THE Groves slumped to defeat at Barrow on Saturday – their third loss in as many TACS Partnership Cheshire League matches.

The visitors’ chances were not helped by the late loss of Mike Garvey to injury, and also the continued absence of key men Damian Walters and Martin Flanagan.

Groves skipper Mike Caulfield lost the toss and was asked to bat first on a damp but drying wicket.

With Garvey missing, Caulfield decided to open the batting with Nick Brimble.

The skipper went on to make 77, recovering from a slow start which saw Groves score 12 from the first 12 overs.

While Caulfield held firm, wickets fell regularly at the other end until John Suresh (32) came in and lent some support to his captain.

Following Caulfield’s departure, Jack Finlay (12) chipped in as Groves posted a total of 152-9 off their 45 overs.

But the Groves bowlers had no answer to Barrow’s batsmen as the Division Three title chasers swept to 155-2.

Caulfield said: “We’ve got to the turn with a reasonable amount of points on the board but we can’t rest on our laurels as we’ve lost three on the bounce now and we can easily get sucked back into a relegation fight again.”

The Groves travel to Sandbach on Saturday.

In Division One of the Cheshire Alliance, Ellesmere Port were well beaten at Appleton. After being asked to bat first, the visitors were skittled out for just 63, Gareth Boys top-scoring with 16. Appleton replied with 64-3 (Abdul Qahar 1-8, Paul Betteridge 1-14).

The Port travel to Stretton this Saturday.

In Division Three on Saturday, Steve Batty (72) and Alan Simkins (68) were in the runs as Capenhurst claimed a convincing home win over Appleton 2nds.

The visitors were all out for 146 and Cape hit back with 150-2.