THE race for the title will go to the final day of the season after Blackrod and Elton both turned in winning performances on Saturday.
Blackrod, who showed their all-round abilities with a 156-run win at A t h e r t o n , r e m a i n favourites, leading by 11 points and needing only three more from their home game against Walshaw this weekend to complete a league and Cross Cup double.
But Elton, who kept their side of the bargain with a 44-run victory over Edgworth, travel to Daisy Hill determined to maintain the pressure.
Peter Lomax (66) and John Ashworth (30) helped Elton to an unconvincing 145-6. But in-form Toby Bulcock came up trumps, taking 6-29 as the Bury side bowled out the visitors for 100.
Tush de Zoysa hit a century and Zahoor Elahi 69 as Blackrod rattled up 252-7 at Atherton, then Asif Bhojani took over, taking 7-34 as the Howe Bridge men were bowled out for 96.
Gav Nicholl underlined his reputation as one of the brightest young batsmen of the Association when he passed 1,000 runs for the season in helping Walshaw to a 99-run victory over Flixton.
The 20-year-old scored 90 as Walshaw posted 213-6 – boosted by an unbeaten 44 from Danny Holland.
Nick Murphy and Dave Bowden took five wickets apiece to bowl out Flixton for 114.
Spring View took the honours in a close encounter at Golborne, winning with just three balls to spare with their last pair at the crease.
Paul Farrar top-scored with 48 as Golborne were bowled out for 149, Dave Gornall taking 4-32.
Golborne’s Lee Baldwin took 5-51, as View’s chase faltered and they needed an unbeaten 57 from Gornall to scrape home in a decisive final over.
Adlington beat Astley and Tyldesley by seven wickets, despite putting themselves under pressure with a slow start as they set about chasing a rather modest target.
Jamie McDougall (73) and Haroon Patel (45) put on 110 for the second wicket as A&T reached 153-6, Majid Majeed taking 4-37.
Adlington were struggling in the face of some tight bowling until Chris Mulligan (88no) and Majeed (57) got things moving with a third-wicket stand of 123.
Daisy Hill’s decision to bowl after winning the toss at Standish paid dividends as they recorded a comfortable 10-wicket win.
Adil Ali (4-15) and Amjid Khan (3-19) did the damage as the home side were bowled out for 84. Zamir Mulla (53) and Mike Chilton (32) took less than 12 overs to rattle off the runs.
Shaukat Patel took 7-56 to help skittle out Darcy Lever for 85 and set up an eightwicket win for Little Hulton.
Callum Barlow (41no) and Ali Niazi (27no) did the rest as the visitors claimed a comfortable victory.