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Nantwich and Hyde still battling

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There will be tension on many grounds when the final games of the Chapel Press Cheshire league season are played next Saturday.

But none more so than at Booth’s Park with Toft’s visitors Nantwich needing to win to complete a hat-trick of ECB Premier League titles, while their hosts may themselves need full points to avoid the drop into Division One.

Nantwich find themselves in such an excellent position after sending Urmston to the foot of the table with an eight wickets demolition job at Whitehouse Lane, their seventh 25 pointer from the last eight games.

It should be remembered that the Dabbers made a wretched start to season, their first eight games reading won 2, drawn 1, cancelled 1, lost 4.

Louis Bentley, scored a superlative 89 not out and Jonny Kettle, 40, as Nantwich coasted to a comfortable 157 for two. This was after Urmston had opted to bat and been held to 153 for eight, Samit Panda 38, Adam Syddall 33 not out, Chris Connolly 4-24, Jimmy Warrington 3-55.

Hyde, the only other club now capable of pipping Nantwich, remain second 12 points behind after beating a disappointing Neston side by six wickets at Parkgate where the home side’s batting - so good in the National and T20 cups - again collapsed.

Mark Garrett top-scored with 33 in Neston’s tally of 126, Scott Kirwin 4-27, Joe Dawber 4-28. Hyde replied with 130 for four in 25 overs Tom Twiney 45 leaving Neston with points to gather from their final game – at Macclesfield - to ensure remaining in the top flight.

Hyde’s chance of pipping Nantwich for the title won’t be easy as they have to visit a determined Marple side, up to their highest Premiership placing of third after winning by eight wickets at Didsbury.

An injured player meant Didsbury batted only 10 men, but they mustered only 76 runs, Johann von Schalkwyck 30, Andy Greasley taking 5-30 off 25 tight overs. With Andy Hall unbeaten on 36, Marple had the game won at 78 for two in only 23 overs.

When Toft - without star batsman Jake Hancock who has returned to Oz - pulled off a splendid victory at Alderley Edge to take their hopes of safety into the last game, their match winner was England junior Rob Jones with a splendid all-round performance.

Jones took 4-41 and partnered Danny Hancock, 4-21, to bowl Alderley out for 127, Mark Currie 46, Adam Wildig 37. Toft were in trouble at 112 for seven after vital innings from Rob Jones 53, and Henry Hughes 27, but wicket-keeper Pat Ashling, 26 not out saw them through without further loss. Jason Whittaker took two wickets to top the 50 mark for the campaign.

Inconsistent Widnes had one of their better days to end Oxton’s fading hopes at Townfield Lane. With no Lou Vincent, Oxton were held to 174 for eight, Tom Marsland 52, Gayan Fernando 33, Sam Agarwal 5-42, then had Widnes in trouble at 91 for five.

In stepped skipper Ian Spencer to score a priceless 48 and partner Sean Moore, 33 not out, in a sixth wicket stand worth 70 which led to a final tally of 175 for seven and full points. Gayan Fernando took 3-53.

Macclesfield’s collapse continued after an 11.30 a.m. start at Chester Boughton Hall where they were overwhelmed by nine wickets and have now taken only one point from their last three outings.

Macclesfield posted 150, James Crosthwaite 73, Mark Rowland 4-23, Jack Williams 4-57 after which CBH coasted home at 151 for one, Warren Goodwin remaining unbeaten with 77 and Mike Robinson 52 in an unbroken stand worth 110.