ASHTON-on-Mersey kept their promotion prospects alive with a gutsy win in a tense contest at Kingsley.

With both teams missing some first-team regulars, it always promised to be an intriguing contest and so it proved.

After losing the toss and being asked to bowl, Ashton found early success through Josh Knowles, who used the new ball superbly to remove both openers with only 16 runs on the board.

The home side were indebted to Warman who batted well to hold their innings together, but the rest of the home line-up struggled against a mixture of seam and spin.

When Warman fell two short of his half-century to a smart slip catch by Mike Roberts off the bowling of skipper James Marshall, Kingsley were staring down the barrel.

But some lusty late-order hitting by Craig Lynch helped take the total to 131 before the last wicket fell.

The wickets were shared among the Ashton bowlers with Marshall and Ed Faulkner picking up three each.

In reply, Ashton set off well despite the loss of Akash Patel who unluckily played on to Ben Stoddart.

But with the score on 27, a batting collapse put the game in doubt.

Lynch removed three key players for single figures, and with opener Roberts being adjudged lbw and a mix-up leading to a run- out, Ashton found themselves on the brink at 39-6.

But when skipper Marshall was joined by Knowles, both players dug deep to claw Ashton back into the match.

With a mixture of watchful defence and the ability to put the bad ball away, the pair put on a stand of 78 to take Ashton within sight of victory.

But the drama was not over, as Marshall fell to Lynch for a superb 53, shortly followed by Knowles.

With 13 runs needed, Ashton were grateful to have the cool head of the experienced Mark Timms in the middle.

But when the ninth wicket fell with still seven runs needed, the tension was huge as last man Dan Higgins joined Timms.

However, Higgins was nerveless, striking the winning runs to secure a vital maximum points win for Ashton as they reached 132-9.

This was a fine battling performance from Ashton which keeps them hot on the heels of the Division One promotion places.

The Ashton second XI made it a maximum-points Saturday as they beat an under-strength Davenham side at The Beets.

Davenham were 103 all out (Asim Khan 4-49, Lee Heap 3-15) before Ashton totalled 106-3 (Asim Khan 70 not out).

The third team fell to defeat at home on Sunday against Sale. Sale posted 210-9, mostly due to a century from the experienced Ian Harrop.

In reply, Ashton were going well at 90-3 before a hat-trick (all bowled) by Vaasu Goyal turned the match in Sale's favour.

Ashton were eventually dismissed for 119 (Ben Brazendale 44, Nathan D'Cunha 44).