HEATON took full advantage of a rare defeat for leaders Westhoughton to narrow the gap at the top of the Bolton League second team Premiership table to just four points.

They closed the gap by virtue of an eight-wicket victory over Farnworth at Lower Pools as they chased down their target of 117 with relative ease.

Nigel Duxbury got the chase off to a good start as he made 48 as part of an opening stand of 80 with Kishan Patel who hit 31.

Marcus Haslam then finished off the job with 22 not out.

Waseem Elahi had earlier bowled a superb spell to take 7-42 and help dismiss Farnworth for 118 with Lee Bridge’s 25 the best of five double-figure efforts.

Westhoughton, led by Martin Hodgkiss with 69 well supported by Tyrese Sinclair (29) and Charlie Honour (26), had posted a useful looking total of 195 despite Thomas de Gelder taking 4-51 and Chris McGuiness chipping in with 3-28.

Nick Palmer continued his good form to make 51 but Bradshaw found themselves wobbling a little on 124-6 before an unbroken stand of 74 between Ryan Counsell (49no) and Jamie Legg (25no) turned the game their way.

Farnworth Social Circle set Astley Bridge a daunting target of 325 as they raced to 324-2 in their 45 overs.

Stephen Edwards (29) and Zac Wilson gave them a good start, adding 64 for the first wicket before Wilson was joined by Stephen French to add 128 for the second wicket.

Wilson went on to make a fine unbeaten 101, while French hit an impressive 124 before being dismissed.

Bridge, while not really threatening the target, nonetheless battled their way to a respectable 188-9 in reply.

Naz Patel, Robert Hitchen and Jimmy Dakri all hit scores in the 20s but nobody went on to make a telling response.

Horwich RMI also enjoyed a comfortable win as they defeated a hapless Blackrod by nine wickets at the Recreation Ground.

Matthew Baty (27) and Chris Readey gave the visitors a reasonable start but the introduction of left-arm spin at both ends proved too much for them and they collapsed to just 81 all out from a relatively comfortable position of 56-2.

Phil Cavill with 4-12 and Andy Taylor (3-13) proved too hot to handle and Adam Knowles (29no) and Josh Little (29) ensured a leisurely win.

Darcy Lever maintained their four-point lead above Little Hulton at the top of the Association division by virtue of a 94-run victory over Atherton.

Batting first they recovered from 52-3 as Bilal Khan and Wayne Hopkinson added 123 to help them reach a total of 211-6.

Khan made a splendid 117, while Hopkinson anchored the innings with an unbeaten 45. Atherton were always struggling as the Darcy Lever bowlers took wickets at regular intervals, and only Connor Gilluley made much of an impact, making 26 of their 117-9.

Little Hulton kept up the pressure with a similarly comfortable victory over the inconsistent Lostock side. Batting first they relied on 58 from Brian Kelly and 28 by Andrew Willis to help them reach 186-9, as Tom Mills (4-61) and Darren Parr (3-42) battled hard for the visitors.

The same could not be said of the batsmen however as six wickets for Neil Jarvis and four for Ian Lee saw them collapse to a paltry 45 in reply.

The top score in the division was made at Walkden where the home side recovered from 17-2 thanks initially to a stand of 143 between Andrew Salami and Mohammad Razzaq.

Salami eventually fell for 42, but Razzaq went on to make a brilliant unbeaten 170 and help them up to a total of 281-8 with Lloyd Sayers taking 3-64.

Tonge never got going at all and collapsed relatively quickly to 85 all out in reply with only Mohsin Khan’s 22 making much impact.

George McManus bowled well to take 5-44 with Sean Morris backing him up well with 4-19.

Golborne also had a relatively comfortable afternoon as they got the better of Adlington by seven wickets at Simpsons Field.

Chasing a target of 126, Tom Kelly (42) and Ben Lyon (30) led the charge before Farooq Hussain and Brad Houghton helped finish the job.

Golborne’s bowlers had earlier put together a good team effort as five of them shared the wickets in dismissing their visitors for 125 with only Michael Chamberlain (27no) and Stewart Plowes (26) looking like pushing the total any higher.

The final game of the day was a relatively low-scoring affair which saw Eagley come out on top against Little Lever by 72 runs at Victory Road.

The home side, having dismissed Eagley for 128, found virtually no answer to the bowling of Michael Craig, who took 5-19, and Daniel Cain 3-10 and collapsed to just 56 in reply.

Eagley had been in some trouble at 22-5 before Cain, with 31, and Jason Craig (42) helped them recover to post 128 all out as Thomas Hargreaves claimed 4-35.