GRAPPENHALL’S hopes of avoiding relegation from the Cheshire County Cricket League’s top-flight suffered a body blow on Saturday.

Despite an impressive batting display, they were beaten by five wickets by fellow strugglers Bramhall at Broad Lane.

Grappers were asked to bat first and they made an excellent fist of it, with Pete Barnes scoring his first century for the club before eventually falling for 102.

Albert Pennington (54) and Ben Bodha (53) also impressed as the hosts reached 254-6 from their allotted overs.

However, the bowlers could not get a grip of their opponents and Bramhall reached their victory target with three overs to spare.

A depleted second team, who travelled with just eight players, also suffered defeat after they were dismissed for just 105 at Hyde despite an unbeaten 36 from Tim Sykes.

The hosts easily knocked off the runs for the loss of just one wicket.

However, the thirds provided a bright spot as they saw off their Hyde counterparts at Broad Lane on Sunday.

Tom Bravington took 3-30 as Grappers bowled first, with Hyde reaching 219-7 at the close of their innings.

Iain Wright then anchored the home chase with a superb 87 not out as they won by three wickets, with Richard Holden (42) and Paul Tyerman (37) providing valuable support.

Meanwhile, Appleton stretched their unbeaten run to eight games in Cheshire Cricket League Division Three to solidify their promotion ambitions.

They cruised to a comfortable eight-wicket win over Old Parkonians on Saturday, with Amir Aslam’s 4-40 and 3-10 from Martin Cooper helping to dismiss the visitors for just 189.

It was a target that proved no match for Appleton’s batsmen as Ali Shariff led the way by smashing 94 from just 87 balls.

Cooper also weighed in with an unbeaten 63 as the hosts coasted home with six overs remaining.

The seconds were also victorious away at Christleton, with three wickets each from Chris Tomlinson and Mike Cumberland featuring as the hosts were restricted to 168 all out.

Liam Mannion then hit 41 not out to see Appleton home by five wickets.

The thirds had an unbroken third-wicket stand of 113 between John Porter (82 not out) and Jonathan Owen (41 not out) to thank for their eight-wicket win over Styal, who had earlier been bowled out for 138 thanks to two wickets each from Owen, Roger Cawthorne and Ravi Elaprolu.

Sadly, the fourths could not make it a perfect weekend as they were beaten by 33 runs at Knutsford’s seconds.