IT was a busy weekend in the Bolton League Second XI with league games on the Saturday followed by the opening round of the Birtwistle Cup on Sunday.

Farnworth are setting the pace in the league as the only team to secure maximum points in all three games so far with Tonge being their latest victims.

Bowlers were on top at Castle Hill where Farnworth batted first and were bowled out for 126 with only Michael Daley (38) and Bilal Khan (21) getting to grips with the bowling of Muhammed Gujra (4-24) and Samir Ugharatdar (3-16).

Tonge, though, found batting even harder with just two people in double figures as they were shot out for just 63 in reply. Zahid Butt took 3-13 and there were two wickets each for Victor Walcott and Sam Bradley.

Little Hulton lie just one point behind Farnworth having defeated Blackrod by 94 runs at The Old Vicarage. Chasing a target of 206, Jacob Ashworth found himself playing a lone hand as he made a battling 59 but nobody else managed double figures as Dylon Wylie took 4-15 and John Wallwork 3-37 to bowl them out for 111.

Little Hulton had made 205-8 earlier with good contributions coming in from Ashley Perry (47), Ellis Pearson (42) and Lister Wilson (35) as Stephen Glover took 4-43 for Blackrod.

Westhoughton sit a further point behind having secured their third win with an eight-wicket success over Kearsley at St Georges.

Andy Gregory battled hard to make 26, but with minimal support elsewhere Kearsley folded to just 71 all out as all five Westhoughton bowlers used shared the wickets.

Despite losing two early wickets, they then cruised to an eight-wicket win thanks to Callum Fletcher (25 not out) and Arun Pindoria (34no).

For the second week running Lostock’s batting let them down badly as they collapsed to a meagre 89 in pursuit of a target of 219.

Just three batters reached double figures as Oliver Tuck bagged 3-12 and Luca Doyle and Rory Brierley two each.

Earlier, Tom Mitchell made 58, Craig Faulkner 44, Oscar Smith 27no and Craig Massey 26no in a total of 218-4, with Darren Parr taking two wickets.

Atherton came out on top of a tight game at Piggott Street where they edged out Farnworth Social Circle by 14 runs.

Greg Greenough led the way for the visitors with a superb 103 and with Dan Hudspith chipping in with 26 and Otis Ryan hitting 25, Atherton made 196-6 despite two wickets each for Bradley Barrow and Keane Mulligan.

Liam Ashworth led the chase with 47 and Ayyan Mehmood added 30, but Tom Mather (4-29) and Dan Hughes (3-25) helped bowl them out for 172.

Walkden played their first game of the season but found themselves bundled out for a paltry 52 against Horwich RMI.

Aman Khan and Umer Ishaq both made 17 but the rest of the batting had no answer to Jack Ramsden’s 5-5. Andy Hancock and Kishan Hira rushed RMI to their target in just eight overs.

The following day, though, saw Walkden secure a battling one-wicket win at Atherton to move into round two of the cup.

Atherton had struggled to post a total of 136 batting first, thanks mainly to Matt Nolan’s 46 and 23 from Paul Woodend as Adnan Khan took 4-16 and Haroon Abbasi (3-25) chipped in.

Three wickets each for Tom Mather, Louie Farrimond and Woodend made Walkden struggle for their runs, but with Arshad Mehmood making 31, Ibrar Ilyas scoring 27 and Sehran Khan hitting 23no, they edged over the line.

Astley Bridge rattled up a highly-impressive 338-6 on their way to a 184-run win against Tonge at Castle Hill.

The foundation for their score was built around a 195-run partnership for the third wicket between Shehzad Patel (96) and Kai Hodgkiss (74), with Jamie Cooper adding 33.

Tonge never really threatened their target despite useful runs from Callum Fenton (33no), Muhammed Gojra (30) and Marcus Dawson (26), and with Ramesh Patel taking 4-10 they were bowled out for 154.

Westhoughton knocked out Blackrod by a margin of 61 runs at Vicarage Road.

Jamie McAndrew (62), Ryan Chaisty (61) and Arun Pindoria (30) were the mainstays of their total of 212-7. Connor Kirkham then completely undermined the Blackrod reply as he took 6-22 to help restrict them to 151, despite 45 from Richard Ashworth, Chris Readey hitting 25 and Tom Westhead scoring 22.

At Victory Road, Little Lever fell just 20 runs short of defeating Horwich RMI. Set a target of 201, Myles Hayhurst (34no), Louis Partington (29) and Jack Barlow (25) led the charge, but 4-25 from Max Adamson and Will Pennington with 3-10 helped dismiss them for 180.

RMI’s total of 200 was built around Jack Ramsden, Aryan Ashraf and Jake Swindells who all passed the 30 mark, while Don Heyes took 4-46.

Another close game saw Eagley edge past Kearsley by three wickets in a hard-fought tie. Michael Craig was the star of the show for Eagley as he followed up figures of 4-11 in the Kearsley innings by top scoring in the run chase with 58.

Kearsley had battled their way to 161, thanks mainly to Andy Gregory (58) and Owen Thomson (29). Both then took two wickets, as did Neil Thompson, but Dan Councill, with an unbeaten 24, saw Eagley into round two.

At first-team level, tomorrow in the Royal London Club Championship, Westhoughton host Denton West, Walkden are at home to Dalton in Furness, while Farnworth travel to Northern.