ASHTON-on-Mersey maintained their impressive start to the season with a comprehensive victory over North East Cheshire at The Beets.

Choosing to bowl first, Ashton found the visitors in attacking mode as runs flowed freely in the early overs.

But Matt Bradshaw’s opening burst with the ball eventually came good, removing the top three North East batsmen.

Jack Airey and Jake Reynolds continued to play fluently for North East, but once Ashton skipper James Marshall removed Airey with the total on 95, the door was open for the Ashton spinners to take over the game.

Ed Faulkner and Peter Hatzoglou pulled back the run rate and took wickets at regular intervals as Ashton turned the screw.

The North East lower order struggled to meet the challenge and the innings stuttered to a conclusion for a below-par 149.

Faulkner again bowled splendidly to pick up 3-23 off 11 overs with Hatzoglou taking 3-54.

In reply, Ashton reacted to the absence of their regular openers by moving Bradshaw up the order, and he responded by bludgeoning the ball to all parts of the ground to give the innings a frantic start.

When Bradshaw fell going for one shot too many, Mark Weighill took over, playing a calm innings to move the score past 60.

The game was secured for Ashton by Tom Scott who once again delivered with a fine 52 before falling with the winning post in sight.

The win eventually came by five wickets with over 20 overs to spare as Ashton reached 152-5.

Given that Ashton had several regulars missing this was a satisfying result and performance and puts the team in good heart for their top-of-the-table clash at Haslington in the next league game.

The Ashton second team fell to defeat at Neston despite a battling performance.

Neston were 183 all out, and Ashton made 153.

The third XI lost a nail-biter at Cheadle Hulme Ladybridge where, despite an unbeaten 79 from Gareth Tuff, Ashton fell 16 runs short in the run chase. Cheadle Hulme Ladybridge made 218-6 before Ashton reached 202-5.

The ladies' XI also fell short in a hard-fought game against Nantwich, making 117-9 as Nantwich totalled 151-6.