THE Groves are making the early-season running in Division One of the Cheshire Alliance.
The Ellesmere Port side sit proudly at the top of the table after just four matches, leading second-placed Appleton by 13 points.
Newly promoted Haslington were Groves’ latest victims, going down by two wickets at Chester Road on Saturday.
Groves made hard work of what looked at one stage like being a routine win.
Haslington won the toss and opted to bat first, but they were skittled out for an insufficient 93 in 32 overs.
Wickets fell at regular intervals and they were shared between four players.
Robert Jones (3-14), Mike Garvey (3-23) and Michael Piercy (1-19) all weighed in before Steven Aldcroft cleaned up the tail with 3-7 off just three overs. Beating Lewis Clarke (4) and Miles Machin (0) with beautifully flighted deliveries, he then had Gary Davies (5) given out lbw to draw the innings to a close.
Haslington’s main resistance had been supplied by opener David France, who top-scored with 22.
Groves must have felt confident of victory but they were made to sweat by determined Haslington after losing Mark Evans (8) in the first over.
The hosts lost seven more wickets on the way to a winning score of 94, taking 26.5 overs to reach their target.
Skipper Garvey rounded off a man-of-the-match performance by top-scoring with 27, including four fours and a six.
But back-up was in short supply. Dale Cook made 10, while Keith Garrett chipped in with a useful 18 lower down the order, including a massive six that eased the jangling nerves. Otherwise, there was little to shout about for Groves as Tom Gledhill (3-47) led Haslington’s bid for an unlikely win.
Groves will be looking to protect their proud 100% record this Saturday when they travel to Wilmslow (2pm start).