Atherton edge closer to Bolton Association title after washout
ATHERTON inched closer to their first title for 23 years when rain wiped out the entire Bolton Association programme on Saturday.
The Higham Park men remain 27 points clear of their only challengers, Flixton, with five matches remaining.
And with 13 points for a win and plenty of bonus points on offer for a losing side, Atherton would have to lose at least two games – probably three or four – and Flixton to finish with a winning flourish.
The Manchester men were going well with the bat at Golborne when their game was abandoned after 14 overs on Saturday, openers Alton Beckford and Luke Perry unbeaten on 41 and 38, respectively.
Over at Atherton, the home side were 73-3 when the rain came down, Jamar Griffith on 34 not out and Astley and Tyldesley’s Jordan O'Malley having taken all three wickets at a cost of 21 runs.
Third-placed Adlington could still finish level on points with Atherton, but only if a miracle happens.
They would have to win their remaining five games, Atherton lose all theirs without picking up a point, and Flixton to suffer a sudden collapse.
Adlington started well enough at Edgworth before collapsing from 80-2 to 96-7 after 25 overs when they game was abandoned.
Majid Majeed scored 39 and Zak Millington 20, while Mike Watkinson, now recovered from a fractured finger, took 3-20 off seven overs.
The fight for the Lancashire Knockout places is looking interesting, with Atherton and Flixton surely securing two and the remaining two or three – the actual number will not be known until the end of the season – looking like being fought out between Adlington, Walshaw, Edgworth, Standish and Bury – and possibly Elton if they can stage a dramatic late surge.
Elton were on 41-2 when their game at Standish was washed out after 13 overs – Niall Burke taking both wickets.
Graeme Walsh produced a spectacular cameo batting performance at Blackrod, hitting 24 not out including 20 off one over.
They finished on 61-2 off 18.4 overs, both victims being bowled by Walshaw’s Nick Murphy and caught by wicketkeeper Mikey Watt.
Bury’s Alex Breckin took 2-11 off his seven overs as visitors Little Hulton were reduced to 46-3 before rain stopped play, and at Daisy Hill the home side were on 29-0 before rain ended proceedings after 10 overs with Paul Atherton on 19.