It was a sunny weekend as the second XI season draws to a close in the inaugural Anthony Axford North West Cricket League and a full programme of league games on Saturday was followed by the finals of the cup competitions on Sunday.

The final of the Ramsbottom Cup saw a pulsating game go right down to the final over before Farnworth’s last-wicket pair saw them over the line with three balls remaining.

Lostock batted first and had struggled to 46-3 before eventual man-of-the-match, George Jackson, was joined by Jimmy McLoughlin in a stand of 110 to help them reach 160-4. Jackson went on to make a superb 105 not out, and McLoughlin added 32. Farnworth’s reply got off to a bad start, but their long middle-order all started to chip in with Neil Hyde making 42, Rizwan Pervez 32 and Bilal Khan 21. But with wickets falling regularly it went right down to the final over after Ryan Crombie had taken 3-23.

In contrast, the Lawrenson Cup final (the Plate competition for clubs knocked out in Round One of the Ramsbottom Cup) saw a one-sided affair in which Burnley Belvedere swept aside Little Lever by seven wickets. Lever never got going with 22 from Louis Partington the highest of three double-figure scores in a disappointing 91 all out as Amir Abbas took 3-19. Burnley reached the target comfortably in under 20 overs with Sageer Abbas making 42no.

In Conference South, there was an exciting game at Sharples Park where Astley Bridge lost by just two runs to Farnworth Social Circle. Chasing a target of 167, Ady Cooper set them on the way with 63 and then Taimur Khan added 28, but Josh French (3-33) and Gary Mason-Platt (3-20) did just enough to hold them off. Mason-Platt had earlier made 41 as he and Chris Walsh, with 45, helped set up a total of 166-9, despite Hashim Akhtar taking 4-26.

Atherton had a comfortable eight-wicket win against a 10-man Eagley at home. The visiting batters had simply no answer to the bowling of Wayne Cook, who took all nine wickets in an amazing spell of 9-22. Atherton took just 14 overs to knock off the 58 runs they needed.

Farnworth warmed up for their cup final by defeating neighbours Kearsley by six wickets. Chasing a target of 137, Chris Baxendale made 46 and Rizwan Pervez 30 to secure a comfortable win. Earlier, Mehr Khan, with 4-43, and Jamie Bohannon (4-24) had restricted Kearsley to 136 all out. Harvey Wild, made 33, and Grant Cordin 28 for the visitors.

A low-scoring game at Little Lever saw the home side lose by four wickets to Tonge. Just two home batters got past 10 as they collapsed to 61 all out against the bowling of Cliff Collings (5-24) and Ed Lynch (4-33). Matt Mills then took 3-19, but Tonge managed the required runs.

Lostock warmed up for the final with a 56-run win at Walkden thanks mainly to a fine all-round show from Harry Jackson, who made 60 then added 6-33 with the ball. His 60 and 35 from Nick Ford helped Lostock reach 164 all out. with Mehran Anwar taking 4-39. In reply, only Nehmaan Rashid, with 32, really threatened to swing the game Walkden’s way.

In Conference North, two wins over the weekend have propelled Ribblesdale Wanderers to the top of the table - three points ahead of Barrowford with a game in hand.

Saturday saw them travel to Brinscall and earn a win by 71 runs. Chasing 156, Brinscall were undermined by Graeme Kershaw’s 5-25 with only Oosmangani Patel’s 25 offering much resistance in a total of just 84. Stephen Tandy (51), Stewart Trotter (30) and Josh Dean (31) had helped Ribb to 155, as Danushka Lakshan took 3-33. Sunday saw them on the road again for a 60-run win at Padiham after making 183-9. Kristian Collinge (23), Tandy (22), Reuben Pickett (38) and Dean, with 26, were the main contributors as Jimmy Gray took 3-50. Gray then added 25, but only he and Joe Edgar reached 20 as Padiham notched 123 in reply with Dean adding 3-19.

There was an exciting game at Read where the home side finally went down by two wickets to a determined Barnoldswick. The visitors had been reduced to 40-4 but a battling 62no from David Scothern saw them over the line, despite both Andrew Rushton and Jamie Woodall taking three wickets. Read had made 132 as Haseeb Hanif took 6-38, with Mohammed Zaffran making 27 and George Wrathall 22.

Settle had a mixed weekend as they came out on top of a low-scoring thriller against Padiham and then lost a similar game against Feniscowles on Sunday. Saturday saw them edge home by two wickets, thanks in chief to Nick Cokell’s 33 chasing 87 as Jimmy Gray took 3-15. Padiham had got off to a good start, with Joe Edgar (23) and Toby Muldoon (35no) adding 50 for the first wicket only to collapse to 86 all out as Israr Khan took 6-16. On Sunday, they again struggled with the bat, making 95 as they pursued 106 to beat Feniscowles with just John Tarbox reaching 20 as James Jackson, Mahmood Chaudry and Imran Najeeb all took three wickets. Feniscowles’ score of 104 had been pretty much a one-man effort - Tom Lowcock hitting 48 of them as they recovered from 36-7 with both Harris Dinsdale and Harvey Green taking three wickets.

Whalley and Chatburn played out a thriller which saw the away side edge home by just one wicket. Whalley made a useful-looking 188-9 with good knocks coming from Gary Barker (29), Liam Boyle (36), Chris Cameron (46) and Henry Aldred (22) as Jamie Birtwell-Jones took 4-34. He then added 59 with the bat as he and Mark Nerenberg (49), made the bulk of the required runs despite Nisaar Hussain taking 4-46.

Top score of the day came at Foulridge where the home team made 244 on their way to a 76-run defeat of Baxenden. A stand of 114 for the fourth wicket between Ajmal Chaudhry (74) and Rashid Rasheed (66), and 20 from Joe Swarbrick, took them to their total despite Lewis Whitford taking 6-57. Baxenden slumped to 38-4 before Adam Nawaz (49) and Henry Hindle (29) staged a partial recovery as both Mohammed Haroon and Jabbran Sajjad each took three wickets.

Cherry Tree enjoyed a hard-fought four-wicket win against Earby as they chased down a target of 141. Craig Kennedy, with 38, and Jack Kennedy (36) made the bulk of their runs as Jason Lockley took 3-40. Lockley had earlier made 28 as he and Lee Parkinson (43) and Luke Chapman (24) provided the bulk of Earby’s 140 all out, Jake Fenwick and Joe Ince each taking three wickets.

Stacksteads defeated Foulridge seconds by the same margin after managing to bowl them out for 104. Israr Khan proved too much for most of the batsmen as he collected 6-16, with Sarath Babu playing pretty much a lone hand in making 53. Babu then took 4-38 but Tom Thompson (28no) and Ansar Mahmood (21) saw Stacksteads to the win.

Burnley Belvedere firsts also won a close game as they defeated Oswaldtwistle Immanuel by three wickets in a relatively low-scoring game. Only Bradley Martin, who made 27, got going as Ossy were bowled out for exactly 100, with Abdul Haleem and Zahid Hassan each grabbing three wickets. Paddy Dignan then took 3-17, but 21 apiece from Husnain Sarif and Ali Akbar saw Burnley to the win.