Chester Boughton Hall made no mistake in the season’s final game, winning by 77 runs at Oxton to clinch their first Vivio Cheshire ECB Premier League title since entering the League in 1998.
It is the club’s first major title since topping the Liverpool Competition in 1994. The architect of success was Lancashire all-rounder Jordan Clark who maintained the form which recently helped the club retain the Cheshire Cup, with a fine all-round performance against old Wirral rivals Oxton at Townfield Lane.
Clark top-scored with 89 in a modest tally of 179, the next highest scorer after the top four batsmen had been dismissed for single figures being teenager Harry Killoran, with 25 at nine. Sri Lankan paceman Gayan Fernando took 5-49 and Martyn Evans 3-66.
Oxton never looked like matching that score, and despite a spirited unbeaten 41 from Fernando, they were dismissed for 102 in 29 overs, Clark winding up with 5-37 and Alex Kegg 4-45.
Chester thus finished 12 points clear of runners-up Neston, both clubs winning 15 games after the Parkgate men completed a 172 annihilation of Grappenhall. How they must curse the form that temporarily deserted them at Bowdon seven days earlier, their only defeat in the second half of the season.
Skipper David Hurst led the way with a fine 110 aided by Luke Camden, 56 not out in a third wicket stand of 150 which prefaced a bold declaration at 230 for five from 52 overs.
Grappenhall, beaten by Chester a week earlier after running up 242 for eight, were routed for 58, the division’s lowest score of the season, the damage being done by Andy Clarke 4-15 and Ash Davis 3-17.
Hyde finished well clear of their rivals in third after notching up a fourth successive victory, by four wickets at home to Macclesfield, whose relegation they thus ensured. Macc scored 211, Khalid Sawas 74, Scott Kirwin 5-70, Chris Tipper 4-25 and Hyde responded with 212 for six, Danny Berry 72 and Kirwin 48, while James Duffy’s unbeaten 41 took him past the magic 1,000.
Alderley Edge maintained their momentum to finish a creditable fourth with a home win over Didsbury, which spelled relegation for them. Emergency opener Jason Whittaker scored 54 and number 10 batsman Chris Cook 52 as Alderley recovered from 122 for eight to close on 193 for eight, Simon Normanton 4-23.
Didsbury fell 22 runs short at 170, Nick Anderson and Matt Marfani joint top-scoring with 38, while Whittaker rounded off an outstanding personal season with 3-47.
Nearer the foot of the table, Marple were beaten for the sixth time in their last seven outings and narrowly escape the drop. They were dismissed for 174, Andrew Hall 77, Gary Cash 47, eight of the remaining batsmen being dismissed for single figures.
Chris Ashling claimed 4-45 and Gareth Edwards 4-58. Bowdon won comfortably at 222 for six, Simon Marshall top-scoring with 81, aided by James McDougall, 39 and Mark Chilton, 31.
Champions for the past three seasons, Nantwich have to be content with a modest ninth place after a winning draw at home to Toft in a match dominated by their Lancashire contractee Liam Livingstone.
The young man from Barrow in Furness with a big Red Rose future contributed a fine 117 to Nantwich’s tally of 282 for four, helped by Frank Farrington 52, Jonny Kettle 44 and Ray Doyle 43 not out.
Toft were indebted for their draw points to Aussie Josh Hancock who carried his bat for 113 in a final tally of 267 for nine, Henry Hughes 59. Livingstone enjoyed his best bowling spell of 5-30, helped by Ollie Griffiths 3-78 while wicket-keeper Farrington ended a good day with a catch and two stumpings.