LITTLE Hulton knocked off in-form Darcy Lever on Saturday by 119 runs, with all-rounders Tajamul Khan and Imran Butt at the heart of their impressive success.

Captain Khan’s 80 off 98 balls underpinned the visitors’ imposing 241 all out before professional Butt’s 6-36 from 13.1 overs put the skids under Darcy.

The hosts, who had previously won three from three Association outings, were skittled for 122 inside 38 overs.

“I wouldn’t doubt the fact those two are right up there as all-rounders in the division,” said former skipper Darren Mullineux, who scored on Saturday having hung up his boots.

“They’re two very good off-spin bowlers, and the pro’s had a shed load of runs already this year when you include T20s and things like that.

“We always do quite well at Darcy, but this was a really good win, a team performance. There were no dropped catches and everyone chipped in with the bat apart from one I think.

"Taj batted great. Imran with the ball, too. He was brilliant.”

While this was Little Hulton’s second win in four league fixtures in 2019, their first – against Tonge – was overturned by league officials due to an issue with player registration.

“It’s not been the best start, but we are an improvement on last year,” said Mullineux.

“The captain’s changed from Suleman Muhammed to Taj. He’s brought in two or three, including a couple from Darcy actually.

“We have a new keeper in Amitkumar Patel, who claimed three really quick stumpings, Aasif Afinwala and Sarfraj Bhochaka, who are both batsmen.

“I’ve stopped playing, which has benefited them!

“We now have 13 first-teamers this year instead of eight last, which obviously brings competition.”

Last season, Little Hulton finished seventh out of 10 in the Association, winning eight and losing eight.

Mullineux continued: “The lads are keen on going for promotion.

“When I talk about an improvement on last year, that was shown on Saturday by the lads who batted nine and 10 (Waqar Idrees and Shahzad Ahmed) went in at four and five last year.

“We cover every base. If it’s a deck that suits seam, we have two or three quicks. The pro also bowls seamers when he wants.”

After electing to bat at The Levers, Khan hit three sixes and 10 fours in 80 off 98 balls from number four in the order. But quickly after he fell, they slipped to 169-7, only to recover as Waqar Idrees also clubbed three sixes in a late 36.

In reply, the hosts were rarely in it as spin duo Khan and Butt shared eight wickets. Added to Butt’s six-for, Khan chipped in with 2-43 from 12 overs. Their pro Muhammad Imran Sadiq was the only man to reach 20 with 33.

Mullineux added: “When we were put under pressure with the bat, we responded. We also took wickets at crucial times. Taj realised it was a turning deck pretty quickly, and he got himself and the pro on to change the game.”