Can Dabbers complete hat-trick of titles?
Their comprehensive eight wickets victory over leaders Macclesfield at Whitehouse Lane on Saturday has opened up the possibility of Nantwich completing a hat-trick of ECB Premier League titles.
This feat has only previously been achieved by Bowdon (2002-3-4) and Oulton Park (2005-6-7) but Nantwich moved to within nine points of Macclesfield and face relegation-strugglers Widnes, Urmston and Toft in the final three games.
The Silkmen have tougher assignments versus Oxton, Chester Boughton Hall and Neston.
Macc were undone by superb swing bowling by Jimmy Warrington, whose personal best 8-53 made him the first premiership bowler to top 50 wickets.
They were bowled out for 99 in 43 overs after an early rain stoppage, the only player to show enough technical ability to blunt Warrington being, appropriately the league’s leading batsman Khalid Sawas, with a gritty 45 out of 84 for six in 38 overs.
Left arm spinner Ollie Griffiths gave good support with 2-11 off 13 tight overs.
The wicket remained lively and Macc pacemen Ian Tate (2-41) and Jack Ward both suffered from dropped catches as Louis Bentley, 50 and Jonny Kettle, 39 not out hurried their side to victory inside 20 covers to complete a 25 – 0 points victory.
Saturday was yet another wet day and only two other games were played to a finish, one being at Filkins Lane where Chester Boughton Hall beat Neston by seven wickets to stay fifth, with a decent chance of rising higher.
They bowled Neston out for 149, David Hurst 37, Mark Rowland 4-52. CBH replied with 153 for three with a a forceful unbeaten 63 from Lee Dixon and 55 from his Cheshire colleague Warren Goodwin.
At the foot of the table, Toft lost their fourth successive game and are now 26 points adrift of safety with Didsbury and Alderley Edge still to play apart from a last day clash with Nantwich.
Toft were bowled out for 127 in the 44th over (Shaun Mudalige 47) by a combination of spin (Andy Greasley 6-60 from 22 overs) and the pace of former England man Jimmy Ormond (3-38 off 18).
Toft were more successful in the field and Marple struggled to win at 130 for seven with time closing in, spinners Danny Hancock taking 3-53 off 28 overs and Nigel Muirhead 3-44 off 22. A solid innings of 44 from Mark Bennett helped Marple’s cause.
Hyde were left to curse the wretched summer weather once more at Oxton where they had worked their way into a winning position after posting 228 for six, with Scott Kirwin 96 and Danny Berry 75 enjoying a 98 stand for the third wicket .
Oxton stood at 104 for five in reply at 30 overs when rain intervened, skipper Graham Cashin top scoring with an unbeaten 37. Hyde at least took 12 points from this game and lie fourth to Oxon’s third with just one point between them.
There were only 15 overs bowled in the Didsbury v Urmston game before rain submerged the ground, the home side reaching 45 for two on a day when both urgently needed needed a full game and the possibility of 25 points to get out of danger.
Widnes were in the same situation at Alderley Edge where they were 58 for three after 16 overs when the heavens opened, Jason Whittker having taken 3-25.