Oxton stretched to limit
On a day when five out of six scheduled fixtures were played – albeit with late starts – Oxton were stretched to the limit at Didsbury after having the good fortune to win the toss and bowl first on a responsive pitch.
Didsbury batted well to post 214 for seven in 50 overs, skipper Nick Anderson, 52 and Johan van Schalkwyck, 45, adding 80 for the third wicket. Andy Birley, 3-56 was the best bowler.
Oxton were given a boost by a fine third wicket stand worth 130 between former Kiwi Test player Lou Vincent, 77, who produced one of his best innings and Simon Stokes, 59. Ross Dixon then scored a cameo 24 to help his side over the line at 218 for six with one ball remaining. Andy Windle took 3-48.
There was an equally tight finish to Macclesfield v Marple with Macc opting to bat first and total a troubled 152 for eight thanks to James Crosthwaite, 43 and Khalid Sawas, 30 who had to concentrate hard against the accurate spin of Andy Greasley, 4-55.
Marple were helped on their way by Andy McGuinness 38, James Crisall 34 and Mark Bennett 31, but suffered a break down from 138 for four to 147 for nine.
With one over remaining and six runs needed Malpas – and former England paceman Jimmy Ormond 31 not out - opted to block out to a losing draw, collecting five points to their hosts’ six.
Rob Porter, 5-45 was the bowler who stopped Marple in their tracks. Macclesfield stay in second place.
Chester Boughton Hall continued their good form when they ended Toft’s own good run at Booth’s Park by 53 runs and now lie fourth in the table.
CBH posted 186 for nine, Lee Dixon 39, Steve Ogilby 32, Danny Hancock 3-32, Jimmy Lomas 3-86. In reply, Toft mustered 133, the consistent Shaun Mudalige closing on 41 not out, with the spinners winning the day for Chester, Mark Rowland claiming 5-51 and Jack Williams 3-44.
Reigning champions Nantwich did their hopes of a late season surge a power of good by winning a 78 overs match at Alderley Edge, who finally managed to get in some cricket on their monsoon-hit ground.
Put in on a helpful pitch, Alderley could make nothing of Nantwich paceman Jimmy Warrington, who recently became the proud father of twins. Bowling Alderley out for 125 (Adam Worrall 32), Warrington returned the remarkable figures of 8-54, being partnered unchanged by Alex Matthews, with 2-65.
They were helped by wicket-keeper Jonny Kettle who claimed six victims with four catches and two stumpings. The Dabbers went on to win by four wickets at 127 for six, Louis Bentley showing his skill with a hard-earned 50 and Ray Doyle 33 not out, while Jason Whittaker toiled away to good effect with 3-56.
Nantwich move back into the top half of the table, 61 points behind the leaders – to make up the ground will be a tall order to complete a hat-trick of titles.
Neston won a low-scoring game at Urmston by 16 runs to keep their Manchester hosts at the foot of the table. This seemed unlikely when Neston had posted an all-out 121 at tea, Luke Camden 56, Adam Syddall being virtually unplayable with a return of 8-49.
But the Urmston batting – Lewis Jackson (49) apart, again let them down and they were all out for 105, teenage leg spinner James Crick taking 5-26 off 16 well controlled overs.
The Widnes v Hyde match at Beaconsfield Road fell foul to week of heavy rain, a flooded area near the scorebox persuading the umpires that play would be too dangerous despite both teams wishing to start.
Seven points apiece leaves Widnes in an unhealthy 11th position and sees Hyde - like Widnes, kept idle for the third time in the last six weeks - still in third place