ASHTON-on-Mersey secured promotion to the Cheshire County League on a tense final day of the season, despite just falling short of forcing a win against Stockport Trinity at The Beets.

Losing the toss and being asked to bat, Ashton made a bright start with openers Akash Patel and Peter Hatzoglou posting a fluent 50 partnership.

But the introduction of spinners Adam Hugill and Zaheer Khan dried up the runs as they bowled a probing spell in tandem.

Wickets fell as the batsmen tried to force the issue, with Zaheer recording fine figures of 4-40.

Ashton were indebted to Tom Scott who saw off the spinners before attacking the returning medium-pace bowling. Scott hit a fine half-century as the Ashton lower order scrambled the score to 179.

In reply, Trinity attacked from the start with Hugill and Aaron Cross taking advantage of some loose opening bowling.

But when Cross fell with the score on 80, Ashton found a renewed sense of purpose.

Skipper James Marshall and spinner Ed Faulkner bowled excellent spells to prompt a collapse which reduced Trinity to 104-7.

With Ashton needing to take all 10 wickets to ensure the win which would guarantee promotion, tension grew as the Trinity tail-enders dug in.

As the final over began Trinity found themselves eight down, losing their ninth wicket with three balls remaining.

The final ball of the innings saw a huge shout for lbw, but when that was turned down and Trinity closed on 147-9, Ashton were left waiting for results from elsewhere to decide their fate.

When news filtered through that promotion rivals Cheadle Hulme had also drawn at Kingsley, the Beets erupted in celebration at Ashton’s first promotion in 10 years.

The success capped off a fine season, with the team having great strength in depth and a fine spirit.

It was fitting the final-day team included both Mark Timms and Andrew Roscow, players who have been at the heart of Ashton for many years and contributed hugely both on and off the pitch.

And the day was made even sweeter when news came through the Ashton second XI had secured sufficient bonus points in a narrow loss at Alvanley to secure their survival in the County League.

Alvanley made 183-7 (Asim Khan 3-11, Harry Vogt 3-48) before Ashton were 177 all out (Ollie Chow 50 not out).

In the final game of the year, the Ashton third team lost at Woodley, failing to chase down a target of 176 as the weather closed in.