WESTHOUGHTON missed out on the chance to put pressure on league leaders Farnworth Social Circle yesterday as their potentially title-defining clash was washed out at St George’s Oval.
The third-placed side went into the home fixture 11 points behind the table-toppers but after reducing them to 96-6 from 32 overs were unable capitalise on their dominance before rain stopped play.
Rameez Alam made 45 for Social Circle and Tim Barrow finished on 29 not out, while Westhoughton pro Qaiser Abbas claimed 3-34.
The remainder of the weekend’s first round of fixtures went the same way, with every game falling foul of the weather.
That was cruel luck on two players, in particular, as Farnworth’s Chris Wilson took a hat-trick at Greenmount and Heaton’s Anwar ul-Haq smashed 106 from 65 deliveries at home to Egerton.
Greenmount, in fifth, looked in with a chance of bridging the 11-point gap to Farnworth as they bid to beat them to a place in the top four and claim the final qualifying spot for next season’s Lancashire Knockout.
Damien Keegan had notched up 47 and Ryan Senior was set fair on 50 when Wilson struck.
Former Farnworth batsman Alex Rodzoch was the first of his back-to-back wickets, falling to an impressive catch at cover from Victor Walcott, before Wilson bowled Senior and then had Chris Evans caught down the leg-side. Greenmount eventually ended on 180-7 from 44 overs, while Wilson finished with figures of 5-44 before the game was abandoned.
Heaton’s serene progress was also rudely interrupted by the weather.
Anwar ul-Haq put on a batting masterclass, caressing the ball around his home pitch in his swashbuckling century.
Matt Fray also weighed in with 44 but their efforts were to no avail as Heaton’s innings was brought to an early close on 207-6 from 37 overs and Egerton were unable to bat due to rain.
Stuart Hornby (2-41) and Will Halton (2-52) took two wickets apiece for Egerton.
Horwich were bowled out for 124 after being put into bat by visitors Eagley, but the weather denied the bottom side the chance to claim their first win of the season.
Deputy pro Brenton Parchment put the basement club in a commanding position after taking 7-58 from 20 overs while Asif Bhojani claimed 3-66.
Babar Naeem was the only Horwich batsman to make it past 20, hitting 43, but the crowd were entertained by a ninth-wicket partnership of 25 in 23 minutes from teenagers Joe Baldwin, who normally stars for the under 15s, and u14s regular Marcus Haydock, who finished on 13no.
Adam Street and Naeem took a wicket apiece as Eagley slumped to 5-2 in their reply before bad weather finally stopped play.
Kearsley lay the groundwork for what would have been a surprise victory over second-placed side Bradshaw after setting them 223-7 from their 45 overs.
But the weather came to the visitors’ rescue as they stuttered to 24-2 in their reply before the rain set in.
Opener Asa ur-Rehman made 63 and pro Chesney Hughes smashed 59 from 26 balls, including six sixes.
Saeed Anwar Jnr (2-64), Jordi Mason (2-48) and Phil Dickinson (2-66) took two wickets apiece for Bradshaw, while Anwar moved to 19no before their reply was ended by the rain.
Kamran Younis returned from his ban after showing dissent in the Hamer Cup final to take 3-34 as Little Lever reduced Astley Bridge to 103-8 from 32 overs. Mark Martin also claimed 4-39.
Anthony Hilton was out first ball of Little Lever’s reply before Younis added 18no, only for the weather to end proceedings with the home side on 22-1.
Tonge reached 11 without loss in their reply to Walkden’s 145-8 from 35 overs before the match was abandoned.
Openers Travis Townsend (32) and Ryan Ayres (30) top scored for Walkden before the Tonge bowlers took control, with Gullam Abbas claiming 4-60 and Chanaka Ruwansiri 3-36.
Astley Bridge 103-8 Little Lever 22-1. Match abandoned.
Greenmount 180-7 Farnworth DNB. Match abandoned.
Heaton 207-6 Egerton DNB. Match abandoned.
Horwich 124 Eagley 5-2. Match abandoned.
Kearsley 223-7 Bradshaw 24-2. Match abandoned.
Tonge 11-0 Walkden 145-8. Match abandoned.
Westhoughton DNB. Farnworth SC 96-6. Match abandoned.