CHESTER'S 1st XI's season went into freefall on Saturday.
From challenging for the league a month ago, a third successive defeat (this time against Urmston) has left the Filkins Lane team struggling to stay in contention for runners up.
Chester asked Urmston to bat first on a good wicket. The visiting openers responded magnificently, both posting half-centuries in a 123 stand.
As last week David Shewring stemmed the flow and as last week he gradually picked up wickets as the batsmen grew in frustration. What could have been a colossal total was controlled to 212 all out with the outstanding Shewring pocketing 6-75 off 19 overs. The final wicket of the innings also brought up Heath Pritchard's 50th of the season - a fine effort.
Chester's reply was tame and lacking in any of the good qualities that they have displayed this season. At 11-4 it was 'game over' and from then on only a draw was played for. Ed Roberts led the resistance manfully but his two-hour 34 was cruelly ended by a tenuous lbw. Late order resistance came from the ubiquitous Shewring but his 24 only got the home team within nine overs of safety.
Next weekend is a real test of what this team is made of. A tough league trip to Macclesfield is the only chance for Chester to halt the slump before Sunday's big semi-final at home to Bowden.