TOFT laid a marker for the new season when they edged a thrilling encounter with a likely rival for the title in their opening game.

The Knutsford outfit celebrated a two-wicket win over Chester Boughton Hall last weekend when tail-ender Matthew Cornes scored runs in the final over to help the visitors to their target.

They had chased 284 off 60 overs after their hosts declared their innings early.

A highlight of Toft's reply was a stunning partnership worth 205 runs for the second wicket between opener Tom Forster (109) and Rob Sehmi (104 off 106 balls) that kept alive their side's hopes of recording a victory.

The former scored 15 fours and three sixes, a tally matched exactly by his teammate before his dismissal.

There was concern when Forster's departure was the first of four wickets to fall while Toft added only two runs but James Drummond and Corners saw them over the line with five balls to spare.

Chester had put 283-5 on the board before captain Rick Moore, another to score a century when he shared in a first-wicket stand worth 176 with Warren Goodwin (76), halted their time at the crease after 50 overs.

Skipper Jimmy Lomas (3-63) was the most successful of the visitors' bowlers, while James Scott (1-27) accounted for Moore (133) and Andrew Jackson (1-76) took the other wickets to fall.

Forster also held on to two catches.

A maximum points haul is a huge boost for Toft head of their first home fixture in the Cheshire County League's top-flight on Saturday when Oulton Park travel to Booth's Park.

Play starts at 12.30pm.

Meanwhile Toft's seconds made it a double over Chester when they celebrated a 19-run win.

They posted 237-6 after being asked to bat first, and openers Dan Lord (50) and David Blackburn (21) laid a foundation by putting on 74.

Scott Craig (56no) added 45 runs in tandem with Joe Stanley (33) at the crease and a further 79 together with chairman Nigel Muirhead (41).

Dan Riley, with 4-64, was the pick of Chester's attack.

A collective effort in the field by Toft ensured they knocked over their guests for 218.

Teenager Max Nightingale (4-20) led the way, claiming the wicket of leading-scorer Bob Evans (93), while Stanley (2-23) and Paul Ashley (2-24) weighed in with a brace apiece.

There were wickets too on the opening day for Jonah Wasilewski (1-19) and George Muirhead (1-44).

They play the reverse fixture at Oulton Park on Saturday.