THE Bolton Cricket League was back with a bang with a packed weekend of league and cup action starting the new season.

The new one-division, 15-team league competition got under way on Saturday before Sunday saw sides battle it out in the first round of the Hamer Cup.

In the league, Horwich were eight-wicket winners at home to Farnworth Social Circle.

There were two century partnerships in the match, the first unbeaten between Circle’s Tim Barrow (90) and professional Ryan Ayres (69) as they posted 195-2.

Horwich followed that up though with a three-figure stand of their own for victory with Dean Bell making exactly 100 and Tom Billington 74 not out.

Little Lever were nine-wicket winners at Eagley.

An opening partnership of 117 between Dane Hargreaves (79) and Josh Gent (39 not out) steered the visitors to victory.

Earlier an 81-run stand from Jack Hancock (42) and Martin Eccles (38) had helped rescue the home team from 24-4.

Curtis Anderton’s 5-37 was the best bowling performance of the day for Little Lever.

Jimmy Walsh Hill (30) was the mainstay of the Darcy Lever innings as they were bowled out for 155 against Lostock, Dave Flanagan (3-48) and professional Lukman Vahuluwela (3-25) the main wicket-takers.

Lostock sealed victory in just 26 overs, Vahuluwela hitting 85 from 52 balls, and sharing half-century partnerships with Connor Hicklin and Robbie Holgate.

Mo Jameel (4-21) and Dave Mather (4-25) did the damage for Kearsley as 2019 champions Walkden were dismissed for 79 with only skipper Nathan Rushton providing much resistance with 27.

Taylor Heyes was Kearsley’s leading run scorer with 28 in a five-wicket win.

Blackrod’s final pair came up just two runs short of their rain-revised target at Little Hulton.

An 81-run partnership between Kashi Raja (47) and Habib Ur Rehman (33) took Little Hulton from 89-5 to post the first total of more than 200 of the season, bowled out for 225.

At 156-2 with professional Akash Senarathna (90) and Tush De Zoysa (62), Blackrod appeared to be heading for victory. However, seven wickets fell for 46 runs as they tasted defeat.

Astley Bridge collapsed from 53-1 to 105 all out against Farnworth, with deputy professional Asher Zaidi taking 4-14 and Dan Higham 3-35. Zaidi then hit 28 and Chris Baxendale 33 as

Farnworth won by six wickets. In the final league game, Atherton’s deputy professional Thikshila De Silva recorded a half century, but Tonge’s pro Hashan Dumindu played a large part in his side’s six-wicket victory with 3-28 and 54 not out out as they chased down 110 for victory.

Tonge pro Hashan Dumindu watched by Farnworths Simon Booth. Picture: Harry McGuire

Tonge pro Hashan Dumindu watched by Farnworth's Simon Booth. Picture: Harry McGuire

Dumindu completed a fine individual weekend in the Hamer Cup as he made 80 in his side’s 195 batting first against Farnworth, the last seven wickets falling for just 21 runs, Kian Patel taking 4-44 and deputy professional Umega Chataranga 4-35.

The visitors got over the line by two wickets in a tense finish, Ross Sutton was leading scorer for Farnworth with 47, Simon Booth and Dan Higham hit 26 apiece and their cause helped by 35 extras. Naseer Ahmed took 3-19.

That wasn’t the tightest game of the day though as Kearsley progressed against Walkden thanks to a faster run rate with both sides bowled out for 129.

A dramatic finish saw Walkden’s final pair, having put on 25 in a low-scoring match, suffer a run out going for the second run which would have given them a place in the second round.

Cameron Murray (31), Mo Jameel (30) and a valuable 21 from Dave Mather batting at 10 took Kearsley to their total, Akbar Rehman taking 4-25 and Tahir Maqsood 3-28.

Walkden subsided to 12-4 in reply before Nathan Rushton began the recovery with 27. Oliver Gaskell then took Walkden to the brink of victory with 35 before being last man out. Jameel finished a good all-round day with 4-24.

Dane Hargreaves with 35 was the only run scorer of note as Little Lever were bowled out for 130 in their nine-wicket defeat against Blackrod.

Tush De Zoysa took 3-23 then went on to score 56 in an opening partnership of 127 with Joe Pryle (58).

Professional Adeel Baig hit 96 from just 60 deliveries to give Eagley six-wicket win against Darcy Lever, James Richards having taken 4-23 in Darcy’s 148-7.

Tom Billington continued his prolific weekend with 93 as Horwich posted 198 in their 28-run win against Farnworth Social Circle.

Billington shared an 82-run stand with professional Brett Pelser (48) as Richard Dempster took 3-34.

FSC struggled early on reaching 71-6, before Chris Barrow hit 39, followed by a last-wicket partnership of 38 between David Dempster (32) and Andrew Brooks (21).

Sam Bell and Jordan Higham both took three wickets.

Matthew Morris and Aneeq Hassan added 144 as Westhoughton posted 251-7 in their relatively straightforward win against. Lostock. They were all out for 160, Robbie Holgate top scoring with 46.