THE closest race for honours in the Northwich and District League continues to be in the third tier, where four teams chase two promotion places.
Chapels, conquerors of Beech Tree A on Wednesday, are favourites to finish first after establishing a four-point lead at the summit.
Blue Barrel are next best, climbing to second in the standings as a reward for beating Green Dragon B at the same time previous incumbents The Lion slipped up at Beech Tree B.
Meanwhile Barn Owl E, in fourth position, recovered from 3-0 adrift at home to Nectar’s to remain within three points of second spot.
Craig Flavell kept calm to win a deciding frame for the Barnton outfit.
In Division One, Jason Chester’s maximum for pace-setters Rudheath was a highlight of their whitewash of fourth-placed Barn Owl D.
Gladstone C, now 20 points adrift with seven matches left, were comfortable victors against Bowling Green A.
Eric Webber’s 8-ball break helped to send the men from London Road in to the drop zone.
Gladstone B rise to third position after edging Barn Owl C by the odd frame, while fifth-placed Owley Wood A succumbed by the same narrow margin on their own table against previous back-markers Barn Owl B.
Elsewhere, Green Dragon A’s Dave Linegar potted all eight balls in a single visit to the table in his team’s 6-1 thrashing of Gladstone A.
Hartford B’s advantage at the top of Division Two is 23 points, making them near certain to return to the top flight at the first attempt following relegation last season.
They hammered guests Wheatsheaf this week, while Greenbank A hold on to second place after winning 5-2 at Bowling Green B.
Castle Private ended a five-match sequence without a win by beating out-of-sorts Hartford A, raising again their hopes of finishing in a promotion position.
Iron Bridge returned from Owley Wood C with a victory from the other match played.