MID Cheshire started what they hope will be a successful climb back up the Federation National League when they beat East Lancs in their opener.

After relegation from Division Two at the end of last season, they recorded an 18-14 win following a close encounter on Sunday to restore confidence.

They did it the hard way.

A one-chalk defeat on aggregate in the home leg at Moulton RBL meant they had to rely on an impressive 219-189 success at Olive Park to celebrate a victory.

Both teams returned an identical number of winning cards across the two games.

John Gurney (Castle) was the pick of five victors in Northwich, where Steve Barnes (Meadowbank) also won to single figures.

There were triumphs too for Joe Tomkinson (Owley Wood), Jimmy O’Brien (Hazel Pear) and Kevin Duncalf (Castle).

A stunning start on the road, where they took four of the first five head-to-heads, left East Lancs playing catch-up.

Their middle four reduced a deficit before impressive wins for Bill Danford (Middlewich C) and Jack Hazeldine (Meadowbank) dashed any hopes of a winning recovery.

Matty Worden (Frodsham RL) recorded a 21-4 victory early on.

Mid Cheshire take on Liverpool/St Helens, emphatic 21-11 victors against relegated Rochdale in the other game played on Sunday, when the league resumes next month.


Federation National League

Division Three

Mid Cheshire v Rochdale

Sunday, April 28

At Moulton RBL

John Gurney (Castle) 21-8 John Whittaker (Colne CC)

Nigel Faulkner (Moulton RBL) 20-21 Aaron Harrison (Rushton St)

Dave Hamlett junior (Wharton Cons) 12-21 Dave Walker (Whitworth)

Paul Drinkwater (Meadowbank) 17-21 Lee Longland (Two Gates)

Steve Barnes (Meadowbank) 21-9 Steve Clamp (Colne CC)

Phil Scott (Rudheath) 17-21 Dan Brown (Colne CC)

Andy Gregory (Comberbach) 18-21 Gary Timlin (Rushton St)

Joe Tomkinson (Owley Wood) 21-19 Phil Wilkinson (St Andrews)

Martin Gerrard (Wharton Cons) 17-21 Matt Bond (Colne CC)

Jimmy O’Brien (Hazel Pear) 21-16 Craig Ramell (Rishton Cons)

Kevin Duncalf (Castle) 21-16 Daryl Wright (Colne CC)

Paul Farrington (Middlewich CC) 8-21 Dean Butler (St Andrews)

Mid Cheshire 214-215 Rochdale

At Olive Park

Mick Opie (Globe) 10-21 Mark Ball (Alsager)

Steve Clough (Darwen Subscriptions) 4-21 Matty Worden (Frodsham RL)

Adrian Hodgson (Crown Paints) 12-21 Dave Bamford (Hop Pole)

Paul Brett (East Lancs CC) 21-9 Daniel Hazeldine (Meadowbank)

David Whittle (Two Gates) 19-21 Phil Wainwright (Frodsham RL)

Rick Riley (Olive Park) 21-20 Colin Peters (Comberbach)

Lee Hammond (Crown Paints) 21-12 Robert Mellor (Middlewich CC)

Kelvin Rutter (Olive Park) 21-12 Anthony Jennings (Middlewich CC)

Paul Sutcliffe (Crown Paints) 11-21 Darern Palin (Crewe PO)

Harry Hargreaves (Two Gates) 21-19 Paul Charlesworth (Middlewich CC)

Mick Lee (Butlers) 15-21 Bill Danford (Middlewich CC)

Stuart Gall (Rushton St) 13-21 Jack Hazeldine (Meadowbank)

East Lancs 189-219 Mid Cheshire

Mid Cheshire win by 29 chalks on aggregate