SUNDAY was not a bad day to be an all-rounder. As important as Ben Stokes was to England, captain Jonathan Fowler’s 34 and two wickets proved the difference as Walkden beat Bradshaw to win the Hamer Cup for the second time in four seasons.

It was teatime at Horwich RMI when centurion Stokes won the third Ashes Test from nowhere at Headingley.

By that time, Walkden, who won the toss, had recovered from 86-7 to post 167-8 on a slow and low pitch.

Fowler was the architect of a game-turning recovery, which also included a more circumspect 27 from Muhammad Shoaib.

Fowler, batting at nine, and number eight Shoaib shared 52 for the eighth wicket. While Shoaib only hit one boundary, Fowler hit five fours and the fixture’s only six in 27 balls.Later, he took the new ball and struck once at either end of the innings (2-17 from 8.5 overs) as Bradshaw, missing key seamers Zaid Patel and Jack Shovelton, were bowled out for 107.

“With the position we were in, it just shows how well we bat all the way down,” said team manager Abid Riaz. “It was a top innings from Jonno and also Muhammad Shoaib and Tahir Maqsood (11 not out).

“The pitch looked fantastic at the start, but it was slow and low.

“We thought 200 would be a good score, but when we were struggling, we said, ‘120 or 130 will be a good score’. But those three batted brilliantly to get us up beyond 160. With our bowling attack, it was always going to be difficult to chase.

“In any other team, Jonno would be batting at five or six. But our batting strength means he can let others do it above him. When he started at Walkden as pro, he batted at five.

“Without his knock, we’d have been nowhere. He just completely changed the momentum. Bradshaw were on top, but by the time he got out their heads were down.”

After Fowler departed, Shoaib went on to also share 29 unbroken for the 10th wicket with Maqsood.

In reply, Bradshaw were never in the hunt.

Fowler’s new-ball partner Maqsood also claimed two wickets, as did Tayler Heyes, while there were important scalps for Liam Jackson, Muhammad Rameez and professional Akbar Ur Rehman.

“We knew if we bowled wicket to wicket, it would be very difficult for them to score,” said Riaz.

“Jonno got Tom Liversedge lbw early on and then Liam Jackson bowled their pro (Ian Dev Singh Chauhan), which were massive wickets.

“Unfortunately, Liam Jackson tore his calf and had to come off after four overs when he was bowling superbly.”

Walkden could now complete the league and cup double as early as this weekend. If they win at Little Lever and Farnworth fail to win at Adlington, they will have retained their Premiership title with two rounds remaining.

Riaz added: “Our aim was to win the Hamer Cup at the start of the year. It was an amazing day with a good crowd on, and Horwich put on a good show.

“Now we just need to concentrate on the league and win that.

“Fingers crossed we can do that and stay undefeated all season.”

Bradshaw get a second shot at silverware in Sunday’s Peter Stafford Trophy final against Horwich at Horwich.