GRAPPENHALL end the first half of the season at home to Marple on Saturday with hope in their hearts courtesy of their upturn in form.

A win against Neston was followed up at the weekend with a draw at fourth-placed Toft as they continue to seek to climb off the foot of the ECB Premier League table.

Sam Guest gave his side a sniff of victory when he smashed 35 runs off only 19 balls as a draw had looked a certainty.

But Grappers were left clinging on at nine wickets down and 10 runs short of the win.

Grappenhall's opening batsmen Pete Barnes and Steve Rooney set a decent platform which was taken up by Jamie Bye, 38, and the inform Ben Bodha, 56, in the chase of Toft's 226 all out from 51 overs.

Toft scored 226 all out off 51 overs, with Guest and Raki Rao picking up three wickets apiece.

The seconds won a low scoring match at home to Toft to keep them in the hunt at the top end of the table.

Toft were rolled for 124 with skipper Ross Arrowsmith carrying on his fine form this season with another six wickets.

After some needle in the first half the Grappers batsmen went out with a sense of purpose to put their visitors to the sword.

After losing three early wickets Jack Critchley and youngster Will Fell batted superbly as they helped the seconds to cruise home.

Critchley finished 52 not out and Fell, 62 not out, as they claimed the 25 points and the moral victory as well.

The thirds were well and truly beaten by Alderley Edge.

Grappers posted a par 171 all out off 39 overs after having recovered from 80-8, with tail enders Neil Titchard and Stan Pennington scoring 30s to give the scoreline some credibility.

The Grappenhall bowlers struggled from the off and despite several bowling changes the Alderley Edge batsmen were never really in much trouble as they coasted home only two wickets down with plenty of time to spare.

Amir Aslam and Lee Stoll caught the eye as Appleton maintained their promotion push with a comfortable win at Holmes Chapel.

Aslam took 4-33 as the home side were bowled out for 178 from the final ball of their innings in Cheshire Cricket League Division Three.

Then 62 from 62 balls by Lee Stoll steered the Lyons Lane side home with three overs to spare.

Appleton’s seconds suffered a final-ball heartbreak at home against Barrow.

Paul White, 62, and Liam Mannion, 42, led to the hosts posting 182-9 from their 45 overs.

Barrow timed their chase to perfection with a boundary from the final ball of the game sealing a three-wicket win.

Appleton’s thirds were beaten at league leaders Kerridge.

Despite posting 149-9 with 39 from Simon Tomlinson, the visitors could only take four wickets as Kerridge reached their target in 31 overs.

The fourth team secured a home draw with Europa Exiles, who made hay on a flat pitch at Grange Sports Club before declaring on 271-7.

But their caution cost them dearly as Appleton batted out their overs to reach 136-6 when stumps were drawn.

Meanwhile, Appleton Tigers moved to the top of the Cheshire Women's League T20 West Division at the halfway stage with a six-wicket win against Wistaston.

Appleton's opening bowlers Olivia Horsfield and Annie Rashid took an early wicket each, Rashid conceding just one run from her four-over spell.

Abbey Gore and Nat Long also chipped in with wickets as Wistaston were restricted to 95-4.

Holly McCurrie set Appleton on track with a quick-fire 28 retired.

A mature partnership from Poppy Beardsell, 20 not out, and Olivia Horsfield, 19, got them home with three overs to spare.

The second team suffered their first loss in a nailbiting game against Upton.

Camille Wood took three wickets and Emily Page, two, as Upton scored 114-9 from their 30 overs.

Eloise Jackson's 41 runs with good support from Wood, 27, gave Appleton a good platform but they fell three runs short of their target.