WIDNES must raise themselves for their home clash with Cheshire County Cricket League Premier Division leaders Oulton Park on Saturday at 1pm after two disappointing defeats at the weekend.

A league defeat against Neston on Saturday was followed by an exit from the Cheshire Cup at the quarter finals stage 24 hours later.

Poynton elected to bat first in the cup tie and Widnes were happy to restrict them to 167 off their 45 overs, with Tom Evans the pick of the Widnes bowlers with 2 for 20 off his nine overs.

However, the Widnes batsmen never came to terms with low, slow turning wickets.

James McCoy and Danny Naughton were trapped lbw and Steve Titchard and Tony Hurdley adopted the utmost caution.

Poynton spin bowler James Maltman bowled nine overs, taking 2 for 7.

When Titchard fell for 44, another lbw victim in the 40th over, Widnes' hopes had almost disappeared.

Some classy batting from Bappa Mukherjee, 31, gave some hope but the home side fell two runs short despite being given 30 extras.

Widnes found runs hard to come by 24 hours earlier after being put in to bat by Neston.

Bowling from Jason Vords, 3 for 57, and Lancashire's Simon Marshall, 5 for 88, was tight although McCoy played his best innings of the season, scoring 61 with nine boundaries.

There were patient innings also from Titchard, 25, Cameron Park, 24, and Hurdley, 30.

But it was a late flurry of hitting from Gareth Dyson, 25, and Mukherjee, 30 not out, that allowed for a declaration after 55 overs on 212 for 9.

Neston's innings was reduced to 36 overs following a rain interruption and they set about the Widnes bowling in aggressive fashion.

Four dropped catches did not help the cause as Bryon Cooper, the Neston opener, plundered 86 runs.

Peters, 22, Marshall, 31, and Donelan, 33, joined in the run chase and Widnes were unable to prevent the 13 runs required for victory off the final two overs.

Mukherjee was the most successful Widnes bowler with four for 39 from 15 overs.

On Sunday, the second team play Cheadle Hulme in the semi finals of the AE Taylor Cup.

They maintained their excellent form at the weekend with a six-wicket victory over Neston's second team.

Neston totalled 247 with Jamal Khojani the most successful bowler with 3 for 58.

Widnes overhauled the Neston total with an over to spare, thanks in the main to Luke McCoy with an assured 79 and Robert Morris with a fluent 67.