THE two clubs lying second and third in the Bolton League Second XI table clashed last weekend at St George’s Oval and it was the visitors Little Hulton who came away with their unbeaten record still intact.
Westhoughton batted first and got off to a good start, thanks mainly to Phil Wakefield (32), Ryan Chaisty (48) and Jamie McAndrew (53), and looked set to post an imposing total only for the rest of the batting to collapse at the hands of Ashley Perry (4-52) and Neil Jarvis (3-33) and leave them all out for a disappointing 169.
Nazim Patel then steered his side to the vital win with an unbeaten 76, aided by Simon Hetherington (21) as Little Hulton passed their target with four wickets to spare.
Leaders Farnworth took advantage of their nearest rivals meeting each other to extend their lead to two points as they defeated a still-winless Little Lever by 113 runs at Victory Road.
Good contributions from most of the batting order – led by Simon Harrison (42), Zahid Butt (38) and Kian Rogerson (30), helped the table-toppers to a healthy total of 230-8, despite Matt Pendlebury taking 3-40 for the villagers.
Pendlebury then added 20 with the bat as he and Adam Clark (30) provided the only real resistance to the bowling of Sam Bradley (4-25) and Harrison, who added 3-10 to his earlier runs and Lever fell away to just 117 in reply.
Horwich RMI smashed the day’s highest total as they raced to a total of 273 against Tonge at Castle Hill.
However, at one point, with their score on a precarious 86-7, that looked to be highly unlikely only for skipper Mark Knowles (79 not out) and Max Adamson, with 64, to completely change the picture and set up the imposing target.
Both Callum Fenton and Samit Ugharatdar claimed four wickets for Tonge.
Tonge, to their credit, gave it a good go and with Ugharatdar adding 31 runs to his wickets and Sajid Patel hitting 63 and Javed Bhagat 57 as they managed a creditable 197 in reply.
In the end, though, Kishan Hira (5-51) and Will Pennington (3-45) secured the win for RMI.
Kearsley, like Little Lever, are still searching for a first win of the season, and their latest defeat came at the hands of Lostock at Chew Moor by a margin of 77 runs.
Jimmy McLoughlin anchored the home side’s innings with a patient unbeaten 63 which, with Lucky Issa adding 25 and Geoff Earle 21, helped Lostock to a useful total of 180 all out as Owen Thomson, Andy Gregory and George Banks each grabbed a couple of wickets.
Kearsley, though, had no real answer to a spell of 6-30 from Darren Parr, with only Jack Pellowe reaching 20 in a reply of just 103 all out.
For the second week running, Atherton suffered last-over heartbreak, this time at the hands of Eagley, who reached their target of 162 with just one ball and three wickets to spare.
Despite Paul Woodend taking 4-32, Sam Hall’s unbeaten 25, added to earlier contributions from Tom Mitchell (54) and Michael Craig (26), proved to be just enough for the visitors.
Atherton’s total of 161 was something of a mixed bag as Greg Greenough hit 58 and Jack Short 57, but then no other batter managed to pass seven. Alfie Owens led the Eagley bowling effort, taking 4-28.
The final game of the day saw Astley Bridge chase down a target of 187 at Piggott Street to beat Farnworth Social Circle by six wickets.
Ady Cooper led the chase with 78 and, with good support coming from James Cooper (36), Luke Wainman (24) and Ishy Patel (21), the Bridge completed an excellent run chase.
Social’s healthy total of 186 had been built around a run-a-ball 70 from Matthew Knight with useful support coming from Preston Hayhurst (25), while for Bridge, Mehr Khan (4-39) and Paresh Patail (4-48) led the bowling efforts.
Tomorrow will see two of Bolton sides in Royal London National Knockout action as Walkden host Furness and Westhoughton make the short journey to play Leigh.
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