GROVES opened their Meller Braggins League campaign with a narrow defeat at Sandbach on Saturday.
The Ellesmere Port side, promoted from the Cheshire Alliance last summer, overcame a middle-order collapse to post a total of 160ao.
The hosts then lost eight wickets on their way to victory, Gary Threadgold frustrating Groves with an excellent half-century.
Groves skipper Mike Garvey said: “We were happy with a total of 160 on a bit of a dodgy track, but it turns out we were probably 20 runs short.
“I’m very happy with the bowling and fielding efforts and if it wasn’t for an excellent knock for Threadgold, I think we’d have come away with 25 points.”
Groves, who were without injured wicket-keeper and opener Mark Evans (knee), won the toss and batted first.
There were good contributions from Darren Green (34) and Tony King (32).
Damien Walters (3-49) and T Garratt (2-22) were the pick of the bowlers for Groves, who host Disley this Saturday.
Ellesmere Port, playing their first game in Division One of the Cheshire Alliance having won promotion last summer, almost managed to defend a small total at Rylands.
Skipper Gareth Boys lost the toss and was asked to bat first on a wet wicket. The visitors laboured to 100ao, with only Hamulyn Khan showing any resistance late in the order.
With a strong bowling line-up, Port still fancied their chances – and they had Rylands worried, reducing them from 30-0 to 72-8. But the home side managed to reach a winning 101-8, despite the best efforts of Kamran Mukthar (5-29).
Port, who have signed a sponsorship deal with Ellesmere Port Timber and Roofing Supplies this season, host Glazebury this Saturday.
In Division Four of the Cheshire Alliance, Capenhurst (107ao) lost at home to Rylands 2nds (108-7).