For the first time in a while last Saturday, there was a full programme of matches played in the Anthony Axford North West Cricket League Conference divisions - and both North and South sections saw the leaders maintain their place at the top.

In Conference South, Farnworth returned to winning ways as they ended the recent victorious run of visitors Lostock with a four-wicket win at Bridgeman Park. Lostock went in first and made 160, mainly thanks to the efforts of George Jackson (54), Harry Jackson (33) and Jimmy McLoughlin (31), while Sajid Mahmood took 4-34 and Rizwan Pervez 3-48. Farnworth were then indebted to Zahid Butt, who carried his bat for 72, and Pervez, who added 30 to his wickets, as they chased the target down despite Darren Parr taking 3-43.

Atherton picked up a welcome win as they frustrated Farnworth Social Circle’s pursuit of their neighbours with a 71-run defeat. Atherton posted 202-5 with Dale Tyrer making 50, Mike Tomlinson 44, Ian Nuttall 31, and Greg Greenough 29. Nuttall and Tyrer then took three wickets each to undermine the Circle reply which saw them make 131 all out with the main contributions coming from Andrew Wareing (44) and Grant Mason-Platt (24).

Little Lever were also comfortable winners on their travels as they defeated Blackrod by 92 runs at Vicarage Road. Chasing a target of 160, Blackrod never really got to grips with the Lever bowling and collapsed to just 67 all out with Ben Oxborough taking 3-15 and the other wickets spread out. When Lever had batted, an unbroken 10th-wicket stand of 47 between Matt Mills (33 not out) and Paul Hewart helped post a more challenging 159-9, after Steve Ashworth had taken 5-34.

Walkden also won away as they defeated Eagley by two wickets in a tight game at the Nest. Eagley went in first and, with Dan Counsell making 38 and Adam Roberts 27, managed to make 156 all out as Nehmaan Rashid took 4-36. Bilal Afzal then carried his bat for 58 to help his side inch over the line, with useful support from Najam Khan (26) and Haroon Abbassi (29) as Sam Hall took 3-46.

A low-scoring game at Springfield Road saw Tonge get the better of hosts Kearsley by five wickets. Kearsley’s innings was destroyed by a superb spell of 7-30 by Daniel Holt and, with a top score of just 14 they managed a meagre 67 all out. Tonge did not have things all their own way, but Dave Whittle’s unbeaten 26 saw them home.

Barrowford enjoyed a good day with both teams winning and as a result the firsts remain top of the table in Conference North.

The first XI travelled to Back Lane to take on Baxenden and returned home with the points after an 87-run success. Nadeem Ashraf hit 67, Ulfat Ali 34, Zaram Ali 47 and Imran Karim 27 as they made the day’s highest score of 254, despite Adam Nawaz taking 4-58 and Henry Hindle 3-46. Nawaz then made 56no as Bash made 167 in reply, with Toby Gouldthorpe adding 31, Haider Ali 27 and Zac Bannon 24, while Fezaan Imtiaz took 4-20 and Ulfat Ali 3-58.

The seconds, meanwhile, won a low-scoring encounter with Salesbury who, however, remain in second place in the table. Batting first they were bowled out for 89 as only Waqas Pervez 37 made much impact with the bat with three wickets each for Cameron Walmsley, Ben Riley and Ethan Salt. Any thoughts of a Salesbury win were quickly dispelled as Faisal Mehmood took 6-17 to bowl them out for 70.

Burnley Belvedere’s two teams had contrasting fortunes with defeat for the first XI, but success for the seconds.

The first XI slumped to a heavy 106-run loss at Foulridge after their hosts had rattled up 224 batting first. Jabbran Sajjad made 67, Rashid Rasheed 55 and Jonathon Swarbrick 23, while Abdul Shakoor took 5-39 for Burnley. Just three Burnley batters made double figures, led by Abid Khan’s 21 as Muhammad Rauf took 5-46 and Muhammad Haroon 3-38.

The seconds picked up a win as they beat Whalley by 99 runs after making 177 all out. A middle-order recovery saw Ali Zar make 53, Saqib Ali 38 and Kashif Parvaiz 36 after Sam Davies took 4-38 and Ed Burrow 3-22. Whalley’s innings followed a similar pattern with only Haroon Nazir (27) making much impact as Tanvir Ahmed took 3-7 and Aadil Hussain 3-22.

Ribblesdale Wanderers remain in the top three following a comfortable 89-run win at Stacksteads. Set a target of 155, the home side were bundled out for just 65 as George Kerr took 4-21 and Waqas Khan 4-30, with just two batters making double figures. Stewart Trotter, with 39, was the highest of five double figure scores as Ribb were bowled out for 154, with Matt Croney taking 3-29 and Luke Davies 3-32.

Read enjoyed an early finish as they despatched Brinscall by eight wickets in a game that lasted just 28 overs. Brinscall collapsed to a paltry 47 all out, with Andrew Scambler making 17 of those as Andrew Bennett took 5-19 and Warren Eastham 3-7. Henry Higson then hit 22no as Read rushed home in less than 12 overs.

There was another rapid finish at Chatburn where Oswaldtwistle Immanuel thrashed the home side by nine wickets after bowling them out for a meagre 39 in an innings that lasted just 15 overs, as Waseem Hussain took 6-17 and Zameer Hussain 4-21, including a hat-trick. Ossy’s reply was even quicker as James Clark’s unbeaten 32 saw them home in just 11 overs.

Earby and Barnoldswick fought out a low-scoring tied game with both teams being dismissed for 98. Martyn Windle held the Earby innings together with exactly half the home side’s total as he made 49, while Wasique Ali took 4-16 and Josh Butler 3-35. Barlick then slumped to 10-4 before Shazab Ali (37) and Wasique (21no) added 49 for the fifth wicket. More wickets tumbled and they found themselves 14 short with one wicket in hand. They managed 13, but Josh Bond grabbed the last wicket. Jason Lockley and Windle had both taken four wickets for Earby.

Another exciting game saw Padiham eventually get the better of Feniscowles by three wickets as they hunted down their target of 161. Joe Edgar led the way with 48 and Raheen Hussain added 33 as Imran Najeeb took 4-44. Matthew Caddick had top scored with 52 as Feniscowles had earlier made 160-7, with good support from Ed Rushworth (37) and James Jackson (23), while both Harry Starkie and Rhys Meehan took three wickets.