ASHTON-on-Mersey fell agonisingly short at Middlewich, failing to force a win against a resilient side fighting against relegation from Cheshire Cricket League Division One.

Choosing to bat first, Ashton found a two-paced pitch that hindered shot-making.

But showing a determination which has been lacking in recent weeks, the batting line-up grafted for their runs.

Several players got into the 20s and 30s, only to perish when trying to accelerate.

A late flurry from Akash Patel and Craig Stow took the total to 179-6, which was about par on the day.

In reply, Middlewich struggled against the probing bowling of Ben Johnson who took the first five wickets as the home side slumped to 96-7.

But a rear-guard effort by Alex Gill and Phil Parry kept the bowlers at bay and a magnificent direct hit run-out by Stow was needed to break the partnership, removing Gill for 42.

Ashton pressed for the win, but Parry held firm and Middlewich hung on to block out the final overs and end on 155-9 to earn a draw.

Ashton will be disappointed not to have forced a result against one of the league's strugglers but will be happy to see their batters finding some form ahead of the upcoming Cheshire Shield final.

The seconds romped to victory in a one-sided game against Middlewich.

Lee Heap’s five wickets saw Middlewich bowled out for 62, before Josh Coleridge smacked an unbeaten 54 as the home side raced to a nine-wicket win.

The third XI recorded back-to-back victories as they dominated Woodford to post a 10-wicket win.

Woodford made 91-9 (Connor Kearney 3-9) before Ashton eased to 92-0 (Josh Knowles 63 not out).