BOLTON ASSOCIATION: Watkinson and de Zoysa are all-round hits
NORMAL service was resumed as Atherton bounced back from their previous week’s defeat to move within two wins of the title on Saturday.
Flixton continued to snap at their ankles with a hard-fought win at Little Hulton where they had Steve Hammond’s second successive eight-wicket haul to thank.
But the performances of the day came from Edgworth’s Mike Watkinson, and Blackrod’s Tushendra de Zoysa who each scored centuries and took four wickets.
Atherton maintained their 17-point lead over Flixton with three games to play ahead of yesterday’s programme with an eight-wicket home victory over Darcy Lever.
Opener Chris Fenn scored 69 for Darcy before he was out for obstructing the field after kicking the ball away while going for a run, before Darcy fell away to 146-8.
Jamar Griffith took 4-62 to take his season tally to 94 wickets for the season – the most in the league.
Second highest is his team-mate Jimmy Damjanovski with 83 after taking 3-73 on Saturday, and third and fourth are Astley and Tyldesley’s Jimmy Cutt and Adlington’s Majid Majeed with 76 and 75, respectively.
Ian Nuttall moved from lower down the batting order to open and scored 52, and Griffith was unbeaten on 54 as Atherton won in 31 overs.
Luke Perry, the league’s leading run-scorer this season with 1,380, scored 41 of Flixton’s 173 at Little Hulton, Mo Saiyed doing serious damage with 6-56.
The dangerous home side threatened victory when they needed nine off the last over before losing their last man with the addition of no further runs.
Nathan Rushton top scored for Little Hulton with 65 as Hammond took 8-61 to add to his previous week’s 8-63.
Adlington extended the gap between themselves and fourth place to 10 points with a seven-wicket win at Golborne.
Majeed took 5-71 and professional Tom Foster 3-39 as Golborne posted 184, Ciaran Vesey top scoring with 74 and last man Waqas Tahir 33 not out.
Majeed then scored a half century and Mark Halliwell 43.
Bury boosted their hopes of a Lancashire Knockout place with a tight derby victory at home to Walshaw.
Kobus Scholtz hit 48 of Bury’s modest total of 142 to take his season tally to 1,056 – the third highest.
Gavin Nichol took 4-48 and Brandon Williams 4-66 for Walshaw whose reply was going well at 60-3 before the wickets started to fall.
Simon Belston took 5-37 and Alex Breckin 4-30 for the home side who began yesterday’s programme in sixth, one point behind Walshaw.
Edgworth are fourth after a 110-run home victory over Elton which featured a partnership of 159 between Watkinson (108 not out) and Denver Thornton (55no) in their total of 250-6 before Watkinson followed up with 4-29 as Elton replied with 140 in 43 overs.
Second-bottom Blackrod won their third game in four matches. De Zoysa scored 106 to add to his previous five scores of 122, 4, 130, 100 and 83 and make it 1,171 runs for the season – second behind Perry.
He and Chris Sanderson (80) put on 162 for the second wicket and Blackrod posted 256-7, John Fearick taking 3-41 for visitors Astley and Tyldesley who replied with 211-9 after looking competitive at 115-2 and 154-3.
De Zoysa took 4-60 off 22 overs while Cutt scored 64 and Michael Brooks 43.
Standish maintained their challenge for a Lancashire Knockout spot with an eight-wicket win at 10-man Daisy Hill.
Imtiaz Cheema (31) and Stephen Evans (25) steadied Daisy who were 20-4 and finished on 98, Sam Callow taking 3-25 before Niall Burke hit 40 off 38 balls for the visitors.