Oxton bump up lead

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Further widespread disruption to the Cheshire League programme on Saturday after another wet week saw Oxton stretch their lead to 42 points.

Only two ECB Premier League matches were cancelled including the one between Hyde and Neston who have both been hit hard recently by cancellations.

After Neston’s county-wide journey, Hyde made great efforts to render the ground fit, but standing water in the outfield eventually left them no option but to accept seven points each.

This proved to be to the advantage of Oxton, who won by three wickets at Widnes to open up the gap between them and second placed Hyde of 42 points, an impressive margin with the season’s halfway mark arriving next week-end.

Put into bat in a game at Beaconsfield Road in a game reduced to the minimum 60 overs, Widnes’ recent poor batting run continued and they were bundled out for 102 (Andy Ford 35), pace twins Andy Birley and Gayan Fernando, bowling unchanged to take 5-28 and 4-54 respectively.

Birley now leads the division’s wicket-takers with 30. Oxton were made to struggle after tea by Aussie off-spinner Michael Nalesnyik who took 6-23, before scrambling home on 103 for seven, Mark Debrabender scoring a useful 29 and Chris Davies 21.

Macclesfield shot up from sixth to fourth place with a 52 runs home win over Chester Boughton Hall in a match which lost only six overs to rain. Khalid Sawas, 68 and Rick Hough, 65, top-scored in Macc’s useful 189 for five. To which CBH replied with 137, Lee Dixon being last out for a defiant 87.

The wickets were shared between Jack Ward, 3-16, Craig Melrose, 3-40 and Ian Tait, 3-45.

Reigning champions Nantwich scored an impressive five wicket win in a high-scoring 80 overs game at Urmston after the home side had batted well to post 204 for six, skipper Sumit Panda 90 not out, Lewis Jackson 44, while promising young spinner Ollie Griffiths’ took 4-84.

The Dabbers got home with two balls to spare at 205 for four thanks to Chris Simpson, 56, Ollie Law, 41 not out, Jonny Kettle 37 and a late contribution from Sam Hunt with two match-winning sixes. Rana Malook took 3-97.

Toft’s teenage spinners Danny Hancock, 4-38 from 14 overs and Robin Jones, 3-58 off 21, combined to bowl Alderley Edge out for 156 at Booth Park, Jon Steele 49, Calum Rowe 31.

Toft went on to win their third game in the last four at 158 for six, with eight balls to spare, Aussie Jake Hancock plundering an impressive 80, while Mark Warnes claimed 4-65.

Marple’s hopes of making further progress in the top half of the table were foiled when their ground was too wet for a start against Didsbury, the fourth time in 10 weeks they have been unable to get out on the field of play. In the ‘wrong’ half of the table, meanwhile, Didsbury needed the points to give themselves a lift.