CRICKET across the Cheshire County League continues to be disrupted by the wet weather as three out of four Sale games over the weekend were curtailed by rain.

The only game that did reach a finish turned out to be a thriller as the fourth XI lost by just two runs to neighbours Ashton-on-Mersey thirds.

The cricket world’s eyes may have been on a match up the road at Old Trafford, but the day’s drama took place at Dane Road as Sale came agonisingly close to a first win of the season.

Ashton-on-Mersey managed to recover from 80-8 to inch closer and closer to the target of 140, which the visitors reached with three balls to spare.

Sale’s total was set up by a solid top-order performance, featuring Theo Brodbeck (38), Chris Dyson (22) and Chris Smith (17).

Boosted by extras, Sale reached 93-1 after 22 overs.

Ashton were indebted to a controlled opening spell  from Callum Ramsey and Anirudh Anil and wickets then fell regularly, and apart from some strong blows by Max Bishop, the innings looked like stalling.

It took an injection of energy from Tris Brodbeck and Callum Ross to lift Sale to 139-7 at the innings close.

The bowling honours went to Anil who recorded fine figures of 3-26.

Ashton started positively, with Gareth Tuff and Lee Griffiths both looking settled.

But they were pegged back when Ivan Flitcroft bowled both openers.

At the other end, Arnav Kamble bowled a controlled and challenging spell, without luck.

The game began to turn Sale’s way when off-spinner Callum Ross took three wickets, including a sprawling one-handed catch by Flitcroft, and Rahul Minocha picked up a maiden senior wicket, with the first of two catches by Maaz Khan.

Tris Brodbeck accounted for two more of the Ashton batsmen and Sale seemed on the verge of victory.

From 39-0, Ashton were reduced to 75-8 with a heavy defeat looking likely.

But Ashton’s ninth-wicket pair of Nathan D’Cunha and Anil came together to produce a partnership that could not be separated.

The climax of an enthralling game found Ashton needing eight runs off the last over, and in a frantic finish the pair got Ashton over the line with two balls to spare finishing on 140-8.

Man-of-the-match Anil finished on 40 not out to add to his earlier wickets.

Captain Smith spurned two opportunities, dropping one and declining the chance to ‘time out’ the other when at least five minutes elapsed as the players waited for him to appear at the start of his innings.

With that exception, it was an excellent performance in the field, with wicketkeeper Indi Minocha setting the standard.

Ashton’s victory sees them maintain their place in mid table as they look to build on the victory on the coming weeks.

Both Sale's Saturday games started on time, but with rain forecast later in the afternoon they were inevitably abandoned during the first innings.

Despite this, the first XI did their best to produce a result after they were put into bat on a bowler-friendly surface at Romiley.

Only Mike Bishop (14) reached double figures as Sale reached 64-9 after 25 overs when the rain arrived.

The second XI game at Dane Road only reached the 13th over, with Viraj Sorathia (16) and James Dodds (10) looking untroubled as Sale reached 28-0 when the game was abandoned,

The thirds did not even get that far on Sunday, despite an improved forecast as the Toft square was already waterlogged from the previous day.

This week the first XI host Bollington and the seconds visit Stockport Georgians.

On Sunday, the third XI host Stockport Georgians and the fourths travel to North East Cheshire.