Sale Cricket Club’s third XI stepped up their Premier Division title challenge with a good win against Marple and Compstall in the Cheshire County League on Sunday.

Leaders Stockport Georgians saw their home game against Nantwich abandoned after 15 overs, meaning a win for Sale would allow them to close the gap to four points with a game in hand.

They took the shorter-than-normal trip to Ashton-on-Mersey, who were hosting Marple due to their ground being unavailable. Sale won the toss and asked the ‘home’ side to bat first.

Marple were soon reduced to 18-2, with Rahul Palaninathan taking both wickets. Andrew Gichero made 35 at the top of the order, but when he was fourth man out Marple were 65-4.

Grant Whittaker (two) and Tom Smart took three middle-order wickets before Palaninathan (7-33) returned to mop up the tail as Marple were bowled out for 124 in the 37th over.

Sale made short work of the reply, with Tom Jenkinson hitting 23 off 21 balls on his old stomping ground, and Grant Whittaker 39 off just 25 balls.

An unbeaten 27 from Asad Khan and 17 from Shachi Pai saw Sale home for the loss of four wickets inside 17 overs.

This proved to be the only cricket played last week, the whole Cheshire programme wiped out on Saturday, including fourth-placed Sale firsts entertaining third-placed Romiley and Sale second XI’s visit to Cheadle.

Earlier in the week, Sale Silverbacks’ game against Toft was cancelled due to a waterlogged square, but the two points gained were enough to sneak into the final play-off place, meaning a quarter-final trip to either Chester or Wallasey.

On Saturday, Sale second XI host Chester Boughton Hall and the firsts make the short trip to Timperley. On Sunday, Sale third XI welcome Nantwich to Dane Road.