ASHTON-on-Mersey maintained their Cheshire Cricket League Division One promotion push despite coming out on the wrong side of a hard-fought battle with fellow title contenders Cheadle Hulme.

Losing the toss and being invited to bat on a green-tinged wicket, the Ashton opening pair of Akash Patel and Dave Patterson fought hard to see off the potent Cheadle Hulme attack

But with the score on 57 both openers departed, heralding a mini collapse as both Ed Faulkner and Peter Hatzoglou fell without troubling the scorers.

But James Lines and Tom Scott came together to weather the storm, gradually getting on top of the bowling.

Lines was dismissed shortly after posting his 50, but Scott continued to dominate the home bowling, finishing unbeaten on a fine 81 as Ashton passed the 200 mark and closed on 216-5.

Tom Whitehouse recorded the leading bowling figures of 3-51.

In reply, Cheadle’s opening batsmen Chris Taylor and Humayan Khalid played superbly to first blunt and then take apart the Ashton attack.

With Ashton not taking advantage of the chances that came their way, Taylor starred as the home side posted a first-wicket partnership of 169.

Ashton did well to capture late wickets, including Taylor for a superb 109, but the damage had been done with Cheadle finishing on 217-5 to complete a five-wicket win with two overs to spare. Hatzoglou finished with figures of 3-65.

It was a game between two equally-matched sides, where the toss proved crucial.

Ashton were grateful the bonus points they obtained from the game kept them above Cheadle Hulme in the table going into the next round when they host Runcorn.

In the second XI clash between the teams, Ashton produced a fine performance to record a 44-run win at The Beets.

They made 154 all out (Callum Ramsey 73 not out, Stuart Wilson 7-48) before Cheadle Hulme were all out for 110 (Ollie Chow 6-22).