WESTHOUGHTON’S dominant second team carried on their fine form this season with a 118-run victory over Heaton in the semi-finals of the Birtwistle Cup.

They will host Farnworth Social Circle in the final after beating Bradshaw by 33-runs.

It is perhaps not surprising that the two will go head-to-head for the trophy as they are both riding high in the second team league.

Westhoughton top the table as they bid for a sixth title in seven years, while Farnworth Social Circle are in third place, behind Greenmount.

Both sides have a strong link between their second and first teams, with players encouraged to progress through the ranks.

This strategy is really beginning to bear fruit, with Social Circle leading the way in the first team league and Westhoughton currently fourth, bidding to at least repeat their success of last season, when they finished runners-up.

The standard of players at second-team level was there for all to see in the Birtwistle Cup semi-finals, which featured a string of impressive performances.

Westhoughton’s 18-year-old batsman Charlie Honour hit his maiden ton, finishing 103 not out, while Abbass Zaheer, aged 17, picked up five wickets.

In the other semi-final, Matthew Leach top scored for Social Circle with 67 as they put on a commanding 278-4, while Bradshaw captain Ryan Tierney rattled off 105 and opener Nigel Duxbury hit 81 as the Rigby Lane lads fell just short.

It is refreshing to see that five of the clubs in the top half of the second team league are also in the top half of the senior league, where Westhoughton have a chance to put themselves back in the frame tomorrow when they entertain second-placed Bradshaw.

And Social Circle will be on the hunt for revenge when they host reigning champions Little Lever, who beat them in last weekend’s Hamer Cup semi-finals.