Sale 1st XI moved to the top of Cheshire County League Division One West with two games to go after a thrilling last-ball victory over nearest rivals Grappenhall.

Adam Roylance got the visitors off to a breezy start before Dan Newton had him caught at the wicket for 13.

Sale didn’t allow Grappenhall to score quickly as Tyrone Lawrence took the next wicket with the score on 30. Amlyn Layton and Isaac Brooks then heaped on the pressure keeping the scoring below three an over.

Ben Watkin then came on as Grappers were looking to accelerate and immediately removed Grant Hodnett for 31.

Richard Green tried to up the rate, but he fell for 36 to Rich Adams to leave the score on 101-5.

Some lower order hitting alongside some indifferent fielding allowed the visitors to reach 143, as Watkin finished with 3-47 and the returning Lawrence mopped up two more wickets to finish on 3-13.

Sale made hard work of the reply, not helped by two rain breaks that both led to Sale wickets, and when Gareth Davies fell for 22 Sale were in trouble at 63-5.

Isaac Brooks and Mat Spells then added a crucial 42-run partnership to take the score to 105 before Spells was bowled for 22.

Young Brooks kept his head as he then added 33 with veteran Mike Bishop, who after hitting two consecutive fours in the penultimate over fell for 14.

Watkins and Brooks paced the final over perfectly as Brooks scored the one run needed off the final ball to finish on 35 not out and help his side close in on finals day.

Sale 2nd XI’s hopes of qualifying for their finals day suffered a blow at Timperley as they lost by seven wickets. On Sunday Sale 3rd XI lost out to divisional leaders Didsbury. Young spinner Callum Ross took 3-27 as the visitors posted 183-7 in 40 overs.

In reply skipper Soans Praveen hot 52 and Lionel Thompson 36 as Sale could only manage 152-8 in reply.

Earlier in the week Sale Silverbacks lost a close over 40s friendly against Timperley. Mike Bishop hitting 32 retired for Sale.

Next Saturday Sale 1st XI make the short trip to Brooklands and the 2nd XI host league leaders Romiley. On Sunday the 3rd XI visit Toft and the 4th XI welcome Oulton Park 3s to Dane Road.