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Champions Nantwich go top

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Nantwich have gone top of the Chapel Press Cheshire ECB Premier League for the first time after a comprehensive 68 runs victory at Widnes.

With an 11 points advantage, they will clinch their third successive title if they win their remaining two games which are at home to Urmston next Saturday and at Toft on the last day of the season.

The Dabbers sent Widnes back to the foot of the table after posting 200 for nine, Ray Doyle 73, Sam Hunt 30, Sam Agarwal 4-38. To which Widnes replied with 132 all out, Danny Naughton 58, with spinner Ollie Griffiths taking 3-29 and paceman Chris Connolly 3-36.

Missing from the winners’ line-up was star batsman Louis Bentley, preparing for Lancashire’s 2nd XI cup final against Middlesex at Radlett.

Oxton virtually put paid to Macclesfield’s hopes when they bowled out their hosts for 53, the lowest premiership tally of the season and trail the Dabbers by 11 points.

Macc batsmen were all at sea and slumped to 25 for nine before a last wicket stand worth 28 between skipper Barney Cutbill, 17 and Ian Tait, 11, took them over the half-century mark.

The pacemen who did the damage were Andy Birley, 5-18 and Gayan Fernando, 5-34 bowling unchanged. Oxton struggled at 30 for four before winning without further loss, Tait 2-25, Craig Melrose 2-33.

Said losing skipper Cutbill: “We have batted very badly in the last two games and have no excuse, although losing the toss in this game was a vital factor”.

Hyde and Chester Boughton Hall warmed up for their Cheshire Cup final next day with a superb match at Werneth Low which went to the penultimate ball.
Thanks to a fine innings of 128 from Lee Dixon, Chester recovered from 81 for six and looked safe with a final tally of 243 for nine, Greg Lomax 4-73.

But the Hyde batsman are bang in form, especially skipper Danny Berry, who scored 99 and Scott Kirwin, 63 as they scraped home with their last pair at the crease when Lomax hit a four off the fifth ball of the last over to reach 247 for nine.

For CBH, Alex Kegg took 5-91 off 23 accurate overs and Jack Williams 4-63 off 15. Hyde now lie third, 12 points behind top place.

Marple edged up to fifth with a 102 runs home win against Neston, whose batting continues to fail. Marple posted 184 for nine, the highlight being an unbroken stand worth 64 for the 10th wicket between Steve Worrall, 53 and Andy Greasley, 13 to hoist their tally to 184 for nine, Andy McGuinness 47, Chad Wilson 4-30, Chris Finegan 3-41.

Neston were bowled out for 82, Luke Camden 28. Andy Wylie 5-23 and Greasley 5-54 wreaked havoc bowled unchanged.

Toft moved off bottom spot with a seven wickets home win against Didsbury, largely thanks to Aussie opener Jake Hancock, who scored his fourth century of the season, but may now be returning home and missing the last two games.

Didsbury were restricted to 151 for nine, Jonny Fawcett 51 not out, Nick Anderson 50, Jimmy Lomas returning a notable 6-58 off 27 overs. Hancock then went to work and was unbeaten with 107 out of 152 for three after an opening stand worth 88 with skipper Toby Drummond, 21.

Alderley Edge routed Urmston for 68 at the UCG, Jason Whittaker taking 4-29 and Zaymn Chapman 3-9 with not a single batsman achieving double figures.

Earlier, Alderley had recovered from 88 for five to post 204 for seven, with Whittaker, 42, a leading figure alongside Nick Reid, 53 not out. In a rare bright spot, the losers’ skipper Sumit Landa took 4-40.