IT was a case of seventh time lucky as Ellesmere Port secured their first Cheshire Alliance victory of the season on Saturday with a 76-run win at Stalybridge St Paul’s.

Having been promoted last season, Port had taken time to adapt to playing at a higher level, failing to register a win in their first six matches despite a series of committed performances.

However, a relatively routine away victory over a mid-table Stalybridge leaves cause for optimism, despite Port still holding one of the two relegation spots.

Ellesmere Port captain Gareth Boys paid tribute to his players and said: “This result is what we’ve been waiting for. We’ve outplayed every team, but just haven’t been able to cross the finishing line.

“We’ve talked about staying up, but we’re as good as most other sides in this league and we’ll look to push for the top five or six.

“We know we’re good enough to win the league, but realistically it’s unlikely now. We’ll just take each game as it comes.”

Winning the toss and batting first, Port posted a score of 155, with skipper Boys (47) and Tom Mitchell (44no) resurrecting the innings after their side was initially reduced to 55-5.

In reply, St Paul’s were dismissed for just 79, after a ruthless assault from the visiting bowlers ripped through the hosts’ top-order.

Timoor Shah in particular was outstanding, returning figures of 5-4 in a breathtaking 19-ball spell that left the home side reeling. Shah was ably supported by Dwayne Bernard, whose 4-36 from 11 overs helped guide the team to victory on what was undoubtedly a bowler’s wicket.

Ellesmere Port’s next match is at home to Wirral on Saturday.