Sale Cricket Club celebrated a second championship of the season as the third XI won the Sunday Premier Division - but were made to work hard for the win by both Alderley Edge and the unpredictable weather.

Level on points with Stockport Georgians but having won one game more, Sale knew they had to match Georgians’ result to be crowned champions. Georgians did not take long to wrap up a six-wicket win against Didsbury meaning Sale had to win their game at Dane Road.

All seemed to be going to plan as three wickets for Rahul Palaninathan and four for Grant Whittaker reduced the visitors to 138-8.

The rain arrived at the right time for the visitors as a stand of 51 for the eighth wicket between Tejas Rao (35) and Danile Wolf (35 not out) following the resumption threatened to spoil the party.

Sale managed to wrap the innings up for 203 in the 39th over and soon set about the chase. Tom Jenkinson, with 33, and Jared Moran (35) looked to put Sale in charge as they reached 78 for the loss of one wicket in quick time.

However, both set batsmen were dismissed without addition to the score, shortly followed by the dangerous Whittaker.

Another break for rain then reduced the target to 193 in 38 overs.

Fortunately for Sale, Shachi Pai held her nerve to play a patient knock to steady the ship, well supported by Gareth Watterson who hit 42 off 47 balls before he was bowled with 22 runs still needed.

Ben Habershon (10no) then joined Pai (39no) to secure a second Premier Division title for Sale.

Sale’s firsts stayed in contention for promotion with a third straight win at Congleton and closed the gap on third-placed Timperley to 10 points.

Sale rolled the home side over for 123 inside 37 overs, largely thanks to a fine opening spell from Amlyn Layton (5-18). Spinner Isaac Brooks took 3-39. They never looked in trouble, chasing down their target inside 25 overs as Pat Ashling blasted 36 off just 21 balls and Tyrone Lawrence hit a run-a-ball 44 in the reply.

Sale play leaders Bowdon on Saturday in a winner-takes-all showdown, although they need to limit their bonus points and hope Timperley slip up to claim one of the promotion berths.

Sale second XI will need a good win at Toft on Saturday and hope other results go their way to stay up after slipping to defeat at home to Bowdon.

They could only muster 158 after the visitors had posted 231-7, Muneeb Iftikar hitting 47 off 48 balls and Paolo Manfredi 26 as they added 81 for the ninth wicket.