BRADSHAW snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in a dramatic final over at Egerton on Saturday to put themselves right back into title contention.
On the day when leaders and red-hot championship favourites Farnworth Social Circle lost for only the second time this season, Bradshaw skipper Saeed Anwar Jnr bowled the final over at Blackburn Road, knowing his side needed something special to avoid defeat.
Egerton, chasing 170-9, needed just five to win and had four wickets to spare with top scorer Amal Dalugoda still at the crease.
All seemed to be going well when Dalugoda took a single off Saeed’s first ball, but Declan Dudley was run out off the second. Saeed then dismissed Dalugoda caught and bowled for 60 off the next, and two balls later bowled Scott Martin, leaving Adil Valli to face the final ball needing four to win… and he played and missed leaving a frustrated Egerton on 167-6 and Bradshaw moving to within a point of the leaders.
Saeed finished with figures of 5-58 off 20 overs.
Earlier John Kerrigan hit 65 in Bradshaw’s total, Will Halton’s 3-46, including three wicket maidens, doing much to keep the score in check.
Batting first appeared to be key to victory on Saturday with all but one of the games won by the teams who had first knock.
Social Circle found Walkden’s 208-9 too hot to handle as they crashed to a surprise 53-run defeat at Piggott Park where visiting pro Travis Townsend hit 95 with Ryan Ayres (32) and Honey Garg (31) making telling contributions.
Former West Indies Test ace Corey Collymore led the Walkden attack with 5-44 and Rafi Afridi took 4-10 from 4.1 overs as Circle were bowled out for 155 – a score that would have been much lower but for Andrew Lane (30no) and Chris Barrow (27) putting on 55 for the seventh wicket.
Adil Nisar took the day’s individual honours, setting a Farnworth club batting record as he mercilessly caned the Astley Bridge bowlers at Bridgman Park.
The Pakistani hit 18 fours and three sixes on his way to 157 – overtaking Ian Harvey’s 147 not out in 1993, which was also against Astley Bridge – as Farnworth reached a mammoth 332-3 on their way to a 180-run victory.
Bridge’s bowlers toiled in the heat as Nisar and Chris Baxendale (66) shared in a partnership of 163 before Hassan Adnan picked up the baton with an unbeaten 53.
Bridge – never in with a shout – were bowled out inside 40 overs, Krishnan Patel (46) top scoring while Curtis Anderton (3-39) and Chris Wilson (3-26) took the bowling honours.
Andy Kerr almost matched Nisar with an unbeaten 143 as Geenmount – smarting from Friday’s 10-wicket defeat at Norden in the Lancashire Knockout - rattled up 264-6 to blitz Tonge by 179 runs.
Phil Ingram (5-29) and Mark Stewart (4-45) completed the formalities, bowling out the visitors for 85 inside 23 overs.
Westhoughton’s opening partnership of Atiq Uz-Zaman (102) and Dan Naylor (73) put on a match-winning 168 for the first wicket as the home side chalked up 266-7 on their way to a 150-run victory over Eagley.
The visitors, who are still looking for their first league win of the season, never looked like taking on the challenge and were bowled out for 116, Qaiser Abbas (4-46 from 20 overs) and Matthew Fanning (4-27 from 7) polishing them off with ease.
An unbeaten half century from Ryan Chaisty was pivotal in Horwich’s 28-run victory over Kearsley.
The Railwaymen were struggling at 79-7 in the face of some fine bowling from Sabah Ghaus (6-74) when Chaisty entered the fray. But the number nine batsman’s 52, including partnerships of 56 with Adam Street (30) and 34 with Andy Taylor (12no), turned the game on its head.
Horwich recovered to post a total of 196-9.
Kearsley, who were penalised two overs for their slow rate, were on the ropes at 29-3 but a partnership of 91 for the fourth wicket between professional Chesney Hughes (66) and Rick Hamblett (45) put them back in contention. But they eventually succumbed to the bowling of Street, who followed up his contribution with the bat with 6-66 as the visitors were bowled out for 168 in 37 overs.
Reigning champions Little Lever ended the day still in the bottom three with just three wins in 15 matches following a six-wicket defeat at Heaton, where they were skittled for just 121.
Heaton skipper Imran Mirza, who is generating a strong team spirit a Lower Pools, led by example, taking 7-32 then hitting an unbeaten 51 as the home side took just 24 overs to rattle off the runs.
Egerton 167-6 Bradshaw 170-9
Bradshaw won by 3 runs
Farnworth 332-3 Astley Bridge 152
Farnworth won by 180 runs
Farnworth Social Circle 155 Walkden 208-9
Walkden won by 55 runs
Greenmount 264-6 Tonge 85
Greenmount won by 179 runs
Heaton 122-4 Little Lever 121
Heaton won by 6 wkts
Horwich RMI 196-9 Kearsley 168
Horwich won by 28 runs
Westhoughton 266-7 Eagley 116
Westhoughton won by 150 runs
Eagley 179-7 Egerton 181-5
Egerton won by 5 wkts.
Bradshaw 202 Farnworth 229.
Farnworth won by 23 runs (revised target).
Astley Bridge 116 Farnworth SC 234-7.
Social Circle won by 118 runs.
Tonge 243-7 Heaton 270-7.
Heaton won by 16 runs (revised target).
Little Lever 169 Horwich 246-9.
Horwich won by 77 runs.
Kearsley 147 Westhoughton 325-4.
Westhoughton won by 178 runs.
Walkden 101 Greenmount 102-1.
Greenmount won 9 wkts.