CAPTAIN Phil Ashton has described Saturday's defeat at Chester County Officers as 'the lowest point' of his cricketing career.

The Port skipper was despondent after witnessing his side's dismal batting display which allowed the Division One leaders to canter to a comfortable seven-wicket victory.

The result leaves Port languishing in the drop zone with just three games remaining.

'We were absolutely hammered,' said Ashton.

'I can't remember being part of a side that scored a total as low as 53.

'In eight seasons as captain we have progressed each year, but not this year.

'We were very poor against one of our local rivals and the result certainly leaves us in the mire.

'It is the lowest point of my entire cricketing career but we need to respond straight away and win at least two of our last three to have any hope of avoiding relegation.'

Port were first to bat but struggled against the Officers' swing bowlers as Steve Johnson (2-13) and Andy Barlow (4-22) reduced them to just 28-6.

The Port batsmen had no answer to the bowling onslaught as Mike Clarke took the remaining four wickets for just three runs to leave the visitors 53 all out.

The Officers were confident of comfortably reaching their target but some economic bowling from Keith Gattrell and two wickets for Paul Betteridge ensured a few nervy moments before they clinched victory on 54-3.

Port will aim for a dramatic improvement when they play host to third-placed Wistaston on Saturday.