FAVOURABLE early conditions for the bowlers saw six out of the seven winners on Saturday chase down targets.
Leaders Farnworth Social Circle were among the victors as they overhauled Kearsley’s 157 to win by six wickets.
Chris Barrow - the league’s bowler of the month for June – was the star man for Social Circle with both bat and ball.
He set up victory with 6-37 before hitting 38 from 21 balls to end any hopes of a Kearsley comeback.
Opener Joe McCann was the cornerstone of Kearsley’s innings, but when he eventually fell to Barrow one short of his half century, the home side slumped from 117-6 to 157 all out.
McCann’s fellow opener, Darren Whittle, was their next top scorer, making a quickfire 32 from 36 balls.
In reply, Social Circle reached their target with 17 overs to spare, although it was not all plain sailing.
Openers David Tonge (31) and Tim Rees (33) got them off to a solid start but wickets fell at regular intervals, thanks in part to Grant Cordin’s 3-42.
Barrow came in at number six to dismiss any thoughts of a shock defeat, however, taking Social Circle to within six runs of their target.
Teenage opener Bradley Yates hit a classy 84 for Bradshaw while Anthony Jones crashed 50 as the Rigbys Lane men set Astley Bridge a target of 219-7.
Dave Cryer’s 3-84 ensured the visitors stayed in the match, but Anwar Jnr’s destructive spell of bowling snuffed out any hopes of victory.
After taking the first eight Astley Bridge wickets he was denied a maximum haul by Gary Gardner, who took 2-2 off just two overs.
The Northrop brothers – Andy (31) and Rick (27) – provided the main resistance, but the visitors eventually fell for 154.
Greenmount survived a late scare to claim a one-wicket win in a low-scoring match at Horwich.
The experienced attack of Mark Stewart (5-54) and Phil Heaton (3-47) made light work of the Horwich line-up as they were bowled out for 134.
A seventh-wicket stand of 52 between David Morris (43) and under-15s batsman Tom Billington, who made 33, saved their blushes after being reduced to 6-48.
But Greenmount did not fare much better as their first six wickets fell for 69 runs.
Lethal double act Adam Street (5-60) and Babar Naeem (3-57) had victory in their sights before Daniel Kelly came in at number eight to hit an unbeaten 55 to see the visitors home.
Third-bottom Heaton upset the odds to claim a six-wicket win at home to third-placed Westhoughton.
Captain Imran Mirza helped reduce Westhoughton to 5-26 after their opening 15 overs.
He finished with figures of 5-53, while Heaton pro Humayun Farhat took 3-44 as the visitors were bowled out for 134.
It could have been worse for Westhoughton, but for a dogged 65 from pro Qaiser Abbas.
Heaton made an equally shaky start, falling to 27-3 after 15 overs, but Farhan ended unbeaten on 65 and Mohammed Ali hit 36 to claim victory. Kieran Edwards was the pick of the Westhoughton bowlers with 3-56. Farnworth edged a tight match at champions Little Lever by just three wickets.
The home side lost their first four wickets for 17 runs as Jason Raynor wreaked havoc, taking 5-37, before Adam Carter hit 23 and Simon Anderton made 29 as Little Lever limped to 129 all out.
It looked like Farnworth would cruise past their total as openers Adil Nisar (33) and Chris Baxendale (41) made light work of a tricky wicket.
But Little Lever pro Kamran Younis took 5-41 as Farnworth fell to 115-6 before a vital 17 not out from Raynor saw Farnworth home.
A devastating spell of 6-45 from Ryan Ayres put bottom side Eagley on the back foot from the off as Walkden went on to claim a four-wicket victory.
Michael Ward (60) stood firm in the face of some aggressive deliveries from Senior and fellow strike bowler Corey Collymore, but only pro Agar Salman, who made 23, was able to stick around with him for long as the visitors fell to 159 all out.
A half-century from Walkden opener Travis Townsend (51) set the tone for their reply as they reached their target inside 37 overs. Honey Garg, who added 32 to the total, was one of three victims for Salman (3-65). Tonge’s nightmare season continued as the second-bottom side fell to a seven-wicket defeat at home to Egerton.
Opening batsman Farhan Hussain hit 43 not out but watched on as the wickets tumbled at the other end, with four of his team-mates falling for a duck and only two making it into double figures.
Stuart Hornby took 6-36 and Amal Dalugoda weighed in with 3-42 as Tonge were bowled out for 91.
Dalugoda then made an unbeaten 34 as Egerton passed their target in 21.2 overs, with Tonge’s Pat Hamer (3-39) taking the only wickets to fall.
Bradshaw 219-7 Astley Bridge 154. Bradshaw won by 65 runs.
Heaton 137-4 Westhoughton 134. Heaton won by 6 wkts.
Horwich 134 Greenmount 137-9. Greenmount won by 1 wkt.
Kearsley 157 Farnworth SC 158-6. Farnworth SC won by 4 wkts.
Little Lever 129 Farnworth 130-7. Farnworth won by 3 wkts.
Tonge 91 Egerton 94-3. Egerton won by 7 wkts.
Walkden 160-6 Eagley 159. Walkden won by 4 wkts.