ECCLESHALL firsts were frustrated by the rain stopping play when they were on top and in sight of victory away at Hanford in the North Staffs and South Cheshire Division 3A.
The visitors were put into bat and were in some trouble on a bowler friendly wicket as they were reduced to 30-3.
Aussie, Nathan Hinton elected to smash his side out of trouble with a quickfire 31 and then Simon Howland calmed the turbulent waters with a patiently built 45 to steer Eccleshall through to a commendable 205-7 declaration.
After tea Eccleshall ripped into the Hanford batting as paceman Cameron Sinclair proved very difficult to play taking five wickets for 19 runs as Hanford fell to 57-6.
Unfortunately for the visitors the rain did not let up and play had to be abandoned with the four remaining wickets still to be taken.
The good news for Eccleshall was that rivals Woore also failed to complete their match and did not pick up as many bonus points as them meaning they stretched the gap at the top to 12 points.
On Saturday the firsts entertain third placed Crewe in a crucial promotion deciding match at the Roy Thomson Memorial Ground.
The seconds were able to move their match against Hanford seconds forward more quickly which enabled a positive result to be achieved despite the rain interruptions.
Hanford elected to bat first and after reaching 80-2 due to a hard hitting 42 from Sadiq Hashmi they were in a strong position.
Seamer James Cox came in to the attack and immediately took wickets and suddenly Hanford were on the slide.
Cox finished with 4-11 and at the other end spinner Tony Mansfield took a quick 3-4 as Hanford collapsed to 100 all out.
Eccleshall were able to bat for an hour before tea and reached 50-3.
The rain came and 45 minutes was lost but the showers abated just enough for the seconds to resume their innings and John Ecclestone launched an attack on the visitors’ bowling to smash 29 from 29 balls leading them to victory on 101-6.
Some bad news was that the only other game in the North Staffs and South Cheshire Division 3B that was completed was that of promotion rivals Weston who also picked up 20 points and maintain their significant lead over the Chester Road side.