THE only team in ECB Premier League without a victory, Bramhall finally broke their duck when they beat title aspirants Nantwich by 18 runs in a major upset at Whitehouse Lane.
Bramhall, whose last win was on August 31, 2002, grafted hard to reach 203-9 off the maximum 60 overs, Australian Jay Bowman scoring 50 and Simon Wilkinson 48, while promoted second-team left-arm seam bowler Omar Mian had the excellent figures of 6-63 off 22 overs.
Nantwich crashed to 83-6 before veteran Lee Prince led a rally, but the introduction of part-time bowler Andy Hall with his flighted off-spinners earned the Cheshire skipper figures of 3-32 and enabled him to root out the tail for 185, Prince being last out for 48. Previously unbeaten in five games, Nantwich stay third but are now 57 points adrift of the top.
Despite this success, Bramhall remain 33 points short of safety and are favourites to be relegated along with Urmston, whose 10th defeat was at home to Hyde, who won by four wickets at Moorside Road. Urmston were restricted to 175-6 (Mike Ness 62, Mike Davidson 61 not out). Hyde captain John Ashley, 56, and Indian international all-rounder Rudra Singh, 46, then carried Hyde home.
The Didsbury tailenders held out to foil Neston of a much-needed victory in a lowscoring game at Parkgate.
Jamie Hackett (37) was the only batsman to figure in Neston's modest 114 (Cameron Cosstick 3-25), but the Didsbury batsmen also struggled before closing at 105-9, twin leg-spinners Simon Marshall and Dave Jones taking 3-27 and 3-29 respectively.
At the top of the table, Bowdon survived a tricky trip to Macclesfield, whose seamerfriendly pitch had all the batsmen in trouble. Bowdon looked probable losers when they were bowled out for 122 (Steve Ball 36, Simon Ackerley 4-20, Craig Melrose 4-21).
But left-arm seamer Guy Emmett turned up trumps for the champions, his 5-40 and 3-9 from Lancashire's Gary Yates combined to dismiss Macclesfield for 79 to register a 43-runs victory.
* At the top of Division One, Poynton had to be content with 15 points when they failed to root out Congleton's last pair. Barbadian Derwen Thompson was the star of the show with 59 and 3-32 for Poynton, whose lead was cut to 13 points by Widnes, who picked up 25 from a seven-wickets win at Alsager. With 7-39, Steve Titchard had his best figures for Widnes, who dismissed Alsager for 78.
Winnington Park lie 31 points behind in third place after managing only 10 from a home draw with Toft, who ran up 238-6 (Simon Hardstaff 81). Park replied with 188-8, Tom Allen 60 not out.
All the remaining three games were drawn, Warrington's 17 points haul at Upton carrying them well above the relegation zone, now firmly occupied by Heaton Mersey and Grappenhall.
The bottom of Division Two was revitalised by victories for Timperley over Marple and Tattenhall at home to Cheadle, leaving Marple and Sale in the relegation positions.
Marple included all-rounder Paul Sperring, newly-transferred from Didsbury, but despite his 54 and 3-56, Timperley won by 22 runs, Andy Cronin 44, Ray Harris 4-30 and Nick Liddell 4-44 being their key trio.
Second-placed Birkenhead Park bagged only 12 draw points against Stockport Georgians, Damon Livermore scoring 81 for Park. And with 878 runs, Livermore is on course to become the first league batsman to reach 1,000.
Bollington kept their hopes alive with an eight-wickets win at home to Irby, who have gone off colour and were all out for 68 (Brett Patterson 4-21, Kevin Waterhouse 4-25).
Bredbury eased themselves four points above the bottom two with 16 draw points at Mobberley (Dave Carr 98). Cheshire's Nafees Din scored 80 for Mobberley.
* Hyde beat Alsager by 212 runs in the last of the Quinn Thomas Cheshire Cup quarterfinals at Werneth Low on Sunday, August 3.
A stand worth 174 for the third wicket between John Ashley (116no) and Dave Fitzsimmons (103) took Hyde to a mammoth 304-6. Alsager stuck to their task splendidly in the heat, a catch by Tony Newbould to dismiss Fitzsimmons being a highlight.
Alsager were bowled out for 92 (Paul Adams 42), Rob Brierley taking 5-38 and Rudra Singh 3-3, with another brilliant catch by skipper Ashley a feature.