SALE suffered a heavy defeat at league leaders Oxton on Saturday after struggling to set a competitive total against the top side in Cheshire League Division One.

Sale got off to the worst possible start, losing two wickets for one run, and a third with the score on 18.

Opener Joe Cannon played a patient innings, reaching 22 before he was run out, but when he fell the score was 61-6.

A welcome return to form from Chris Canning ensured Sale reached three figures with a typically-combative 53 not out as he marshalled the tail effectively.

Sale lost their final wicket in the 50th over, but a total of 119 was never likely to be enough.

Dan Newton struck in the second over of Oxton’s reply, but after that it was plain sailing for the league leaders, who lost two more wickets before they reached their target in the 34th over.

Sale’s second XI did no better in the reverse fixture at Dane Road, after being bundled out for 110 inside 44 overs.

Young opener James Dodds top scored with 31 and veteran Nige Davenport hitting 43, but Oxton made short work of their reply, knocking off the runs for the loss of two wickets in the 30th over.

The third team provided the club’s highlight of the weekend, chasing down 222 in the final over at Grappenhall.

Ghani Khan (3-52) and Viraj Sorathia (2-42) were the leading bowlers as the home side posted 222-8 in their 45 overs.

Sorathia went on to play the pivotal innings at the top of the order, hitting 102 not out as Sale reached their target with just five balls to spare. He was well supported by Nick Courtney (39) in a fourth-wicket stand of 98 and with Shashwat Rusia (35) in a stand of 67 for the fifth wicket.

The fourth XI, featuring nine juniors, were unable to pull off an upset against the league leaders Lindow on Sunday at Dane Road.

Batting first, Sale’s total was built around opener Vaasu Goyal’s 42 and 26 not out from Jack Brassell, who shepherded the lower middle order and tail.

Opening bowlers Ivan Flitcroft and Zeeshan Khan struck early in Lindow’s reply but they recovered from 35-2, with an unbeaten 83 run partnership between Simon Bolton and Tom Wilson.

Sale’s bowling remained disciplined and competitive throughout, with several difficult chances missed – Suchit Sapkal and Gabe Smith the unlucky bowlers.

Earlier in the week Sale Silverbacks played out an enjoyable over-40s fixture against Timperley.

Sale totalled 148-7 in 20 overs, Timperley’s reply fell 16 runs short, largely due to a spell of 3-27 from Nigel Bellamy.