BOLTON LEAGUE: Title for the taking after super Lever recovery
Three of their opening four batsmen were out for ducks as the Victory Road men struggled to get going in the face of a fine spell of 5-47 from Steve Foster.
But, having come together at 44-4, Adam Carter (53) and Simon Anderton (32) put on a fifth-wicket stand of 52 to steady the ship and Josh Gent weighed in with an unbeaten 36 late on to prise the match out of Bradshaw’s grasp and post 217-8.
The visitors, powered on by a half century from Mick Lester (57), looked capable of reaching their target before going from 148-4 in the 43rd over to 174 all out. Little Lever pro Kamran Younis took 4-70, and Raki Mahmood 6-58.
Westhoughton improved their chances of a Lancashire Knockout spot with a nine-wicket home victory over Egerton, while their second team clinched their fourth successive title with a 10-wicket win over the same opponents.
Egerton had been Little Lever’s main challengers for the championship, but surrendered their slim chances after collapsing to 133 all out.
Amal Athulathimudali (49) and Paul Stafford (33) shared 69 for the second wicket, while Qaiser Abbas (3-42) and Paul Hart (4-10) ripped through their middle and lower order.
Atiq uz-Zaman (70 not out) and Abbas (52 not out) then shared an unbeaten partnership of 109 to pass the target inside 31 overs.
Reigning champions Farnworth, the only side that can catch Little Lever, kept their slimmest of chances alive with a five-wicket win at Astley Bridge.
Rick Northorp hit 94 as the home side put on 257-8, Anwar ul-Haq taking 4-84.
But Farnworth openers Adil Nisar (66) and Chris Baxendale (46) scored heavily, and Simon Booth (53) claimed a half century to ensure they were always above the run-rate.
Bottom side Eagley held their nerve to claim only their second victory since May 4. Kearsley recovered from 87-6 thanks to an unbeaten seventh-wicket partnership of 88 from Steven Davies (69no) and Paul Brittell (24no), but the other batsmen had no answer to Danny Counsell, who bowled throughout for 5-83.
In reply, Eagley looked to have the points sewn up after openers Mike Ward (34) and Paul Rayment (52) put on 98, but it took an unbeaten 41 from Usman Arshad to guide them home (Steve Parker 4-43).
Horwich bowled Greenmount out for 152 but could only manage 125 in reply.
Greenmount openers Ryan Senior (42) and Andy Kerr (32) started well but a devastating spell of 8-49 from Adam Street saw them falter from 61-0.
However, Horwich slumped to 18-3 in reply and never recovered. Street top scored with 36, but 5-47 from Greenmount captain Mark Stewart and five catches from pro Asif Zakir, filling in behind the stumps, sealed the win.
A devastating spell of 6-30 from Sheylam Pillay, and 52 from David Tonge and 46no from Matthew Parkinson kept Farnworth SC’s hopes of a Lancashire Knockout place alive with a six-wicket home win over Walkden.
Heaton captain Tom Liversedge laid the foundations for a seven-wicket win at home to Tonge, taking 6-31 with only Chris Gregory (64) putting up any resistance for the visitors. The home side then rattled off the 144 runs they needed for victory, with Matt Fray finishing on 71no.