The race for the Cheshire County League Division One title is set to go down to the wire with just 32 points covering the top five teams after the latest round of matches, writes Rob Moore.

Sale are very much in the mix in third after beating fourth-placed Macclesfield in a thrilling finish at Dane Road on Saturday.

They won the toss and asked the visitors to bat first, but soon found themselves on the back foot as openers Jack Masey (48) and James Longhorn (40) added 95 for the first wicket.

The introduction of spinners Isaac Brooks and Ben Watkin turned the game in Sale’s favour as 95-0 soon became 127-5.

Late-order runs for John Birchall (27) and Miles Bradshaw (31) took the score to 188-8. Sale soon wrapped up the innings for 192 in the 49th over with Watkin finishing on 5-64 and Brooks 3-52, along with two run-outs.

The over gained for bowling Macclesfield out early would prove crucial in the second innings.

Despite losing opener Pat Ashling with the score on 17, Sale made a confident start before the loss of Mat Spells (35) and Tyrone Lawrence (22) to Birchall reduced the score from 73-1 to 74-3.

Dan Newton (22) and Harry Cann (13) both made starts, but it needed a captain’s innings from Mike Bishop to set up the win.

Forced to promote himself due to several absentees, Bishop played a well-judged 51 off 83 balls. From 176-7 after 49 overs, Bishop took the 50th over for 12 runs, leaving Amlyn Layton to score the five runs needed from the 51st over to see Sale to a seven-wicket win and 25 points.

Sale second XI need a couple of wins to keep themselves clear of the relegation zone after losing at Hyde after being bowled out for 166 in the 43rd over, Jared Moran top scoring with 37 and the two Tom’s, Jenkinson and Smart, hitting 26 each.

The failure to bat their full 50 overs cost Sale as the home team reached their target in the 50th over, Paolo Manfredi taking 3-40.

The thirds had a comfortable win at Romiley as they stayed within a win of leaders Stockport Georgians with a game in hand in the Sunday Premier Division.

Sale routed the home side for 87 inside 33 overs, skipper Tom Riley taking 5-7 and Rahul Palaninathaan 3-20. They then coasted home for the loss of one wicket, Tom Jenkinson hitting 45 and Dattu Vadakutte 31 not out.

The fourth XI went further clear at the top of Division Four after beating nearest rivals Cheadle Hulme at Dane Road. The visitors posted a competitive 168-9 in 40 overs, Zenen Bilyk Evans taking 4-44.

Sale got home for the loss of five wickets inside 35 overs, Tom Moakler scoring 51, Shayan Imran 34no, Bilyk Evans 26 and Brayden Ross 26no.

On Saturday, Sale first XI travel to bottom-of-the-table Alvanley and the seconds host Neston. On Sunday, Sale host third XI finals day, playing in the first semi-final against Didsbury.