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Two to tango in Cheshire

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The closest finish in the League’s 36 year history is in prospect next Saturday with only two points separating the main ECB Cheshire Cricket Premiership title challengers Hyde and Nantwich.

Hyde kept their noses in front with a 17 run victory over Neston at Werneth Low which virtually ends the Parkgate side’s hopes.

Hyde match-winner was again their Cambridge UCCE and Lancashire 2nd paceman Rob Woolley with a superb 8-55 return off 18 overs which saw Neston bowled out for 147 with Jack Smith contributing 41.

It was Woolley’s third eight-wicket haul and virtually matches his 8-56 at Neston in June. Batting first, Hyde posted 164, Danny Leech 57, Rob Woolley 46 while James Hawley took 5-40.

Nantwich, meanwhile, won by the more comfortable margin of 78 runs at Chester Boughton Hall after declaring at 258 for five. Lou Vincent made 81 – giving him a tally of 1,034 runs in 2010 with Rob Howell adding 45 and James Williams taking 4-80.

Chester were 45 for one when star batsman Warren Goodwin was out for 39 after which the Dabbers got on top with their pace trio all performing well: Jimmy Warrington 4-71, Vincent 3-24 and Barrington Browne 3-49 as Chester closed on 180 all out.

Oulton Park remain in the hunt should the top two falter after a seven wickets victory at Toft which hoists their points tally to 347.

Toft were dismissed for 192, former Uppingham Schoolboy Henry Hughes top-scoring with 65, while Nathan Dumelow claimed 4-66. Oulton coasted home on 193 for three, Jonny Kettle 70 not out, Ben Spendlove 55, Dumelow 53 not out.

Next Saturday, Hyde will be certain of clinching their first title if they take 24 points at Bramhall, while Nantwich may require all 25 from the visit of Oxton to do likewise.

2009 champions Oulton Park, at home to Urmston, just need the top two to have at best, a thoroughly a bad day. And if it’s a washout, the status quo applies.

After having key batsman Jordan Clark called up to debut for Lancashire against Worcestershire at Liverpool, Bowdon lost by five wickets at Oxton and with 271 points in 11th place and are in real danger of relegation from the top tier for the first time.

Oxton bowled Bowdon out for 150, Stephen Bramhall 84, Ross Dixon 5-46, Mark Rowland 3-26, then responded with a comfortable 151 for five, Sean Moore 37, Ross Dixon 32, both not out, a victory which lifts them to fifth spot.

Urmston edged out of the bottom two with an eight wickets win on the ground of already-relegated Bramhall, who mustered just 135, former Indian Test all-rounder Samit Panda taking 6-55 and Ian Grindley 4-51.

Urmston replied with 136 for two, Panda 62 not out and now have 272 points.

Alderley Edge prepared for the next day’s Cheshire Cup final with a 17 run victory at Didsbury after declaring on 196 for nine, Alan Day top-scoring with 45, while Richard Wilkinson’s 39 takes him past 1,000 league runs.

Didsbury were all out for 179 with Nick Anderson scoring 70, Paul Sperring 52 and Charlie Reid finishing with 4-42.