Blackrod and Astley Bridge played out a thrilling tie as champions-elect Little Lever survived a scare against Eagley to win Saturday’s top-two clash in the Anthony Axford North West Cricket League’s Premiership.

Astley Bridge’s Faiz Khandu claimed a superb 6-47 to limit hosts Blackrod to 150-9.

Sri Lankan sub professional Dilshan Munaweera’s unbeaten 69 then recovered the visitors’ reply from 12-3. But they lost three wickets in Thushendra de Zoysa’s final over, which started with four to win.

Captain Matthew Hargraves was run out as they slipped from 147-3 to 149-6, before Munaweera was dropped off the last ball as Astley Bridge finished on 150-6.

Seven points leaves Blackrod fifth and Bridge ninth after 16 games.

Little Lever’s 14th win came by 88 runs at Eagley, who were bowled out for 102 chasing 191.

New-ball duo Curtis Anderton and Naeem Patel claimed four wickets apiece. Earlier, Little Lever fell from 147-1 to finish on 190-9 after openers Nipun Gaikwad (59) and Adil Nisar (70) impressed.

Josh Gent’s side sit top on 163 points, 37 clear of Farnworth with seven rounds remaining. Four 12-point wins will guarantee the title.

Farnworth’s 10th win came against in-form Kearsley at home by 63 runs. Sri Lankan pro Milinda Siriwardana hit 49 in 182 all out.

Indian new ball seamer Yatin Mangwani claimed 5-50 to bowl 10th-placed Kearsley out for 118. They lost only their second league game since mid-May.

Farnworth Social Circle jumped to third, winning a thriller by three runs at Settle, who finished on 101-6 after 25 overs chasing a revised 105 target.

West Indian pro Jameel Stuart hit 40 in Social Circle’s 136 all out before Dave Mather’s new-ball 4-33 helped seal victory.

Salesbury brushed Brinscall aside to win by 10 wickets at home in a game lasting just 28.3 overs in total. Sub professional Jacques Snyman claimed 4-6 as Brinscall were bowled out for 45 before hitting 29 not out in reply.

Like Social Circle and Salesbury, hosts Padiham also won for the ninth time, beating Oswaldtwistle Immanuel by eight wickets chasing 93.

New-ball pair Jack Edgar (5-17) and Ben Swindells (4-24) shone in Oswaldtwistle’s 92 all out before pro Edgar added 30 in a routine response.

Whalley won at Feniscowles, while Lostock were landslide winners by 158 runs against lowly Baxenden - 55 all out chasing 214.

Lostock’s Pakistani pro Akbar Ur Rehman hit a fine unbeaten 109 off 105 balls in 213-5, before Adam Syddall claimed four new-ball wickets for the eighth-placed hosts.

Read claimed an eye-catching five-wicket win at home to Ribblesdale Wanderers chasing 246.

Andrew Needham’s superb 137 off 111, with five sixes, underpinned Wanderers’ strong 245-6. But Michael Whalley (64), Zi Bhada (55) and Jack Wood (59 not out) all shone in a chase completed with 14 balls remaining.

Read’s eighth win means they sit 13th and are rivalling Wanderers in 11th for a top-12 finish.

Sandwiched directly between them are Tonge, who won an enthralling low-scoring affair by three wickets with nine balls left at Cherry Tree (115 all out).

Tonge captain Connor Lord impressed with 3-22, before Jack Smith and unbeaten wicketkeeper Connor Thomson shared 56 for the eighth wicket to recover from 58-6. Smith made 42 and Thomson 23.

Towards the bottom, hosts Barnoldswick beat Walkden (183-9) by seven wickets. Indian pro Chirag Khurana claimed 5-43 before South African opener Justin Gilliland hit 71 in reply.

Hosts Earby beat Atherton by 31 runs. Rowan Shelton returned 6-36 in Earby’s 151 all out, but Atherton were bowled out for 120.