THE Bolton Association reached the second round of the Reader Lancashire Inter League Knockout with a hard-fought 10-run win against the Saddleworth League.

After posting 172-9 at Flixton, they were looking up against it with the visitors on 130-5.

But David Bowden, of Standish, and Bury duo Matt White and Matt Twentyman produced the goods with the ball to see the Association home.

Captain Simon Belston, also of Bury, combined with Swinton Moorside’s David Flatley to produce an opening stand of 49.

Belston top scored for the Association with 37 with Flixton’s Steve Hammond adding 29 and Twentyman - one of two men added to the team following the unavailability of Flixton pair Luke Perry and Alton Beckford – and David Bowden both chipping in with 22.

Imran Khan was an early thorn in the Bolton side with 3-37 and Francois Mostert took 4-23 late on as Saddleworth gave themselves a realistic target on a pitch which was improving for the batsmen as the afternoon went on.

White took an early wicket before Mohammed Butt (35) settled in and the score moved on to 91-3.

Dave Roberts then struck 24 in no time as the pendulum swung further Saddleworth’s way, eventually going for 43.

At 130-5, Bolton needed some inspiration, and they found it in their bowlers.

Bowden came on in the 14th over and stopped the charge with an outstandingly tight 1-21 in his nine overs.

At the other end, White took a wicket and conceded just two runs from three overs, and Twentyman took two wickets from 1.5 overs at the death to add to another two he had taken from six overs in the middle of the innings. He finished with 4-22.

It was also a memorable day for Elton wicketkeeper Danny Lomax, who further established himself as the selectors’ number one choice behind the stumps with four stumpings.

Belston said: “We had to stick together out there.

“It was a tricky wicket and wasn’t ideal batting first.

“We knew after about five overs that 170 or 180 would be a good score and we had to work hard to get it.

“Then each and every one of the bowlers was brilliant. What a performance two of our slower bowlers, Bowden and (Jamar) Griffith, put in for us, and White and Twentyman bowled very well.

“It was just great to get over the line and we look forward to the next round.

“We play the winners of the Ribblesdale League and the North Lancs and Cumbria away. It would be nice to play the North Lancs and Cumbria because they knocked us out last year on our own ground at Adlington.”