THE top three clubs in the Bolton League Second XI competition all maintained their unbeaten records as each enjoyed hard-fought wins.
Farnworth retained top spot by virtue of a six-wicket win against Astley Bridge at Bridgeman Park.
Ady and James Cooper got the visitors off to a good start, adding 76 for the first wicket before James fell for 39.
Ady went on to make a patient 50 and Kai Hodgkiss added 47, but Farnworth’s bowlers, led by Rizwan Pervez’s 3-17, restricted them to 168-6.
Pervez then added 29 with the bat, and with Osama Amjad making 32, Bilal Khan hitting 25 not out and Kian Rogerson scoring 43no, Farnworth romped home with 17 overs to spare.
Little Hulton sit just one point behind Farnworth following a hard-fought 25-run victory over Little Lever at The Old Vicarage.
Lever’s Callum Hill led the way with an excellent 6-40 as the home side were dismissed for 163 despite Roger Kumah making 32, Ellis Pearson scoring 29 and Nazim Patel hitting 27.
The visitors then lost two quick wickets in reply before Matthew Pendlebury (34) and Leon Tennant (37) added 71 for the third wicket and looked to have set up a good platform for the run chase.
However, the introduction of Ashley Perry to the attack changed everything as the rest of the batting had little answer to a devastating spell of 7-49 and they tumbled to 138 all out in the end.
A point further behind lie Westhoughton who defeated local rivals Horwich RMI by four wickets at The Recreation Ground.
RMI batted first and, despite 34 from Will Pennington, never really got to grips with the Westhoughton bowling led by Mason McKenna-Atherton, who took 4-36 as they managed just 122 all out.
Pennington then added a couple of quick wickets to ensure the visitors did not have things all their own way.
In the end, though, Jamie McAndrew (35), Ryan Ashcroft (32) and James Burrow (32) ensured that their bowlers’ efforts were not in vain, despite a couple of wickets each for Cian Patel and Charlie Ramsden.
Atherton and Lostock produced a thrilling match at Higham Park with the visitors eventually squeezing home by just six runs in a game that went down to the last over.
Lostock went in first and, despite Amit Dashore making a patient 64 to prop up the top order, it was only thanks to a late flurry of runs from Tom Gregory (22no) and Mo Intwala (30no) that they managed to boost the score up to 168-6.
Paul Woodend and Lucas Charlson took three wickets each for the home side.
Atherton then had a real go at the chase but, crucially, Lostock kept chipping away, taking wickets to keep themselves in the game.
Dan Hudspith, with 25, and Charlson added 23 to his earlier wickets, but Jake Raby’s 4-31 and 3-39 from Harry Jackson proved just enough for the visitors to hold on.
Blackrod picked up their first win of the season by virtue of a 22-run success against Farnworth Social Circle at Vicarage Road.
Blackrod posted a handy total of 170 with contributions coming right through the batting order, led by Steven Ashworth (27), Will Ashworth (24) and Matthew Westhead (22), as Marsden Mulligan proved to be the pick of the Circle bowlers, taking 4-26.
Liam Ashworth then made 61 to help set up a solid base for the run chase together with Matt Knight (21) and Andrew Wareing (27), but the introduction of Tony Tipping turned the game on it’s head as he claimed 5-42 to sweep away the lower order and leave Circle all out on 148 in reply.
Tomorrow, four Bolton League clubs are in action in the Lancashire Knockout.
The fixtures are:- Farnworth Social Circle v Lancaster, Little Lever v Roe Green, Cheshire Lines v Horwich and Kirkham and Wesham v Westhoughton.