jim Higgins should have had opener Rob King caught at square leg, but a sharp chance was put down.
Openers Rob King (60) and Michael Longmore (65) were stubborn as they kept up a steady run rate. King was first to depart when he hit a loose top-edged pull, which ballooned to keeper Chris Parr.
Longmore was taken out, but Staffs captain Richard Harvey and South African professional Alfonso Thomas saw the total on to 219-3 declared off just 50 overs.
The declaration looked generous to the visitors, until two balls after tea when the heavens opened.
More than two hours were lost leaving Elworth just 22 overs to play with.
With a win out of the question, Phil Cross, carrying a rib injury, remained in a swashbuckling mood and flashed the ball to the boundary around, through and over the slips before holding out for 16.
Pete Davies continued to look in good touch, but a defensive shot skipped up off his leg straight to a fielder for just 15 runs.
Rob Beech failed to make an impression, before Palin and professional Ian Mitchell started to flow at the crease.
Longton were unable to split the pair. Mitchell took his total to an unbeaten 50 as his side got four points, ending on 127-3.
Elworth's Cheshire Cup match at Grappenhall on Sunday was abandoned after eight overs.
Young bowler Chris Lowe returned 3-40 as the seconds (175-6) were just a wicket short of a win against Longton (159-9).
Betley were destroyed by Porthill Park all-rounder Neil Ellesmere (6-23) as they slumped to defeat. Simon Cork's side could muster only 120 all out against the razor-sharp Ellesmere.
The hosts got home by six wickets thanks to an unbeaten 36 by Joginder Sharma and 31 from Dave Griffiths. Betley's Richard Cooper (3-58) did best with the ball.
Crewe took a useful six points from a rain-ruined drawn clash at Kidsgrove in Division One on Saturday.
The visitors were soon in trouble against former Northants star Jeff Cooke, as they lost their first four wickets for 36 with only Jo Boyle (17) into double figures. This brought together Tom Gower and Irfanuddin who compiled a fine partnership of 86 before the latter went for 23.
Gower completed a splendid half century with eight fours and three sixes before rain intervened at 122-5.
After a break of over three hours, play finally got under way again and Gower was immediately out for 56. Richard Marsh continued his good form with 23 not out before Crewe declared on 156-7 to leave Kidsgrove just 12 overs to bat.
The home team came out with all guns blazing in an attempt to pick up a batting point or two but, despite some lusty hitting, they were pegged back by Matt Dawson who snapped up the first three wickets to reduce Kidsgrove to 55-3.
The impressive Cook was then caught by Dawson off Irfanuddin's wicket in the last of 12 frantic overs as Kidsgrove closed on 91-5.
Struggling Haslington salvaged a point from a difficult contest at Leycett.
After electing to field, a useful spell from visiting professional Simon Renshaw yielded two early wickets, reducing the hosts to 47-2.
However, excellent batting from home professional Bilal Hussain (78no) and some loose bowling allowed the score to progress to 134-2 before rain caused three hours of lost play.
From the restart, Leycett moved to 151 without further loss, leaving Haslington 26 overs to reply.
The loss of two quick wickets took the wind from their sails and they stumbled to 71-7.
A club spokesman said: 'If we fail to improve in the coming weeks a season of struggle will definitely be in the offing.'