CASTLE Private struck what they hope is a decisive blow on Wednesday in a battle for promotion to the Northwich and District League’s top tier.
They won 4-3 at second-placed Greenbank A in Division Two, closing to within two points of their hosts with a game in hand to follow.
All but assured of a return to Division One are season-long pacesetters Hartford B, who extended their advantage at the table’s summit to 26 points after winning narrowly at Iron Bridge.
Bowling Green B, currently fourth, remain in contention after beating Witton Chimes on their own table by the odd frame.
In the top flight, Rudheath slipped to only a second defeat of the season with visitors Owley Wood A emerging as victors from Middlewich Road.
The title favourites remain 16 points clear of Gladstone C, who strengthened their hold on the runners-up spot following a convincing win at Barn Owl C.
Back-to-back defeats for Barn Owl D have likely ended their hopes of finishing second, this time losing a decider at Bowling Green A.
Gladstone A lost by the same margin against guests The Elms, while lowly Barn Owl B boosted their chances of avoiding relegation with a precious victory at Green Dragon A’s expense.
The race to be promoted from Division Three remains the competition’s closest, with five teams separated by just 10 points.
Chapels, in first place, succumbed to a second defeat of the campaign against Green Dragon B despite Jason Taylor contributing a maximum break to the Weaverham outfit’s total.
Blue Barrel are seven points adrift in second spot, but have a game in hand.
Elsewhere Nectar’s rise to third position after a whitewash of struggling Davenham Legion, while The Lion and Barn Owl E occupy fourth and fifth places respectively after their scheduled head-to-head was postponed.
To see how these matches affected the league tables, pick up this week's Mid Cheshire Guardian.