EGERTON secured a hat-trick of titles in the Anthony Axford Indoor Cricket Competition, but only after surviving a semi-final scare.

Paul Stafford’s Blackburn Road side, who have dominated the competition in recent years, beat Farnworth Social Circle in Sunday’s final at Bolton School.

Stuart Hornby took the man-of-the-match award with an impressive all-round performance.

Egerton, who now go on to represent Lancashire in the North final at Durham where they will play Blaydon, had a few anxious moments in their semi-final duel with Astley Bridge who bowled them out for 82, keeping things tight in the field, then made a strong start in the run chase.

Bridge’s Irfan Puda took 2-19 from his three overs, and David Cryer 1-16, and along with some fine fielding, which included three runouts, the Sharples Park side kept the pressure on throughout.

Anthony Clegg top-scored for Egerton with 20, and Will Halton added 17 and Hornby 13.

In reply, Bridge scored at around five an over and only lost their first wicket at 55 when Nigel Partington was caught by Stafford having made 23.

Rick Northrop continued to push the score along until he had to retire on 25.

A couple of quick runouts took the tie into the final over with Bridge needing just seven for victory and with two wickets in hand.

But Northrop, who had returned to the crease, was bowled by the first ball of Hornby’s over, and two balls later last batsman Yassa Rasheed was run out leaving Bridge an agonising seven runs short.

Social Circle beat Greenmount in the other semi-final, fielding well to restrict the Bury side to 71 off their 12 overs.

Phil Ingram top-scored with 22, but Greenmount contributed to their own downfall when they lost five wickets to runouts and were punished when Social Circle reached 75 without loss in 10 overs with David Tonge and Josh Bohannon both scoring 25 not out.

The Piggott Park side could not repeat that dominance in the final in which Egerton responded to their semi-final scare by posting an impressive 96-5, with Hornby 27 and Clegg and Danny Partington both hitting 15.

David Mather was pick of the Social Circle bowlers with 2-24.

But in reply, they never really recovered from two early dismissals in the first five overs and although Christian Walsh (27) and Jamie Bohannon (12) steadied the ship they were always behind the run rate and were eventually bowled out for 63 with two overs and one ball to spare – Hornby taking the individual honours with a knock of 27, bowling figures of 1-10 and a runout.