IT is down to the wire in the North Staffs and South Cheshire League division three title race this weekend.
The two contenders, unbeaten leaders Eccleshall and second place Woore, met at the London Road ground on Saturday, the match ending in a thrilling draw.
It was an outcome that leaves Eccleshall in top spot, some eight points clear of Woore, with respective last matches against Stone SP (home) and Wedgwood (away) respectively.
On the penultimate Saturday, Eccleshall and Woore, both of whom had already secured promotion, provided great enter- tainment. Woore chose to put Eccleshall in to bat first against the pace attack of Mark Bengry and Darren Snape.
Snape bowled well and took early wick- ets which put Eccleshall in some trouble. The visitors relied on Aussie Nathan Hin- ton to try and build a total as he hit 37 and kept Snape at bay.
As wickets fell at the other end, Eccle- shall found themselves in trouble at 75-5, with Snape claiming 5-58/
At this point, Rob Lakin was joined by Jack Boulton and the pair took control of the innings, until Boulton was dismissed
for 18. Sam Linney (29no) joined Lakin, who played his best innings of the season for 63 not out to steer Eccleshall to 201-7.
Woore made a great start to the run chase with openers Andy Burton (29) and Taz Hussain (31) adding over 50 for the first wicket.
In need of inspiration, Hinton bowled aggressively and took the key wicket of Arshad who was out for 61. Woore had plenty of wickets in hand but the required run rate increased following some tight Eccleshall bowling.
As pressure mounted, Eccleshall’s excel- lent fielding produced two run outs, including the hard hitting Bengry (43).
As Woore scrambled for runs, Boulton ran out their skipper Andy Kenvyn for four and midway through the last over of the match, Eccleshall needed one wicket for victory and Woore just five runs to win.
In a tense final over, Woore finished the day on 198-9 and took the extra bonus points for the quicker scoring rate as the match ended in a draw. Eccleshall are the only team in all eight divisions this sea- son who remain undefeated and they will look to clinch the title this Saturday.