BRADSHAW are Bolton’s last team standing in the ECB National Club Championship after seeing off Astley and Tyldesley at the Rigbys on Sunday.

“There’s some added pressure then,” chuckled captain Brett Ernst.

A different looking Bradshaw side, fielding a handful of up and comers and experienced second-team seamer Ian Ross, triumphed by eight wickets chasing 172 to advance to next month’s third-round tie against Prestwich from the GMCL Premier League.

Bradshaw bounced back from Saturday’s league defeat to Farnworth Social Circle, with Ernst hitting an unbeaten 89 in the chase and Tom Liversedge 50.

Earlier, Ross’s hooping in-swingers claimed 3-31, while leg-spinner Jordan Mason returned 3-17 and Liversedge started his impressive day with 2-12.

“It looks a routine win, but we had to give A&T plenty of respect as they knocked out Farnworth,” said Ernst. “We had a few missing, as I’m sure they did.

“One thing I can’t understand is how the competition allows a side to play a professional as long as they’re English homegrown.

“Sides with an English pro, like A&T, have an advantage. It’s a bit bizarre.

“We managed to negate their pro with the ball. Tom Liversedge is a quality player, and he got 50.

“They started well. Jimmy Cutt, who is a very good player, was going well, and it took a direct hit from Elliot Dargan from the boundary to run him out coming back for two. It turned the game.

“They were around 130-135 for three with 10 overs left, and you’re looking at 200-plus.

“Then Jordy Mason ripped through them. Oppositions are struggling to negate his turn. He’s only a young fella, but he’s a really good leg-spinner.”

Ernst, who reserved praise for youngsters Jordan Evans (20 not out) and Ross Dickinson, was also pleased with himself for being there at the end: “It’s something I need to add to my game,” he said.

“There were a lot of fringe players who put their hands up, which can be a benefit of the National Knockout.

“It wasn’t that we necessarily had people away, we’ve just got a few senior players who will find it difficult to back up in double headers.

“Ian Ross is a very good second-team cricketer. You know exactly what you’re getting. He’s skittled me more than once in pre-seasons past because, if you don’t give him the respect he deserves, he’ll get one to duck in late.

“He did that with their opening batsman.”

Looking forward to Prestwich and Saturday’s league clash with in-form Walkden, Ernst added: “Prestwich are going to be as good as any opposition we’ll face. We have to be at our best.

“It was good to win on Sunday, but we’re all about the league, so Saturday was disappointing.

“Circle played good cricket, even though we were perfectly placed to launch with 20 overs left.

“It was the first time this year where it’s crumbled for us. We have a full-strength side on Saturday, and there will be no excuses.

“There are a lot of very good sides in the Bolton League, and we have to win more than we lose against the top ones. We’re currently zero from one, and that needs addressing.”