LANCASHIRE and Cheshire's early season high hopes of winning the Northern Counties League title have vanished for another year. Both counties are now engaged in a battle to avoid the "wooden spoon".

The rivals met at Hillside and finished all square. Lancashire held an interval lead after winning the foursomes 4-2. Tommy Fleetwood (Formby Hall), paired with Matthew Cox (Royal Birkdale), came in with Lancashire's biggest win of the morning 7&5. Cheshire were restricted to one win but when it came it was a huge 7&6 victory for Paul Waring of Bromborough with Caldy's Stephen Capper.

Cheshire fought back in the afternoon. Ian Winstanley from Warrington, Kevin Kean of Ashton on Mersey and Prenton's Craig Lewis all won their matches 3&2. Matthew Baldwin from Royal Birkdale and Ian Kenwright of Haydock Park were among the Lancashire winners. Cheshire won the singles 7-5 to produce a halved match 9-9.

Lancashire are in fourth position and Cheshire fifth. Both counties have played four with just one win and one match halved. The campaign now is to hope they finish above Durham.